National Report of Malawi for COP7
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National Report prepared for the 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Implementation of the Ramsar Convention in general, and of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002 in particular, during the period since the National Report was prepared in 1995 for Ramsar COP6
[Web Editor's note: Malawi's National Report for COP7 was submitted in hardcopy format only and was later transcribed by an intern in the Ramsar Bureau. This reprint has not been checked against the original.]
|Designated Ramsar Administrative Authority|
|Full name of the institution||Department of Parks and Wildlife|
|Name and title of the head of the institution||J. N. B. MPHANDE, Director|
|Mailing address for the head of the institution||P.O. Box 30131, Lilongwe 3, Malawi|
|Telephone||(265) 782 702|
|Fax||(265) 780 650|
|Name and title (if different) of the designated contact officer for Ramsar Convention matters||Humphrey E. NZIMA, Deputy Director|
|Mailing address (if different) for the designated contact officer||P.O. Box 30131, Lilongwe 3, Malawi|
|Telephone||(265) 782 702|
|Fax||(265) 780 650|
Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 1
To progress towards universal membership of the Convention.
1.1 Describe any actions your government has taken (such as hosting regional or subregional meetings/consultations, working cooperatively with neighbouring countries on transfrontier wetland sites) to encourage others to join the Convention.
Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 2
To achieve the wise use of wetlands by implementing and further developing the Ramsar Wise Use Guidelines.
2.1 Has a National Wetland Policy/Strategy/Action Plan been developed, or is one being developed or planned for the near future? If so:
a. What are/will be its main features?
b. Was it, or is it, intended that the Policy/Strategy/Action Plan be adopted by the whole of Government, the Minister responsible for Ramsar matters or through some other process. Please describe.
c. How does it relate/will it relate to other national environmental/ conservation planning initiatives (e.g., National Environmental Action Plans, National Biodiversity Action Plans, National Conservation Strategies)?
Funding to develop a national wetland strategy and action plan being sought. The strategy and action plan will explore appropriate institutional and legislative and policy frameworks for conservation and wise use of wetlands in Malawi. The strategy will also identify priority actions for wise use of wetland resources.
The strategy and action plan wil be developed within the conttex of the National Environmental Action Plan, Environmental Management Act, Forestry Act, Wildlife Act and the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.
2.2 If a policy is in place, how much progress has been made in its implementation, and what are the major difficulties being encountered in doing so?
Policy and strategy development contingent on availability of funding.
2.3 If a Policy/Strategy/Action Plan is in place, is the responsibility for implementing it with :
a. a single Government Ministry,
b. a committee drawn from several Ministries, or
c. a cross-sectoral committee?
2.4 For countries with Federal systems of Government, are there Wetland Policies/Strategies/Plans in place, being developed or planned for the provincial/state or regional levels of Government? Yes/No If yes, please give details.
2.5 Has a review of legislation and practices which impact on wetlands been carried out, and if so, has this resulted in any changes which assist with implementation of the Ramsar Convention? Please describe these.
A review of policy and practices which impact on wetlands will be undertaken as part of the process of developing the strategy and action plan.
2.6 Describe the efforts made in your country to have wetlands considered in integrated land/water and coastal zone planning and management processes at the following levels:
Several legal and planning instruments such as National Environmental Action Plan, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Environmental Management Act address issues of biological diversity on both terrestrial and aquatic systems. At provincial and local levels, there is urgent need for education and awareness about wetland values.
2.7 Have there been any publications produced, or practices documented, which could assist other countries to promote and improve the application of the Ramsar Wise Use of Wetlands Guidelines? Yes/No If Yes, please provide details and copies.
2.8 Noting COP6 Recommendation 6.14 relating to toxic chemicals and pollution, please advise of the actions taken since then "to remedy and to prevent pollution impacts affecting Ramsar sites and other wetlands" (Operative paragraph 9).
2.9 Describe what steps have been taken to incorporate wetland economic valuation techniques into natural resource planning and assessment actions.
2.10 Is Environmental Impact Assessment for actions potentially impacting on wetlands required under legislation in your country? Yes/No
The Environmental Management Act requires an EIA on all projects with potential impacts on the environment, including wetlands.
2.11 Is wetland restoration and rehabilitation considered a priority in your country? Yes/No. If Yes, describe the actions that have been taken to identify wetlands in need of these actions and to mobilise resources for restoration or rehabilitation.
Wetland rehabilitaiton and restoration does not appear to be a priority at the moment. There is a need for public education and awareness about wetland values and threats.
2.12 Describe what actions have been taken to "encourage active and informed participation of local communities, including indigenous people, and in particular women, in the conservation and wise use of wetlands." (refer to Actions 2.7.1-4 in the Strategic Plan).
2.13 Describe what actions have been taken to "encourage involvement of the private sector in the conservation and wise use of wetlands" (refer to Actions 2.8.1-4 in the Strategic Plan). Has this included a review of fiscal measures (taxation arrangements, etc.) to identify and remove disincentives and introduce incentives for wetlands conservation and wise use? Yes/No If yes, please provide details.
