New climate project to support 3 million Malawians
4 October 2017, Lilongwe - The Government of Malawi, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) and with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has officially launch a new project to scale up the use of modernized early warning systems and climate information across 21 of the country’s 28 districts.
The project called Saving Lives and Protecting Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Malawi: Scaling Up the Use of Modernized Climate Information and Early Warning Systems (M-CLIMES), is co-financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a global fund created to support efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change.
The M-CLIMES project will reach an estimated three million people in the country with lifesaving early warnings, and improve the monitoring, packaging and distribution of valuable climate information that can save lives, protect livelihoods, and inform decision-making on development plans.
The official inception workshop of the project took place on the 28 September 2017 at grand Palace Hotel in Mzuzu and was led by Secretary to the Vice President and Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Mr Clement Chinthu Phiri and the National Designated Authority for the Green Climate Fund in Malawi, Ms Tawonga Mbale-Luka, the Director of Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining.
Droughts and floods are major climate change-related effects that impede progress in Malawi and threaten the country’s hard-won development gains. The floods in 2015 affected over one million people, killing over 100 people and displacing some 300,000. Recent droughts induced by a severe El Niño weather phenomenon challenge government-led initiatives to improve food security, safeguard people’s livelihoods and protect Malawians from fast-acting storms, severe weather and other changes in climate.
“It’s about saving lives and sharing valuable climate information across the last mile. Key innovations of the six-year project will be the deployment of next-generation weather and water monitoring technologies, the use of mobile networks to get information in the hands of people who need it most, and participatory approaches to more effectively connect vulnerable communities with actionable climate information,” said Clement Chinthu Phiri.
UNDP Portfolio Manager for Resilience and Sustainable Growth, Andrew Spezowka, said responding to the climate challenge requires collective action from all people and stakeholders.
“The new project is aligned with the priorities of the Malawi Government in empowering Malawians to make informed decisions on climate change and take necessary actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change effects,” said Mr. Spezowka. “More robust early warning and climate information systems can help Malawi put in place more shock-sensitive social protection systems, improve development planning, and reduce economic risks and save lives.”
In supporting the country’s commitment to ensure the risk of disasters is minimized, the M-CLIMES initiative seeks to invest in the use of climate information for planning agricultural and on-farm activities, providing warnings of severe weather for fishers on Lake Malawi, improving flood forecasting and monitoring, and fostering information exchanges through mobile platforms.
The project is designed to address technical, financial, capacity, and access barriers related to weather and climate information by;
- Enhancing national and sub-national hydro-meteorological capacities for early warning and forecasting
- Developing and disseminating tailored climate information products targeting smallholder farmers
- Strengthening the capacity of communities to respond to climate-related disasters.
The M-CLIMES project will also be supported by other key lead institutions such as the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services, Department of Water Resources, Department of Fisheries, Department of Agriculture and Extension Services, and the National Small Holder Farmers Association (NASFAM).