Population, Climate Change, and Sustainable Development in Malawi

Malawi is one of 15 population and climate change hotspots characterized by a high population growth rate, a high projected decline in agricultural production, and low resilience to climate change. In addition, Malawi faces severe water scarcity. The
combined effects of climate change and rapid population growth are increasing food insecurity, environmental degradation and poverty levels in Malawi.

Addressing population growth and climate change together should be a top development priority for Malawi. Though the two issues are not strongly linked in current policies, the inclusion of both in the 2011-2016 Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II) presents an opportunity to improve the wellbeing of Malawians. This positive step needs to be supported with improved policies, better coordination and adequate financial and human resources to ensure effective implementation of programs. Unless population dynamics are included as part of overall development strategies, more Malawians will be vulnerable to serious impacts of climate change.