Biodiversity Planning in Lilongwe | Knowledge Hub | Circle Economy Foundation
Policy case
Biodiversity Planning in Lilongwe

Lilongwe, Malawi's capital, is one of Africa's most rapidly growing cities. As a consequence of the need for more space, Lilongwe's green spaces have been endangered by the increasing urban population. To tackle this issue, Lilongwe City Council has stepped up and developed an action plan to integrate biodiversity into its planning decisions. The progress of dealing with biodiversity has been started by a previously drafted National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and the pilot project by ICLEI called Local Action for Biodiversity.


Green spaces in Lilongwe, Malawi's capital city, have been threatened in recent years due to rapid urban growth and development. New construction has been established on river buffer areas, protected parkland has been purchased for private projects, and new housing plans have been drawn up without any green or public space provisions.


The Lilongwe City Council is working on a proposal to incorporate biodiversity into its planning decisions. The municipality’s new action has been pushed by the national government's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, and as part of this initiative, the government has started to map the biodiversity profile of the capital city. In addition, Lilongwe became a pilot for an international programme designed to improve ecosystem management, known as 'Local Action for Biodiversity', by the international cities network ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. With this support, the city council is working on analysing the city’s ecosystem in-depth, and creating enabling political support for change.


With the help of ICLEI, Lilongwe has benefitted from the following results of the biodiversity initiative: 1) 250,000 tree seedlings planted during the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 planting seasons by schools, communities, and the Lilongwe City Council in school plots, open spaces, along river banks and homesteads. 2) Reduced rate of illegal tree cutting due environmental education in schools and communities. 3) A total amount of K690,000 was given out to schools and communities as prize money for doing well in tree management in 2011 and 2012.

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