Member of the Month: April 2015 Lilongwe City Council, Malawi

Lilongwe is the capital city of Malawi and located in the central part of the country, alongside the river after which it is named. This ICLEI Member is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa, with a growth rate exceeding 4 percent per year on average, and a population of almost 1 million inhabitants in July, 2014.


Lilongwe is governed by Lilongwe City Council, which has been a valued member for many years now, and with which ICLEI-Africa has partnered on many sustainability initiatives.

Lilongwe City Council partnered on the Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) programme, which aims to assist local governments in their efforts to conserve and sustainably manage biodiversity. Biodiversity loss was and is still one of many challenges the City of Lilongwe has to face, and is linked to other critical urban issues. A rapid rate of deforestation is driven by the very high price of electricity, which creates a great need for wood energy among the growing population of Lilongwe. The increasing proportion of informal settlements also increases the risk of soil and water pollution, thus increasing the people’s exposure to health risks.

Through the LAB programme, as well as other initiatives supported by ICLEI Africa and its partners, Lilongwe City Council has strived to conserve its biodiversity in a sustainable way. This includes a tree planting programme which has been implemented with communities from Lilongwe, both as a way to cope with deforestation and biodiversity loss and as a mean to improve the public awareness on environmental issues. The rehabilitation of riverine areas is a similar initiative that has been implemented, and which aims at maintaining and ensuring the ecosystem services provided by the aquatic systems and the riparian vegetation of Lilongwe River, to the city and its inhabitants.

Lilongwe City Council is working on being a local government which considers its development strategies together with long-term sustainability challenges that have to be addressed. It is the main purpose of the Urban Development Master Plan designed for the period 2010-2015, as well as of the City Development Strategy (CDS), which was launched on February 10, 2010.

For this and more many reasons, we wish to pursue this mutually beneficial partnership, and we are proud to declare Lilongwe City Council our member of the month!

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