The government of Malawi launched its National Forest Landscape Restoration Assessment (NFLRA) report and strategy at the Southern Africa (SADC+) Bonn Challenge Ministerial Dialogue. The Dialogue brings together 10 countries engaging with the Bonn Challenge, a global forest landscape restoration (FLR) goal.
Honourable Bright Msaka SC, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, from the government of Malawi, opened the session saying, “Forests are critical to the social and economic development of our nations. In many countries, forests have been managed unsustainably, leading to high levels of deforestation and degradation.”
In 2016, Malawi made an ambitious 4.5 million hectare pledge to the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) and the Bonn Challenge, a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. To operationalise its commitment, Malawi applied the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) across all districts to identify priority areas for restoration and the interventions most suited to local socio-economic and ecological conditions.
The NFLRA was conducted by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining in close collaboration with the Ministries of Agriculture, Water and Irrigation; Lands; Local Government and Rural Development; Finance; Gender and Social Services. A multi-sector task force comprising three technical working groups on stocktaking and mapping, policy and institutional analyses, and economic and financial analyses was formed. They liaised with district authorities and local communities and made extensive site visits to ensure an inclusive process. In addition to identifying priority areas for restoration, a multi-criteria analysis was conducted to help prioritise FLR interventions based on their potential to contribute to food security, climate resilience and biodiversity conservation. An extensive analysis of the policies and institutions that could support or hinder FLR efforts in the country was conducted as well as a financial analysis to estimate the total investment Malawi would need to make to achieve its Bonn Challenge and AFR100 commitment. Importantly, Malawi’s ROAM process was gender-responsive and inclusive and recognised the unique role women play in the management of forests.
A National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy (NFLRS) has been prepared on the basis of the NFLRA and together, the two documents provide the data, analyses and vision to achieve large-scale restoration in Malawi. The focus is on addressing the drivers of degradation and deforestation that limit agricultural productivity and economic growth and impact communities in multiple ways including: increased food and water insecurity, limited sources of household energy, and greater vulnerability to climate change and weather-related shocks.
Malawi also launched its National Charcoal Strategy at the event – focused on reducing the demand for charcoal and firewood by promoting alternative cooking fuels, the adoption of efficient stoves and working with local communities to ensure sustainable firewood harvesting and charcoal production.
The Minister concluded the session by reaffirming Malawi’s commitment to achieving its restoration goals saying, “Together, we can address the growing demand for productive and sustainable landscapes and this meeting will help provide a platform for sharing experiences and solutions. We are here to change the future.”
Malawi’s NFLRA can be found here.
The Southern Africa (SADC+) Bonn Challenge Ministerial Roundtable has been organised by the Malawi Department of Forestry with the support of IUCN and will take place on July 12-13, 2017 in Lilongwe, Malawi. Stay tuned for more updates from the sessions.