2015 was a challenging year for Malawi as it was confronted by climate shock and a fragile macroeconomic situation. The United Nations (UN) successfully supported and coordinated the government led humanitarian response to food insecurity and the flood disaster. Over US$80 million was entrusted to the UN system which ensured that the UN, in cooperation with partners, provided the most vulnerable populations with food or cash, displaced populations with shelter, protection and health services; safe spaces for women and young people and cholera surveillance, prevention and control.
Despite the challenges, the normal programming of the UN continued. Some of the key contributions that the UN made during the year include: implementation of the Joint Programme on Girls Education; support to the completion of the new National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan and prevention strategy; support to the attainment of two new grants from the Global Fund and Green Climate Fund; continued support to a more transparent and inclusive dialogue about aid effectiveness, rolling-out of Scaling-Up Nutrition and a dialogue on youth issues and the demographic dividend.
On data and evidence for policy making, the UN supported the institutionalization of Maternal Death Surveillance and Response (MDSR) and Malawi produced its first ever analytical maternal death review report using data from 2008 up to 2012. This has led to integration of MDSR into an integrated disease surveillance and response system making maternal death notifiable within 24 hours at hospital, 48 hours at a health centre and 72 hours at community level. The UN Real-time Monitoring framework is providing a snapshot of available data to inform programming. 2015 was the penultimate year of both the national development plan and the United Nations Development Assessment Framework (UNDAF).
The UN supported the government to evaluate Malawi Growth Development Strategy II and is currently supporting the establishment of the National Development Planning Commission.
The second one-year extension of the UNDAF will ensure a genuine alignment behind national priorities and is an excellent opportunity for the UN to focus on innovation and piloting multi-sectorial, integrated and holistic programming and greater use of the One Fund and other UN tools for joined up action.
In 2016, the UN will strengthen its partnerships with the Government of Malawi, civil society, academia, the private sector and other development partners as Malawi defines its roadmap to 2030 focusing on leaving no one behind. Building on the achievements of 2015, there is an opportunity for the UN to act as a broker and facilitator of a transformative national planning process in 2016-2017 and ensure that the prioritization of the Sustainable Development Goals is an integral part of the planning process and is supporting the priority setting in the national development plan.
Mia Seppo UN Resident Coordinator