Economic growth is the central objective of the Government of Malawi's vision to reduce poverty. The United Nations contributes to this objective by supporting investments in Malawi's primary asset, her people, and by strengthening the management and accountability systems that are neded to ensure that growth benefits every citizen, especially women, children, the poor and the most vulnerable.
The United Nations contributes to the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy, the country's economic and development blueprint, through the United Nations development Assistance Framework 2008-2011.
Although Malawi is not in the first wave of pilot countries, the Malawi UN Country Team has taken a number of steps to prepare the ground for the implementation of the concept of “Delivering as One UN” in line with the recommendations of the High Level Panel on System-Wide United Nations Coherence. As part of this effort, a UN Business Plan (road map) was developed outlining the various steps envisaged towards “One UN” in Malawi through the implementation of the “Four Ones”: One Leader, One Programme, One Budgetary Framework and One UN House.
The 2008-2011 UNDAF was developed following extensive consultations with national counterparts, non-governmental organizations and development partners and aligned with the 2006-2011 Malawi Growth Development Strategy. The UNDAF has five strategic results: (a) sustainable economic development and food security; (b) social protection and disaster reduction; (c) social development, with sub-clusters of health, nutrition, water and sanitation, and basic education; (d) HIV and AIDS; and (e) good governance.
The UNDAF also highlights four cross-cutting areas - human rights, gender, disaser risk reduction and capacity development for implementation.
A Government/UN Steering Committee co-chaired by the Ministry of Finance and the UN resident Coordinator, oversaw the drafting of the UNDAF. The committee coordinates and monitors the implementation of the UNDAF. A multi-agency cluster approach was adopted to ensure a coordinated implementation and monitoring of the UNDAF outcomes. Each cluster has one overaching UNDAF outcome, with one agency head nominated as cluster convenor or leader. UNICEF is the cluster convenor for the social development cluster.
In November 2007, the clusters had their first ever joint thematic annual reviews and work planning sessions. This was the first time that agencies sat together as one UN to review their programmes and discuss with national counterparts and partners the priorities for 2008 in line with the national development programme and UNDAF. Clusters are expected to conduct joint mid-year and annual reviews and report to the UNDAF Steering Committee.
The Harmonized Approach to Cash Transfer (HACT) was introduced in January 2008. A UN HACT working group led by UNICEF is coordinating all HACT related assessment, capacity development support and assurance activities. A total of 308 participants from UN and implementing partners were trained in 2007 and an inter-agency working group co-chaired by UNICEF has been established to oversee the implementation in 2008.
Within the framework of the UN Business Plan, the UNCT in 2007 commissioned the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) to map out the existing programme funding modalities and prepare ground for the development of a single budgetary framework for UN development assistance in Malawi. An inter-agency task force has been established to prepare the ground for the development and implementation of the Single Budget Framework on the basis of the ODI report.
A framework for strengthening common services has been developed and various working groups were established under the UN Operations Group and tasked with the development of joint action plans for the improvement of common services, including UN House, Travel, Fleet Management, and Procurement. UNICEF is the lead agency for procurement.
A cost-benefit analysis for the establishment of One UN House was carried out and on the basis of the findings and recommendations for the study, the UNCT decided to pursue the plan for a One UN House. The Government of Malawi has allocated the UN a plot for the construction of the building and the UN is working to secure the financing of the new building.
The UN Communications Group, chaired by UNICEF, is responsible for implementing a joint advocacy and communication plan and ensuring that the UN is able to speak with one voice on key development issues.