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Poverty-Environment Action for the SDGs

Focuses on poverty-environment mainstreaming in broader national and sector policy and budget processes. Promotes climate-resilient and gender-responsive agriculture by influencing agricultural investments.


Ministry of Finance, the Department of Economic Planning and Development, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture / Sector Ministries, and UNDP, FAO, and UN Women Malawi Office. Poverty-Environment Action Malawi is embedded within the Department of Economic Planning and Development and will work with local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to link with communities and identify potential private sector companies for partnership to engage investment issues. Jointly implemented with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and UN Women.


Attain the improved implementation of poverty-environment and natural resource sustainability objectives and interventions by national and district government, private sector and communities to improve livelihoods of poor women and men with a focus on the agricultural sector.

Mainstreaming Context

Malawi has more than 90% of the population rely of forests to meet their basic household energy needs, and half of the Malawians live in extreme poverty. Non-inclusive and unsustainable natural resource management reduces agricultural productivities, hampers poverty reduction and gender equality efforts, and exposes women and men to increasing climate risk and vulnerability. It’s important to include the environmental dimension, equality and inclusivity when addressing poverty and broader economic aspects of sustainable development.

Main Activities
  • Strengthen policy coherence and national-district coordination for poverty eradication, gender equality and environment and natural resource sustainability.
  • Improve guidelines and mechanisms for leveraging national and district expenditures and private investment on poverty reducing.
  • Strengthen links between community environmental and natural resources management actions with national and district level plans, policies, budgets and investments to promote livelihoods.
  • Strengthen monitoring, data collection and reporting for poverty, environment and natural resources focusing on agriculture, including gender disaggregated data.
Expected Achievements

The government of Malawi is committed to deepen and broaden the poverty-environment mainstreaming achievements made and use the opportunity offered by the Malawi Growth and Development strategy (MGDS III) and the agenda 2030. Poverty-Environment Action will support localization of the ENRM poverty reduction and gender equality objectives of the MGDS III at district level.

Poverty-Environment Action will strengthen the application of poverty-environment budget and planning mainstreaming tools, and enhance implementation, planning and budget tools for an integrated approach to gender, natural resource sustainability and agricultural productivity building.

Government departments at local level will build capacity to develop and deliver sustainable agriculture extension services and messages in a coordinated manner.

The capacity of governance structures at district and community levels will be built to improve accountability and transparency in the forest management sector.

The coordination platforms for CSOs including women’s organizations and the private sector will increase their understanding of poverty-environment mainstreaming in the local and national policy making processes.

Evidence-based monitoring, including gender disaggregated data, of key poverty environment sustainability indicators will be enhanced, by developing tracking tools for indicators and their localization at district level.

Poverty-Environment Action will undertake poverty-environment assessments specifically, cost benefit analysis of ongoing projects and gender disaggregated poverty analytics linked to the on-going work of integrating Environment and Natural Resource Management into a Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index.

Agricultural trade policies will be reviewed and investments in agricultural diversification, soil management and climate smart agriculture practices for women farmers will be promoted.

Public budgeting and expenditure tracking for climate and environmental sustainability will be strengthened at national and district level through public expenditure reviews, capacity building and the introduction of budget codes.

The Government will develop guidelines and tools to create incentives for the private sector to invest in poverty-environment actions including through innovative approaches for revenue collection.

Poverty-Environment Action will review agricultural trade policies and work to promote agricultural diversification with a view to address poverty-environment linked issues in the sector building on the previous and ongoing Poverty-Environment Initiative–FAO soil loss analysis.

Poverty-Environment Action will support the uptake of climate smart agricultural practices by women farmers in selected districts building on Poverty-Environment Initiative–UN Women studies on gender gaps in the agricultural sector.

Poverty-Environment Action Malawi will identify ongoing ENRM initiatives, assess their impact and develop guidelines for effective community Environment and Natural Resource Management projects based on the lessons learned and good practices.

Lessons Learned

It is crucial to integrate poverty-environment linkages into national planning and budgeting processes, which has resulted in several policies, plans, strategies and budgets at national, district and sector levels, to include a stronger focus of poverty-environment issues.

Sustainability indicators included in the agriculture sector monitoring and evaluation framework help update the baseline information which contribute to economic analysis and ecosystem assessment.

The Way Forward

The essence of Poverty-Environment Action’s sustainability approach is to proactively work with and through existing national, sector and development planning, budgeting, implementation and co-ordination processes to generate and sustain change. Poverty-Environment Action will moreover specifically focus on scaling up the achievements of the Poverty-Environment Initiative 2009-2018, by broadening and deepening the application of tools and approaches developed for the integration of environmental sustainability objectives that supports poverty reduction across government policies, budget and investment frameworks.

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