Incorporating Climate Change in Southern African Social Policy: A Malawian Case Study

Master Thesis


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This thesis examines the inclusion of climate change in Malawian social policy, and the discourse and government documents surrounding it. In Malawi, social protection predates climate change policies – in both policy in practice – however, they have risen up the Governments agenda at the same time. This is unsurprising given the severity and frequency with which the country is impacted by climatic shocks. Moreover, vulnerability and instability in the country leave Malawian disproportionately susceptible to the impact of natural disasters and environmental irregularities. In the wake of a natural disaster, most commonly drought and flooding, there is a significant spike in mentions of both climate change and social protection in Parliamentary discourse. Similarly, Government documents exhibit a wellestablished connection between these two – mention of disaster risk reduction is frequently coupled with a call for social protection to minimize the effects of natural disasters. In many ways, the most recent and current social protection policy is the logical evolution of this. In 2018, the Government of Malawi released the Malawi National Social Support Programme II (MNSSP II) which focused significantly on shock-sensitive social protection to address and minimize the impact of climate change in the country. Previous social protection initiatives in the country have garnered very little political support, and the Government has exhibited a hesitation to provide financial and technical support to these programs.