UN, Govt discuss development cooperation progress

The JSM also serves as a platform to discuss current and upcoming issues affecting the sustainable development context and the Government-UN partnership.

The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and senior Malawi Government officials on 29th October held a Joint Strategy Meeting (JSM) in Lilongwe to collectively assess progress during the first six months of implementation of the new Cooperation Framework for Malawi.

They assessed the three pillars of the framework; namely (i) peace, inclusion and effective institutions, (ii) population management and inclusive human development; and (iii) inclusive and resilient growth, in line with Malawi’s development priorities to identify key achievements across the pillars and discuss challenges that require joint attention from senior leadership.

The JSM is a bi-annual high-level forum between the Government of Malawi and the UN in Malawi, which provides oversight and strategic direction to the implementation of the Cooperation Framework with respect to Malawi’s development framework. Jointly chaired by the Chief Secretary and the UN Resident Coordinator, the JSM brings together senior Government officials and UN Heads of Agencies. The JSM also serves as a platform to discuss current and upcoming issues affecting the sustainable development context and the Government-UN partnership.

Therefore, the meeting presented an opportunity to discuss the review of Malawi’s long-term development plan (Vision 2020), which expires next year, and the development of a successor vision, among others.

In her remarks, UN Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres, stressed the importance of the JSM to the UN System in reviewing its achievements together with the Government of Malawi and discuss how to strengthen SDG partnerships.

“Malawi has 10 years to accelerate the achievement of the SDG agenda,” said Torres. “We have plenty that we can do together, but we also need to be very strategic to work on interventions that can push Malawi forward. The JSM is about a great team being transparent so that we can, as partners, engage on the work that we are doing for Malawi and assess whether we are going in the right direction.”

In his remarks, Chief Secretary to the Government of Malawi, Lloyd Muhara, noted that Malawi Government and the UN jointly lead the implementation, coordination, monitoring and reporting of the work under the UN cooperation framework in line with Malawi’s national development priorities.

“The 2030 Agenda commits stakeholders at all levels to work together to promote sustained and inclusive development as well as environment protection”, said Muhara. “The Government realises that a strong institutional capacity is key to successful implementation of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.”

“This is why the Government established the National Planning Commission (NPC), which has mandate from an Act of Parliament to coordinate and oversee the implementation of Malawi’s medium- and long- term development strategies.”

He said the envisioning process for the successor to the Vision 2030 has already started and will gather pace once the review of the current vision has been completed.

“The development of the successor vision will be highly consultative to ensure that the aspirations of all Malawians are taken on board,” said Muhara.

He also said Government has embarked on a process of revamping and strengthening sector working groups (SWGs) to improve coordination of service delivery.

In addition, the JSM also looked into Malawi’s SDGs progress reporting and the country’s appearance for the Voluntary National Review of the SDGs at the 2020 High-Level Political Forum in New York next year. It also discussed progress on implementation of the UN Reform and operationalization of the SDG Acceleration Fund for Malawi.

Government, through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, indicated that Malawi is also on track to achieve 59 targets and 80 indicators, particularly those relating to SDGs on zero hunger, good health and quality education. However, slow progress was registered on SDGs 1, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11.

Some of the key challenges affecting SDG implementation include: data quality and availability, high population growth rate, inadequate financing, energy and water supply challenges, and weak coordination among SDG implementing partners.

Written by
Phillip Pemba
Development Coordination Officer, Programme Communications and Advocacy
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labor Organization
International Organization for Migration
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Food Programme
World Health Organization