FAO Regional Office for Africa

EU praises Malawi for key climate change strides

FAO and partners launch programme to strengthen climate change fight

Tree planting ceremony at the project launch. Photo © FAO/ Mike Chipalasa

4 November 2015, Lilongwe, Malawi - The European Union (EU) envoy has applauded Malawi for the progress that the country has made in coming up with strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Some of the measures that the country has instituted include mainstreaming climate change, formulating and approving a climate change policy and coming up with a climate change investment plan.

EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation in Malawi, Mr Marchel Gerrmann, applauded the country’s climate change strategies on October 27, 2015 at Lisungwi Primary School grounds, Traditional Authority Symon Likongwe in Neno district during the launch of the € 8 million Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) programme in Malawi.

“The approval of the Climate Change Policy and several other important and related policies and acts would be very welcomed by the people of Malawi in order to safeguard the environment in which they live in,” he said.

The envoy also praised civil society organizations, the private sector and the media for raising awareness on climate change issues.

The GCCA programme, launched under the theme: “Resilient Communities: A foundation for Sustainable Food/Nutrition Security and Development and Planning for Climate Change” was organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). FAO is leading the “Strengthening Community Resilience to Climate Change in Blantyre, Zomba, Neno and Phalombe Districts" project to run for 54 months at the cost of €5.5 million.

Other implementing partners in the project are Human Dynamics (HD), an Austrian company, leading the “Planning for Climate Change" project and the UK based Natural Resource Institute (NRI) providing overall monitoring and evaluation of the GCCA programme activities.

Concern on triggers of climate change effects

Mr Gerrmann noted that droughts, dry spells and floods were seriously dampening livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Malawi which is one of the vulnerable countries to climate change due to its geographical location and its booming population.

“These phenomena are no longer exceptional. They are now the norm and Malawi farmers know it too well: the rains are becoming more unpredictable, they can come too late, be too heavy or come all at once,” said Mr Gerrmann.

The envoy said while Malawi is taking positive steps in climate change management particularly in reducing the rate of deforestation through the ban on charcoal production, illegal logging remains a great cause of concern and called on the government to engage an extra gear in curbing the malpractice. 

“Let us also think: if illegal logging is not stopped now, what kind of Malawi is being passed to the next generations?” he noted.

Secretary for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Mrs Erica Maganga, who was guest of honour, concurred with the EU envoy on the devastating impact of climate change on the livelihoods of Malawians noting that instances of poor rainfall distribution, prolonged dry spells, floods, heavy storms, hailstorm and early tailing off of the rains had drastic effect on agricultural production.

“The effects of climate change have also been exacerbated by bad land management practices like increased encroachment on river banks and heavy deforestation due to charcoal burning,” she said.

Linkage and synergies to existing initiatives

Mrs Maganga, however, expressed delight at how the GCCA programme has managed to consolidate linkages and synergies among ongoing resilience building and social protection programmes which aim at improving institutional capacity to plan and manage climate change initiatives and strengthen resilience of vulnerable communities to climate change.

Speaking at the same occasion on behalf of Ms Mia Seppo, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, FAO Representative in Malawi, Ms Florence Rolle said collective efforts against climate change should not only aim at meeting the immediate needs of the communities affected by crises but also address the factors that trigger them.

“Our proposed UN approach to building community resilience to climate change therefore dwells on the need to address both immediate shocks and emerging stresses whilst concentrating on building the adaptive capacities of communities, households and institutions to manage recurring crises,” explained Ms Rolle.

She said the UN in Malawi is committed to ensure that those who are most affected by disasters, such as the most vulnerable groups, children and women, are at the centre of project planning and implementation.

About the GCCA programme

The GCCA was established by the EU in 2007 to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with developing countries, in particular least developed countries. It started its work in four pilot countries. Today it has a budget of more than Euro 300 million and it is one of the most significant climate change initiatives in the world and supports 51 programmes worldwide. In Malawi, the GCCA will support over 170, 000 active resource users in Blantyre, Neno, Phalombe and Zomba to increase their capacities to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change up to December 2019, spanning 54 months. 


Mike Chipalasa | Communications Officer - FAO Malawi | Tel. (+265) 888 715 385 | Email - [email protected]