UN Country Team and Agencies

UN Country Team

The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) is UN’s highest level inter-agency coordination and decision-making body in Malawi. It is led by the United Nations Resident Coordinator, the designated representative of the UN Secretary General in Malawi. The UNCT drives activities at the country level and allows for all UN entities with activities in Malawi to work as a team in formulating common positions on strategic issues, ensuring coherence in action and advocacy.

The UNCT in Malawi comprises heads of all resident UN funds, programmes and specialised agencies. The IMF and World Bank are also members. Each UNCT agency is responsible for responding to the national development plans, as formulated by the government, to guide their own agency programmes. The UNCT Malawi system is structured as follows:

The UNCT in Malawi ascribes to the accepted principles and guidelines of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), which unites all UN funds, programmes, agencies, departments, and offices at headquarter level that play a role in development.

The UNCT works to support the Government in building and strengthening national capacities to achieve economic, political and social development. The UNCT is therefore responsible for ensuring the delivery of tangible results in support of the national development agenda of the Government and in line with internationally agreed principles and standards. This is done through the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). See UNDAF Action Plan 2012 – 2016.

The UNCT utilises its comparative advantages and brings its unique, neutral and impartial role across the humanitarian and development spheres; its normative legitimacy and permanent presence in Malawi; and the breadth of its engagement, including its capacity to leverage resources.

The UNCT values its engagement with all stakeholders, including Government, bilateral and multilateral donors, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and the private sector. As such, the UNCT seeks to consistently build upon its position as a key partner, most notably by creating and reinforcing partnerships for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

UN Agencies in Malawi

FAO: FAO works with Government of Malawi to modernise and improve agricultural techniques for food security. FAO’s main contribution to joint programming in the UN system is through Cluster One of the UNDAF — driving efforts to increase food security, diversify diets at household level and defend against the threats of climate change, unreliable rainfall and impoverished soil.

FAO provides technical support to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, and the Department of Nutrition and HIV in the Office of the President and Cabinet. FAO is assisting Government to develop a policy wide approach to agriculture, where stakeholders contribute to a common set of goals; driven by Government and ensuring that food and nutrition policy is well integrated. FAO also builds capacity to implement this policy efficiently and monitor both the implementation and the results of interventions. Read More….

UNAIDS: UNAIDS is supporting the Government’s response to the AIDS epidemic, working in the key areas of leadership and advocacy, strategic information, monitoring and evaluation, partnerships, and resource tracking and mobilisation. UNAIDS leads the UNDAF cluster on HIV and AIDS, which comprises UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, ILO, UNHCR and WHO. This team strives to ensure that HIV and AIDS is included as a top priority on the nation’s development agenda. It provides support for the development of National HIV and AIDS policies, plans and institutions aimed at achieving Universal Access to HIV prevention, AIDS treatment, care and support.

UNAIDS has been instrumental in mobilising human, technical and financial resources as well as tracking how those resources have been used in the country. UNAIDS is the leading provider of up-to-date and reliable data and analysis. It tracks trends in the spread, management and impact of HIV in Malawi and places this data in the context of global and regional trends. UNAIDS support ensures that HIV Surveillance Systems are continually updated and strengthened. Read More….

UNDP: In Malawi, UNDP supports the Government to achieve the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy MDGS II as well as the Millennium Development Goals.UNDP and the Government of Malawi aim to build the capacity to reduce poverty by creating transparency and accountability in governance and focusing on areas such as policy and strategy formulation, programme implementation and monitoring and evaluation. UNDP provides Government with the tools to consolidate democracy and deliver social services more effectively.

Priority areas in UNDP programmes include

  • Localising MDGs and support to national and district level planning
  • Public Administration Reform and Capacity Development
  • Equitable economic growth and private sector development
  • Gender machinery and women’s empowerment
  • Climate Change and environmental sustainability,

Good Governance and support to participatory democracy UNDP facilitates Delivering as One, coordinates the UN family and other development partners to create a streamlined response to the Government priorities, such as economic planning, capacity for monitoring and evaluation, public sector reform and the decentralization of governance. Read More….

UNESCO: UNESCO has a presence in Malawi and an involvement in the One Programme in various sectors, including Education and Heritage.UNESCO contributes to Advocating and Supporting Quality Education for All through supporting the development of national policies, plans and management systems; statistical capacity building; Early Childhood Education, inclusive education; Adult Literacy, Girls in Science Education; Technical and Vocational Education; and Teacher Quality Education.

UNESCO has core expertise in the Development and Marketing of Malawi’s Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage.UNESCO programmes have resulted in the nomination of the Gule Wamkulu and the Vimbuza Dance as Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage for Humanity. The Chongoni Rock Art Area was created as a World Heritage Site. UNESCO has also supported community radio programmes which serve as support mechanisms for all areas of the One Programme. Traditional knowledge is an important component of UNESCO ’s work, particularly as it relates to preserving biodiversity. UNESCO works with Government to nominate new sites for enlisting under the Man and Biosphere programme, for example Lake Chilwa as a Man and the Biosphere site. Read More….