Public education and awareness about wetland values and threats needed to attract private sector involvement in wetland conservation and management.
Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 3
To raise awareness of wetland values and functions throughout the world and at all levels
3.1 Is there a government-run national programme for Education and Public Awareness in your country which focuses on, or includes, wetlands? Yes/No? If yes, what are the priority actions under this programme and who are the target groups? (Refer also to question 9.4)
Many Environmental Awareness Programmes are of a general nature. Need for awareness about wetlands to ensure adequate treatments within these general programmes.
The target group (s) must necessarily include rural people who depend on wetlands for survival.
3.2 Describe the steps taken to have wetlands issues and Ramsars Wise Use principles included as part of the curricula of educational institutions. Has this been at all levels of education (primary, secondary, tertiary and adult)? Please give details.
Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 4
To reinforce the capacity of institutions in each Contracting Party to achieve conservation and wise use of wetlands.
4.1 Describe the mechanisms in place, or being introduced, to increase cooperation between the various institutions responsible for actions which can have an impact on the conservation and wise use of wetlands. If one of the mechanisms is a National Ramsar/Wetlands Committee, please describe its composition, functions and modus operandi.
A national steering committee on wetlands was set up in 1992. The committee comprises natural resources/environmental agencies, NGOs, parastatals, and other government institutions whose activities/mandates indirectly affect wetlands management. The committee is chaired by the Department of Environment which has the responsibility of coordinating all environmental programmes. Secretarial Services are provided by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. The committee is a technical subcommittee of the National Biodiversity Committee.
4.2 Of the following, indicate which have been undertaken:
A national review of training needs and opportunities has not been carried out. However, a training needs assessment workshop was conducted in 1996 as part of a SADC initiative. A more focused assessment is needed for Malawi.
a. a review to identify the training needs of institutions and individuals concerned with the conservation and wise use of wetlands Yes/No? If yes, please indicate the major findings of the review.
b. a review to identify training opportunities for these people both within your country and in other countries. Yes/No?
c. the development of training modules or a training programme specifically for wetland managers. If yes, please give details.
d. people from your country have gained wetland-related training either within or outside the country. Yes/No? If yes, please give details.
Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 5
To ensure the conservation of all sites included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar List).
5.1 Of the Ramsar sites in your country, how many have formal management plans:
a. being prepared?
b. fully prepared?
c. being implemented?
Please indicate in the attached table of Ramsar sites which sites these are and what category they fall into.
Lake Chilwa, the only Ramsar site, now has a formal management plan. The plan whose development and implementation was/will be supported by DANIDA will launched on 1 October 1998.
The plan for Lake Chilwa incorporates a monitoring scheme not only for recording progress but also for recording changes in ecological character.
5.2 Of the management plans referred to above, which ones have included a monitoring scheme or programme to allow changes in ecological character to be detected? Please indicate this in the attached table of Ramsar sites also.
5.3 Has there been a change in the ecological character (either positive or negative) at any of your Ramsar sites or is this likely to occur in the near future? Yes/No. If Yes, please give details.
5.4 In the case of Montreux Record Ramsar sites where the Management Guidance Procedure has been applied, what is the status of the implementation of the MGP report recommendations? What is the expected time-frame for removing the site from the Montreux Record?
5.5 For those countries referred to in COP6 Recommendations 6.17.1-4, "Ramsar sites in the Territories of Specific Contracting Parties", please provide advice on the actions that have been taken in response to the issues raised at that time.
Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 6
To designate for the Ramsar List those wetlands which meet the Conventions criteria, especially wetland types still under-represented in the List and transfrontier wetlands.
6.1 Has a national inventory of wetlands been prepared for your country? Yes/No.
As part of a SADC project, an inventory of wetlands was carried out in 1990. The inventory contains information on wetland types, values, threats, issues and a programme of action which has not been implemented. This inventory now needs updating.
Information on the inventory is contained in a bound copy that is yet to be published.
If no, are there plans for this to be done? Yes/No.
Where a national inventory exists please provide details of when it was finalised, where it is kept and what information it contains.
6.2 Does there exist a list or directory of "important" wetlands for your country or region? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details of when it was finalised, where it is kept, what criteria for "important" were used, and the types of information it contains.
6.3 If it is known, please provide an estimate of the area of wetlands in your country at present and any information on rates of loss or conversion to other activities. If this information is available, please indicate what definition of "wetland" was used.
Nearly 33% of Malawi is in wetlands by the Ramsar definition.
6.4 Have any actions been taken in response to the COP6 Resolutions and Recommendations that Contracting Parties should give priority to listing Wetlands of International Importance which:
a. meet the criteria for fish habitat (Resolution VI.2),
b. meet the 1% criterion for waterbird populations using data provided by the International Waterfowl Census (Resolution VI.4),
c. are subterranean karst or cave wetland systems (Resolution VI.5),
d. are peatland ecosystems (Recommendation 6.1)
e. are coral reefs and associated systems (Recommendation 6.7)
f. are under-represented wetland types (which apart from d. and e. above include mangroves and sea grass beds) (Strategic Plan Action 6.2.3)
Lake Chilwa, a Ramsar site, already meets the criterion for fish habitat and the 1% criterion for waterfowl populations.
