The National Environmental Policy of Malawi is a cross-sectoral policy with the following objectives: Secure for all persons, now and in the future, an environment suitable for their health and well being; Promote sustainable utilization and management of the country's natural resources and encourage, where appropriate, long term self sufficiency in food, fuel wood and other energy requirements; Facilitate the restoration, maintenance and enhancement of the ecosystems and ecological processes essential for the functioning of the biosphere and prudent use of renewable resources; Promote the ecosystems management approach so as to ensure that sectoral mandates and responsibilities are fully and effectively channelled towards sustainable environment and natural resources management; Enhance public education and awareness of various environmental issues and public participation in addressing them; Integrate sustainable environment and natural resources management into the decentralized governance systems and ensure that the institutional framework for the management of the environment and natural resources supports environmental governance in local government authorities; Promote local community, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and private sector participation in environment and natural resources management; Promote the use and application of local knowledge and norms that facilitate sustainable environment and natural resources management; Promote cooperation with other Governments and relevant regional and international organizations in the management and conservation of the environment; Develop and regularly update environmental information systems to facilitate planning and decision-making at local, national and international levels; Facilitate development and regular review of policies and legislation to promote sustainable management of the environment and natural resources; Facilitate development of mechanisms for management of conflicts in the environment and natural resources sector. To improve human welfare and sustainable environment and natural resources management the policy has established guiding principles: Natural resources and the environment are the bedrock of the country’s wealth, livelihood and prosperity. Unless sustainably managed and equitably and fairly distributed, they can be sources of conflicts, resentment and consequently environmental degradation and unsustainable utilization of natural resources; Poverty is one of the root causes of environmental degradation in Malawi and is at the core of the government's development agenda for the foreseeable future. Its alleviation is critical to natural resource conservation, protection and sustainable utilization. Regarding land tenure and land use, promote sustainable use of the land resources of Malawi, primarily, but not exclusively, for agricultural purposes by strengthening and clearly defining security of tenure over land resources. The following guiding principles have been established: the provision of security of tenure for smallholder farmers against estate expansion is important for sustainable resource-based production systems (including trees); Empowering CBOs to regulate resource management on common property in their respective areas should be given high priority; Customary rights to land and resource use will be recognized and protected, or alternatives provided, including the opportunity to convert to leasehold; A comprehensive land policy should encompass not only property rights to land but also other natural resources (e.g. trees, water, fisheries, wetlands, minerals, rangelands and wildlife); Land use planning and classification is essential for sustainable environment and natural resources management.
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