Malawi Parliament holds first Population and Development Dialogue
20 June 2017
Author: Diana Warira
Long periods of drought and water scarcity are some of the challenges facing Malawians. Photo: Eoghan Rice_Trócaire/Flickr

The Parliament of Malawi will, on 21 June 2017, hold its first dialogue on population and development under the recently launched Parliamentary Caucus on Population and Development. The theme of this inaugural dialogue will be: “˜Optimising linkages between population change and the environment to achieve sustainable development in Malawi‘.

Malawi’s Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Atupele Muluzi and Prof. Sosten Chiotha, the Regional Director of the Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Southern and Eastern Africa, and also a member of the AFIDEP Board of Directors, will be the main speakers at the event.

The main purpose of the dialogue is to enable Members of Parliament (MPs) understand the linkages between Population, Environment and Development (PED) and explore policy and legislative actions, as well as community responses they can lead in their communities to optimise these linkages, in order to achieve the country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is expected that the dialogue will lay the foundation for continued partnership between the Caucus and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining on optimising linkages between population change and the environment, to achieve sustainable development in Malawi.

 A key outcome of the dialogue will be a coherent plan on how the Caucus on Population and Development will work hand in hand with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining. Following the dialogue, there will also be an outline of action points for optimising the PED nexus to achieve sustainable development in Malawi

This first dialogue will also serve as the launch of the Malawi Parliament Population and Development Dialogues, a forum spearheaded by the Malawi Parliamentary Caucus on Population and Development. The forum will see MPs debate critical development issues affecting Malawi’s population, and identify mechanisms to address the prevailing challenges.

The Caucus, launched on 27 April 2017, is a platform for MPs to deliberate urgent population and development challenges affecting Malawians, as well as identify and contribute to efforts to tackle these challenges. The Caucus provides an opportunity for MPs to understand the linkages between population and various issues such as sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), family planning, food security, water resources, sustainable development, environment, ageing, urbanisation, migration, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), education and gender equality.

Ultimately, the Caucus will enable parliamentarians to make evidence-informed decisions, champion reforms needed to address population and development challenges, and reform legislation that will contribute towards addressing Malawi’s population and development challenges among them high fertility, teenage pregnancies, maternal and child mortality, low quality of education, high unemployment rates, among others. Engagements within the Caucus are also expected to stimulate investments in the key sectors that have potential to transform the country’s socio-economic development prospects and achieve sustainable development.

This inaugural Population and Development Dialogue is supported by the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP). AFIDEP supports the Caucus by enabling evidence-informed deliberations on key population and development issues and facilitates the operations of the Caucus. Funding that has made this dialogue possible has been provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

In line with it’s mandate to support governments to utilise evidence at various levels of decision-making including legislation and programme implementation, AFIDEP has supported various ministries in Malawi including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in capacity strengthening for use of evidence in decision-making, and the translation of evidence for development planning, respectively.

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