UNFPA: In terms of Delivering as One in Malawi, UNFPA works closely with both UNICEF and WHO to deliver integrated solutions in youth reproductive health, streamline HIV and AIDS prevention mechanisms, as well as prevent maternal mortality. The data for development component of UNFPA’s work feeds into all areas of development. MASEDA is an invaluable and easy to use tool that provides statistical information for tracking all other areas of sustainable development. MASEDA is part of a joint programme on monitoring and evaluation, which includes UNICEF and UNDP. Read More….

UN-HABITAT: The United Nations Human Settlements Programme’s (UNHABITAT)mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable urban development with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. Only twenty percent of Malawi’s population is classified as urban, making the country one of the least urbanised countries in Africa. However, Malawi is one of the most urbanising countries in Africa at 6.3 percent per annum,three times the global rate and nearly twice the Africa rate of 3.5 percent.

The urban population is expected to almost double by2020 and will overtake rural growth. Sustainable urbanization is now one of the most pressing challenges facing Malawi, as urban poverty increases.Programmes in Malawi include The Cities Without Slums Programme – a Blantyre initiative that is to be replicated nationally; the Managing HIV and AIDS at the local level programme and the draft of the Malawi National Housing Policy. In the future, UN-HABITAT aims to have a Country Programme Document as a guiding framework for future UN-HABITAT interventions in Malawi, in support of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy. Read More….

UNHCR: UNHCR has been active In Malawi since 1986 when it responded to an influx of Mozambican refugees into the country — approximately 1.2 million – one of the largest numbers a single country has ever hosted. UNHR successfully repatriated the entire group. Malawi opened its doors to other African refugees in 1995. UNHCR deals with the logistics and management of running Dzaleka refugee camp in Dowa district, which houses over 10,000 refugees, mostly from the Great Lakes countries of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. This number includes the 2,800 refugees who were relocated from Luwani camp, 350 km south of Lilongwe, near the Mozambican border in 2007.

Approximately 1,200 refugees are scattered around Malawi’s cities. Together with implementing partners such as the Ministry of Health, the Government’s Office of the Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Programme, the Jesuit Refugee Services, the Red Cross and World Relief Malawi, UNHCR provides basic social services, food assistance, and construction materials for shelters. UNHCR also engages in extensive repatriation activities, helping refugees to either return to their home countries, find secondary countries of residence, and opportunities for study. Read More….

UNICEF: In Malawi, UNICEF supports the Government to progressively realize the rights of children and women, with a focus on the most vulnerable children. The three main strategies of the country programme are:

  • To strengthen partnerships in order to leverage resources and advocacy to position children in national programmes and processes;
  • To improve the quality and coverage of basis social services for all children, especially the most vulnerable; and
  • To strengthen family and community capacities to protect, nurture, and care for children using participatory planning and communication approaches.

The UNICEF Malawi programme is structured around five areas: Health and Nutrition; Basic Education and Youth Development; Orphans, Vulnerable Children and Child Protection; Water and Sanitation and Hygiene Education; and Social Policy, Advocacy and Communication. Through these programmes, UNICEF supports programmes on young child survival and development, entrenching child-friendly basic education and gender equality, protecting children from violence, injustice, exploitation and abuse, and children affected by HIV and AIDS. On a policy level, UNICEF advocates for child rights in line with the CRC and other international agreements. In Delivering as One, UNICEF leads the Social Development cluster, working at national level and community level. Read More….

UN Women: In July 2010, The United Nations General Assembly took a historic step to create UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. UN Women will lead, support and coordinate the work on gender and the empowerment of women at global, regional and country levels.

The UN Women Mandate “Grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations , the composite entry will work for the elimination and discrimination against men and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

Placing women rights at the centre of all its efforts, the composite entity will lead and coordinate the United Nation system efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It will provide strong and coherent leadership to Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective leaderships with civil society and other relevant actors.”

UN Women started its operations in Malawi in October 2012, at the invitation of the Government of Malawi. Read More….

WFP: WFP conducts Targeted Food Distribution to households that are immediately vulnerable, due to natural disasters or HIV and AIDS. Food for Assets helps communities to recover from shocks by promoting agriculture, fish farming or soil and water conservation. WFP provides food assistance to the chronically ill,mothers involved in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Programmes or households supporting orphans and vulnerable children. Malnourished children and their caretakers are assisted through the Therapeutic Feeding Programme.

School feeding has played a vital role in increasing school attendance, enabling poor households to invest in human capital by educating children. Supplementary feeding improves the nutritional and health status of malnourished pregnant and lactating mothers and moderately malnourished under-five children in poor and food insecure areas. WFP also provides food to refugees and displaced people housed in Malawi’s refugee camp, Dzaleka, in the Dowa area. Read More….

WHO: Through its Country Cooperation Strategy, WHO aims to focus its activities towards a more strategic role as adviser, broker and catalyst, building on synergies among health agencies and other stakeholders in the sector. WHO aims to respond to the priority health needs of the people of Malawi and move away from more routine activities that can be delivered by the sector as a whole in a more coordinated manner.

The main strategic priorities for WHO in Malawi have been identified as strengthening of national health systems development; disease prevention and control, including HIV/AIDS; family and reproductive health, including child survival; and partnership facilitation for health action. Read More….