The UN in Malawi supports pro-poor, more inclusive economic growth through initiatives targeting the most poor, who are most likely to be women living on the smallest plots of land engaging in subsistence farming; female headed households supporting persons living with HIV and AIDS or disabilities, as well as all workers in poorly remunerated and unregulated sectors.
At policy level, the UN supports the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp) by promoting diversification of food production for improved nutrition with a focus on crops, livestock and fisheries.
To increase food security, the UN aims to increase in particular rural household agricultural productivity, especially those headed by women and youth, building government capacity in irrigation, diversification of agricultural production, adaptive research initiatives, agronomic best practices, market linkages, and access to finance.
The UN provides technical assistance and capacity enhancement across a range of initiatives, ensuring that socio-economically disadvantaged groups, particularly in rural areas – women, youth, and people with disabilities – engage in gainful decent employment activities and benefit from income generation and employment arising from private sector growth. The UN is supporting the Government of Malawi (GoM) to develop a National Employment Policy and establish a National Labour Market Information System benefiting government, employers and workers’ organisations. Particular attention is paid to agriculture and informal employment in rural areas taking into account wage inequalities between women and men. It is also important to ensure that the National Labour Market Information System reaches rural areas.
Private Sector Development
The UN aims to support the GoM to leverage the private sector as the engine for economic growth. Support is given to private sector-led and inclusive market development in the country as a means to contribute to poverty reduction.
The UN pilots key private sector ventures promoting export of Malawian products to international markets in support of enhanced incomes and growing decent employment amongst emerging entrepreneurs and smallholders, many of them women. Youth and people with disabilities receive assistance to access enterprise and vocational training, and micro-financing facilities.
Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change
In the context of rapid and debilitating climate change, the promotion of natural resources conservation and improved management of the environment and disasters enhances the sustainability of economic growth, particularly in districts that are prone to natural disaster.
Through direct UN assistance and capacity development, climate change, environment and natural resources, and disaster risk-reduction coordination mechanisms and implementation arrangements will be built at national level, and in all disaster-prone districts.
National institutions receive UN support in collecting and disseminating data and analysis on climate change, environmental degradation and natural disaster amongst decision makers in Government, Private Sector and Civil Society. Aiming at the development of a national programme on sustainable energy, the UN supports piloting and upscaling of alternative innovative renewable energy technologies to biomass energy use by the poor in rural and peri-urban areas.
Social Support and Disaster Risk Management
Social protection has become more relevant in Malawi in response to the onset of the global financial crisis, and rising food and fuel prices. Recognising participation of the ultra poor and other vulnerable groups in disaster risk management is key, the UN supports actions that assist those groups to meet their basic needs and withstand external shocks.
The National Social Support Policy (NSSP) is awaiting approval by the Cabinet: the UN provides technical assistance in facilitating Cabinet endorsement and advocacy support for allocation of government funds to the Pool Fund. The UN will continue to play the leading role as an advocate, key technical advisor, capacity developer, M&E and information provider, and mobiliser of resources for social protection in Malawi.
The UN programme provides multi-sector coordination and information management systems and capacity support at all levels for the implementation and monitoring of the social protection programme. Targeted disaster risk management and community based social protection interventions which are available and accessible to the most vulnerable groups in the 14 disaster prone districts of the country receive UN assistance. Multi-sector emergency preparedness, planning, and response capacity is to be developed at national, district and community level, reducing negative social and economic impact.
Also, in line with the UN’s global humanitarian mandate, the UNDAF will provide the GoM with technical assistance and policy advice in developing a comprehensive national refugee policy, as well as continuing to provide for the basic needs of refugees.