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Mainstreaming the environment in Malawi's development: experience and next steps

Malawi is more dependent on environmental assets than most other countries, with over 80 per cent of Malawians involved in farming. The country is also vulnerable to environmental risks, such as floods and droughts and long-term climate change. If the stocks and flows of environmental assets are properly recognised, valued, and treated positively, however, Malawi could develop a truly
green economy – wealth generation and social justice, all within ecological limits. To do this requires ‘environmental mainstreaming’: integrating environment into development policies, plans and budgets, as well as into day-to-day management.

This paper, produced by leading Malawian thinkers, explores several case studies of experience in environmental mainstreaming. It looks not only at top-down planning and coherence but also much bottom-up action; notably, local authority and business partnerships that unleash community management potentials. Where economics is the main language of policy and business, it shows how economic analysis of poverty-environment links has been influential in planning, budgeting and executive decision-making. Ten recommendations are offered that will enable the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy, as well as other initiatives, to ensure secure environmental foundations for Malawi’s prosperity.

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