Environmental Information, Education and Outreach
The Division is responsible for coordinating and facilitating the implementation of activities on public environmental education and awareness. It facilitates the production and dissemination of environmental education and awareness materials; production of national and district state of the environment and outlook reports; and mainstreaming of the environment and natural resources in formal education curricula and informal education programmes. It also facilitates establishment of Information and Communication technologies infrastructure and management information systems including management of the Department’s website.
The Division has three sections:
- Environmental Education and Outreach
- Environmental Information and Documentation
- District Environmental Affairs Management
Environmental Assessment and Pollution Control
The Division is responsible for integration of environmental considerations in development policies, programmes and projects. The Department uses various tools including Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA), Environmental and Social Management Plans (ESMP) and environmental audits. The Division is divided into two sections:
EIA and Pollution Control
This division ensures that development projects and programmes are implemented in an environmentally friendly manner. Specifically, the division: administers the ESIA process as outlined in the Environment Management Act (EMA), 2017; advises developers on the ESIA requirements that are applicable in Malawi, reviews ESIA application reports, issue ESIA certificates and monitor projects for compliance of ESIA requirements. This is done through the Technical Committee on Environment (TCE) a technical body that advises the National Council on Environment (NCE) on policy decisions associated with environment and natural resources management. The division is furthermore responsible for controlling pollution by undertaking environmental inspections, monitor compliance to environmental standards and legislation.
Climate Change Management
This section facilitates the development and implementation of climate change programmes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience of communities to the impacts of climate change. The section works under guidance from committees and working groups as described below:
- National Steering Committee on Climate Change
The National Climate change steering committee is one of the coordination bodies provided by the climate change policy (2016) to provide policy direction on climate change issues in the country. The steering committee comprises all key climate change related Ministries and Departments. The membership of the committee is at Principal Secretary level. The committee is co-chaired by the Secretary to Treasury who delegates to Chief Director of Economic planning and Development and the Deputy Resident Coordinator for UNDP. The committee meets quarterly.
- National Technical Committee on Climate Change
The National Climate Change Technical Committee is a technical body within the national climate change structure provided for in the Climate Change Policy (2016). The committee provides technical guidance on all climate change issues in the country. The committee comprises all key climate change related Ministries and Departments. The membership is at Director level. The committee is chaired by the Director of the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services. The committee meets quarterly.
- Expert Working Groups
The Climate Change Policy provides for Expert Working Groups. These are specialised thematic groups that provide specialised technical guidance and report to the National Climate change Technical committee. The expert working groups include; Adaptation, Mitigation Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) and Climate Finance. All project specific committees are treated as expert working groups.
Troika is platform where Development Partner representatives within Environment, Resilience and Climate Change engage government on specific issues that require attention on either side. TROIKA is attended by Directors and Deputy Directors within Environment and Development partners who comprise the outgoing, current and incoming chairpersons of the Development Cooperation Group on Environment, Resilience and Climate change (DCERCC) which is the main donor coordination body in natural resources. It is a tradition to present a biography for the incoming minister to the development partner through DCERCC. TROIKA is chaired by the Chief Director for Environment
- Environment, Lands and Natural Resources Sector Working Group
Sector Working Group (SWG) is the main mechanism used for rolling out the Malawi Growth Development Strategy III. It is a forum for negotiations, policy dialogue, sector wide engagement on different forms of agreements, plans and undertakings on environment, climate change and natural resources among government, development partners, civil society organizations (CSOs) and private sector. The working group is chaired by The Principal Secretary. The vice chairmanship is rotational on yearly basis. The 2019 vice chair will be nominated from the Civil Society Organisations. The working group meets quarterly.
Environmental Planning, Monitoring and Research
This Division is responsible for forward planning and coordination review of environment and natural resources sectoral policies in line with national goals and international agreements. This involves monitoring the quality of climate change management and environmental performance in order to address climate change and environmental issues in respect to regulatory, economic and planning tools.
Compliance and Legal Enforcement
The division is responsible for providing legal advice to the Director/Government on legislation and other measures for the management of the environment and the implementation of other relevant international conventions, treaties and agreements. The Division’s core functions include to:
- Formulate and develop environmental policies and enabling legislation as need arises in space and time.
- Review environmental policies and legislation/regulation for purposes of amendment and harmonisation with other sectors.
- Coordinate the litigation process and prosecution of cases for and against the Department/Government, including liaison with external lawyers where legal services have been out sourced.
Biodiversity Conservation and Protection
The Division has two sections:
- Biodiversity Conservation
The Division facilitates the preparation and implementation of programmes and projects on biodiversity conservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources in the country including reporting to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It facilitates the preparation and implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. It coordinates biosafety risk assessments and biosafety evaluations on biotechnology including regulation of confined field trials and release of genetically modified organisms; and also facilitates the review and approval of applications on access and export permits for biological and genetic resources.
The National Biosafety Regulatory (NBRC) and the National Biodiversity Steering Committees were established to support the division. The NBRC provides technical guidance on adoption and use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) technologies to reduce their negative impacts on the environment. While the National Biodiversity Steering Committee provide guidance on biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use as well as on access and sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of biological resources.