The UN promotes the development of capacity of national institutions to advance transparency, accountability, participatory democracy, sustainable economic growth, achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and human rights.
The UN supports five key democratic accountability and justice institutions in developing strategic plans for implementation to further promote and protect human rights, participatory democracy, and access to justice for vulnerable groups – children, women, people living with disability and the poor. The UN co-leads the Democratic Governance Sector Working Group (SWG) established to facilitate coordination of the democratic governance interventions in Malawi. The UN also provides the financial and technical assistance for the operationalisation of the Democratic Governance Sector Wide Approach (SWAp).
Malawi’s decentralisation process, strongly supported by the UN system and other development partners, requires further support both through strengthening local/district-level management capacities, strengthening women participation in decision making; data sources relating to the most vulnerable, and in conducting local elections.
Integrated Rural Development
The UN supports the Government to develop an Integrated Rural Development Strategy to advance growth and human development in rural areas, and thereby strengthen decentralisation efforts. UN support in particular focuses on creating an enabling framework and strengthening the capacity for coordination of development initiatives at the district level to ensure that District Councils are able to integrate social and economic development services and improve effectiveness and efficiency in the management of development resources and delivery of services based on the needs identified through participatory planning processes taking into account gender equality goals.
The UN furthers the national effort to strengthen public administration, finance and economic management through support of a Public Administration SWAp to improve public service delivery through, amongst others; strengthened results-based management and M&E capacity for better planning, decision-making and resource utillisation. The UN develops and enhances national capacity and ownership in the critical area of development assistance to ensure that GoM has sufficient capacity to negotiate, manage, monitor, report and account for aid in line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Development Assistance Strategy (DAS).
In support of the MGDS, the UN prioritises support for gender mainstreaming in the Agriculture, Education, Gender and Youth, Governance and Health SWAps. A precondition for effective gender mainstreaming is the UN support to institutionalisation and capacity development of the National Gender Machinery through the Gender and Youth SWG, to strengthen the Gender machinery and to promote the advancement and socio-economic empowerment of women and gender equality through advocacy, resource mobilisation, policy influence and coordination of implementation and monitoring and evaluation of the Gender agenda.
In selected sector Ministries and District Councils, the UN focuses on developing capacity for gender specific allocation, utilisation and reporting on the use of public resources. Violence against women and reproductive health including HIV are inextricably linked; GoM recognises these facts and, in a process that the UN supports, proposes a legal review of all gender related laws and further to develop and implement a functional framework to address Gender Based Violence (GBV) in all its dimensions.
The UN system will also address gender issues at the community level, by focusing specifically on the position of adolescent girls, particularly in rural areas. As stated in the country analysis, there is an urgent need to integrate and focus programmes that address the needs of adolescent girls. Issues to be addressed include nutrition (43.3 percent of girls under five are malnourished), education (only 31 percent of girls finish primary school) literacy, life and livelihood skills, maternal health (30 percent of maternal death is attributed to abortions in teenage women), economic empowerment (70 percent of labour in agriculture is female), traditional position of women in decision-making at the community level, male role behaviour as well as general family values and cultural practices.
While it is clear that there is a flurry of activity between UN system, Civic Society and Development Partners-supported programmes and projects, a national strategy that focuses all efforts and achieves synergies in an integrated manner is required. Significant up-scaling of efforts leading to a resounding and sustained impact on the position of women and national MDG achievement will be the aim of the national gender equality strategy.
The UN has comparative advantage in population programming, both technically and in terms of policy expertise, that is made available to the GoM in exploring the implications of population dynamics for sustainable development. Accordingly, the UN will ensure that national institutions have the capacity to generate, disseminate and integrate data on population dynamics and inform development policies and programmes. In the process, the UN supports the GoM to implement a National Population Policy, and ensure that Government Ministries and academic institutions have the capacity to educate the public on the impact of population growth on socio economic development so as to encourage public behaviour patterns that are responsive to population dynamics for sustainable development.