Overview of SDG Progress

The past five years have been used for aligning local programmes to regional and global frameworks such as African Union's Agenda 2016 and SDGs. Additionally, Malawi Vision 2020 launched in 1998 is expiring in 2020 and there is need for a successor strategy. However, the pace at which Malawi is moving towards achieving all the SDGs is very slow. To address this, the National Planning Commission and CONGOMA have been exerting efforts to revamp functionality of the Sector Working Groups which look at technicalities of implementing sector programmes in line with local, regional and global development frameworks. To accelerate achievement, there is need for Malawi to prioritise SDGs; exercise prudence in resource use; generate more resources locally; and depoliticise development interventions. Malawi might not achieve some of the SDGs. Those likely to be achieved include SDGs 2 and 4. Little or no progress has been registered on SDGs 1, 5, 12, 14 and 16. SDGs 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 17 are said to be on the right path for achievement. However, it has to be pointed out that such indications from official reports from Government and Development Partners are based on progress registered on some targets of the SDGs. It may be imperative, therefore, to consider giving percentages of the achievement on each SDGs for people to get the right perspective of the progress. COVID 19 is likely to affect the progress registered over the past five years as it has impacted on income for the country, thereby limiting the development budget.

National planning, implementation and budget commitments

The annual budget, the Malawi constitution and the frameworks are the key documents for national development planning, financing and implementation. Due to limited funds realised locally, the development budget has been suffering a huge setback. As a result, social protection interventions which are key to achieving the SDGs have been largely funded by international institutions. Additionally, Malawi has accumulated huge debt over the past ten years, a situation that has made debt servicing the second highest allocation in the national budget after Agriculture. Furthermore, there are more vulnerable people in the country who live below the poverty line reaching as high as 52%, which overwhelms the mobilized national resources.

Progress since last VNR

Malawi launched the Malawi 2063 agenda in 2020, which aims at making Malawi an upper middle class country by 2063. So far, there is commitment from Government to bench the national budget on the national vision. Though there is limited compliance with this wish as evidenced by the 2021/2022 annual budget, it remains to be established as to how long Government can sustain this alignment. The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III (MGDS III) is still being implemented and localizes SDGs. However, the change in Government in 2020 might mean change in priorities. Although most priorities remain the same, the key demonstration is putting resources to actualize the plans, which is yet to be established in most priorities outlined in the medium term strategy.

Key communities who face being left behind

The groups being left behind include women, Children, the elderly, youth, persons living with disabilities and the chronically ill. However, sectors involving these are poorly funded by the Government which signifies limited commitment.

How have you engaged across communities?

The coalition has member NGOs, sector and district networks which basically empower the marginalised groups to demand accountability from the duty bearers.Further, policy papers are developed which inform key policy engagement areas with duty bearers at different levels of influence. In some instances, the marginalized groups are mobilised to demand accountability with policy makers.

Overview of Climate Change

Malawi has experienced significant disruption to weather patterns, ranging from severe drought conditions to extreme flooding events with flash floods since 2014. The droughts have had irreversible and damaging effects on crop and livestock production, leading to food insecurity. Malawi is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of its heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture and narrow economic base. The current response to climate change is sadly, reactive. There are initiatives on climate change adaptation and mitigation that are being carried out by various stakeholders, but the scale is still too small to lead to real impact at national level. This is happening despite Malawi signing or ratifying various regional and global frameworks including the SDGs among others. Significant weather patterns over the past 30 years have been characterized by worst and severe drought conditions and extreme flooding events with flush floods. The droughts have had irreversible and damaging effects on crop and livestock production, thereby affecting SDG implementation. Malawi’s economy is largely agrarian. As such, the floods cause a lot of damage to crops, livestock, property and loss of lives. In the past ten years, Malawi has come up with several initiatives including development policies and strategies addressing climate change and natural resources in relation to sustainable development and rural livelihood. Among them is the 2006 National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), which identifies and seeks to promote activities that address urgent and immediate needs for adapting to the adverse effects of climate change. However, the sector remains underfunded in Malawi despite ratifying international agreements and observing severe effects in communities.

Civil Society Priorities

  1. Raising awareness on sustainable development to local communities
  2. Engaging National Planning Commission to ensure all Sector Working Groups are functional
  3. Localisation of SDGs through local frameworks
  4. Promoting good governance at all levels to ensure prudent resource use
  5. Prioritisation of SDGs and adequate financing
We are requesting Government to improve its commit to SDGs by ensuring that the national budget is based on the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III as a strategy that localizes regional and global development goals i.e. African Union Agenda 2063 and SDGs. Secondly, there is also need for good governance in resource use; enhanced local resources revenue; improved aid from donors; local private sector motivation by Government of Malawi; de-politicisation of development initiatives; prudent implementation of devolution and decentralization initiatives; and improved monitoring and evaluation (data). Thirdly, civic participation in all processes needs to be enhanced for citizens to contribute towards development and sustain it.

Civil Society Engagement

CONGOMA has a seat in the coordination structure for the Sector Working Groups under the leadership of the National Planning Commission. CONGOMA ensures CSOs participate in all the 16 Sector Working Groups. CONGOMA further participates in more than 10 Government-led committees / taskforces which enables CSOs to offer opinions regarding national development processes. These opportunities enabled CONGOMA and its membership to participate in national processes prior to and after 2030 Agenda. At the local level, civil society is being involved through participation in District Executive Committee meetings and other sector based groups. However, data is the key issue and all structures are working towards the same.

Public Awareness

SDGs have been translated by various groups including CSOs (under the banner of Civil Society Taskforce on SDGs) and UNDP. Though CSO district networks are working with district councils, the process has not been sustainable due to limited resources. However, CSOs, including CONGOMA have conducted studies to establish compatibility of SDGs with MGDS III. Additionally, national review of MGDS II (2016-2017) and MDGs provide insights on how Malawi can better achieve the SDGs. It is imperative to mention that more research is required to ascertain the readiness of Malawi in achieving SDGs due to its high poverty levels of over 50%. In view of this, CONGOMA is ensuring that NGO initiatives are aligned to MGDS III and SDGs at registration and renewal of membership SDG materials have been translated into Chichewa and Tumbuka languages. The local governments are not actively involved despite them being key in the implementation of SDGs. There is limited funding to the local governments which incapacitates them implementing the SDGs effectively. They usually get less than 50% of what they require annually. Educational bodies and research institutions are minimally used. Ruling parties are more comfortable when the findings are in their favour and discredit any information from research activities which is not in their liking.

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National Coalition

Council for NGOs in Malawi - CONGOMA / GCAP Malawi

  • Amina House (Units 11 and 12), Along Paul Kagame Road, P.O. Box 2264, Lilongwe. Tel: +265 1 759 881 /2 Mobile: +265 991 609 007
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SDG Progress


Civic Space Rating

Adult Literacy Percentage


Infant Mortality/1000


Human Development Index

Human Development Index

Population below national poverty line

Human Development Index