The Embassy of Ireland in Malawi has emphasized the need for Malawi to pursue effective social protection systems, saying these are an imperative component of successful and sustainable economies across the world.
Head of Cooperation in the Embassy of Ireland, Mark Montgomery, made the remarks in Lilongwe on Thursday during the Roundtable Discussion on Social Protection Programs and Climate Resilience in Malawi.
The MwAPATA Institute – an independent agricultural policy think tank in Malawi – in partnership with the Embassy of Ireland organized the roundtable event to disseminate the results of the recent study on patterns of social safety nets, weather shocks, and household food security status in Malawi.
Montgomery said his government attaches a lot of importance to the generation of evidence when developing policies and executing social protection programs.
He said it is for this reason that the Embassy of Ireland partnered with the Government of Malawi to address pervasive poverty, food insecurity, inequalities and ensure that every Malawian participates in the country’s economic development.
“The Embassy of Ireland acknowledges the fact that social protection programmes in Malawi have embraced a multi-stakeholder approach that seeks to build long-term resilience of households as part of a broader effort to achieve the aspirations of the Malawi2063. I, therefore, would like to call upon fellow development partners to collectively work together in order to maximize the outcome of funding invested in social protection programs,” he said.
Montgomery also charged government ministries and departments to effectively coordinate and come up with complementary action points to assure strong national social protection programming system that leverages funding efficiency.
“Let me also invite the Civil Society Organisations to continue actively investing in the various social protection interventions implemented in the country. Our collective and well-coordinated efforts are key to a Malawi that is socially and economically sustainable as stipulated in the Malawi 2063 agenda. Together, we can improve the resilience of poor, marginalized and vulnerable groups by stimulating their ability to prepare for, cope with and adapt to shocks,” he said.
MwAPATA Institute Executive Director William Chadza disclosed that findings of the study presented at the discussion was a key component of the broader feasibility study for the Jobs for Youth – Infrastructure Development, Sustainable Environment and Food Security Program under the Malawi National Youth Service whose broader feasibility study is being coordinated by the Ministry of Youth and the National Planning Commission.
Chadza added that the findings would provide an in-depth understanding of the effectiveness of existing social protection programs and household-level shocks.
“This is key to reprogramming of social protection programs in this country. We are confident that during this roundtable event, you, our distinguished guests, will discuss the linkages between social protection and climate resilience in this country. We are hopeful that the recommendations that will emerge from the presentations, panel discussions and plenary session will contribute to strategies for promoting resilience and mitigating against the effects of future climatic shocks; as the country pursues its long-term goal of reducing the number of people in need of social protection; by creating wealth for all Malawians,” he said.
In her remarks, Director of Poverty Reduction in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Patricia Zimpita, described social protection programs and climate resilience in Malawi as a ‘very important topic to the development and transformation of this nation in line with the aspirations outlined in Malawi 2063’.
Zimpita said the Malawi Government is committed to transform Malawi into an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant industrialized upper-middle-income country by the year 2063.
“To achieve this, the government recognizes the need for social protection both as a human right and as a means of ensuring shared prosperity with marginalized and vulnerable groups. However, the long-term goal is to reduce the number of people in need of social protection by creating wealth for all Malawians,” she said.
She added, “Thus, the strategy of the Government of Malawi is that going forward, social protection programs will embrace a longer-term approach to building the resilience of households to shocks which includes recurring natural disasters and weather adversities related to climate change.”
Zimpita further stated that the Government of Malawi developed the National Resilience Strategy (2018-2030) to transition from “recurrent humanitarian appeals to protective and productive investments in complementary interventions targeting chronically food insecure and poor households supported by effective institutional coordination and multi-sectoral planning and implementation”.
She said the multi-stakeholder approach to social protection is also proposing some reforms aimed at expanding the scope and reach of the current social protection landscape and strengthening the quality of the implementation of the programs.
“This roundtable discussion is important since it will inform these reforms. I, therefore, would like to call upon all of you to be very candid in your contributions so that this meeting can produce comprehensive recommendations. Furthermore, I urge all relevant officials concerned with social protection and climate resilience present here, to utilize the recommendations from this meeting,” stressed Zimpita.