6.5 If your government indicated at COP6 that it would be proceeding to list further specific sites, please advise of the status of this action.
6.6 Please advise which of the sites included in the Ramsar List from your country are transfrontier wetlands (Refer also to 7.1).
Lake Chilwa, a Ramsar site, is shared by Malawi and Mozambique.
6.7 Describe any plans, or actions being taken for further transfrontier sites to be listed (Refer also to 7.1).
Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 7
To mobilise international cooperation and financial assistance for wetland conservation and wise use in collaboration with other conventions and agencies, both governmental and non-governmental.
7.1 Briefly describe any bilateral or multilateral activities that have been taken, are under way, or are planned for the management of transfrontier wetlands or their watersheds/catchments (Refer also to 6.6 and 6.7).
7.2 Do you have Ramsar sites that are "twinned" with others, either nationally or internationally? Yes/No. If yes, please give details.
7.3 Where your country is also a signatory of any of the following Conventions, describe what mechanism(s) exist to assist regular dialogue and cooperative actions between the personnel responsible for their implementation and the Ramsar Administrative Authority:
a. Convention on Biological Diversity
b. Framework Convention on Climate Change
c. Convention to Combat Desertification
d. Convention on Migratory Species
e. World Heritage Convention
There is a need between Malawi and Mozambique for joint efforts in management of Lake Chilwa.
7.4 Is your country cooperating as part of any bilateral or multilateral activities directed at the conservation of migratory wetland species? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details.
The administrative authority is a member of the committees on the Convention as Biological Diversity, Framework Convention on Climate Change, World Heritage Convention and Convention to Combat Dissertification.
7.5 Are there multilateral and/or bilateral donors supporting projects which contribute to implementation of the Ramsar Convention in your country? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details.
DANIDA is supporting a project aimed at conserving and sustainably utilising Lake Chilwa and its catchment.
7.6 Does your government make an annual budgetary allocation to support the conservation and wise use of wetlands within your country? Yes/No. If yes, is this a specific allocation to a wetlands programme or as part of a larger environment or natural resource management budget?
7.7 If your country has a development assistance programme, does it include funds earmarked for wetland conservation and wise use in other countries? Yes/No. If yes, please give details.
7.8 Is there a formal process in place for consultation between the Ramsar Administrative Authority and the development assistance programme in your country, where one exists? Yes/No. If yes, what is that process.
Recently, the administrative authority has started taking part in donor coordination meetings with view to making wetland issues topical within the Donor Community.
Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 8
To provide the Convention with the required institutional mechanisms and resources.
8.1 Has your government made voluntary financial contributions, other than the invoiced contributions or to the Small Grants Fund, to further the work of the Convention globally? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details.
Malawis contribution has so far been based on invoices only.
8.2 If your country is in arrears with the payment of its annual contributions to the Ramsar Convention, please indicate the reasons for this situation and the prospects for paying these arrears in the near future.
Malawi is in arrears with payment of its annual contributions because of the confusion brought about by re-organisation of Ministries. The Department of National Parks and Wildlife as technical focal point has in the past been supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources in terms of contributions to the Convention. That responsibility now needs to shift to the Ministry of Tourism under which Department of National Parks and Wildlife falls.
Optional section - Participation of non-government organizations in the implementation of the Convention
These are optional questions relating to cooperation with and involvement of non-government organizations in the implementation of the Convention.
At COP6 some 42 NGOs made the "Brisbane NGO pledge of support for the Ramsar Convention". The Standing Committee agreed that for COP7 there should be an effort made to gauge the level and type of cooperation which is occurring between government Administrative Authorities and the national and international NGOs with an interest in wetlands issues.
In this optional section of the National Report, you are asked to describe the nature of the cooperation and relationship with any other international, regional, national and provincial NGOs operating within your country.
9.1 Approximately how many NGOs have wetlands as part of their regular "business" in your country?
Please break this down between international, regional and national/provincial organizations.
9.2 Is there a regular forum or mechanism through which these NGOs express their views on wetland conservation and Ramsar implementation:
a. to each other? Yes/No
b. to the government? Yes/No
9.3 Does your government include one or more NGO representatives on its official delegation to Ramsar COPs? Yes/No
9.4 Do any of the NGOs run programmes aimed at Education and Public Awareness about wetlands in your country? Yes/No. If yes, please give details (Refer also to question 3.1).
9.5 Where they exist, do Ramsar site management advisory committees include NGO representatives? If yes, please give details
9.6 Describe the themes of the Convention (refer to General Objectives 1-8 of the Strategic Plan) where you perceive the national/provincial NGOs to be most active.
10.1 General comments on implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan.
10.2 Observations concerning the functioning of, relations with, and services provided by:
a. The Ramsar Standing Committee
b. The Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel
c. The Ramsar Bureau
d. The Ramsar NGO partners
10.3 Any other general observations and/or recommendations for the future.