Ensuring inclusive national policy: Assessing stakeholder participation in the development of Malawi’s National Climate Change Management Policy



The Malawi National Climate Change Management Policy 2016 (NCCMP) is the governing instrument for managing the impacts of climate change by promoting climate change adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer and capacity building measures.

In order to assess the effectiveness of community engagement in development of the NCCMP and its accompanying Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy, the Initiative for Climate Action and Development (ICAD) applied the ICAT Stakeholder Participation Assessment Guide – a methodology to help countries enhance stakeholder participation in the design, implementation and assessment of climate policies and actions.


  • To assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the participation of community stakeholders in the design, implementation and assessment of the Malawi NCCMP and its Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy.
  • To pilot the ICAT Stakeholder Participation Assessment Guide.


In accordance with the Assessment Guide, the qualitative assessment relied on both a literature review and survey of relevant stakeholders. The assessment focused on the NCCMP with the inclusion of three Farmers Field School initiatives –  which were also being assessed under the ICAT Sustainable Development Assessment Guide.

The ICAT Assessment Guide introduced the inclusion of marginalized people or groups as a key stakeholder in the assessment. Accordingly, direct interviews and focus groups with identified stakeholders in communities, including marginalized groups, took place and were considered a valuable source of relevant data in the assessment of the effectiveness of community participation.


  • The government’s Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy does not provide for the monitoring and evaluation of community participation. The same applies for marginalized groups where the monitoring and evaluation requirement relates to their consideration in projects and programmes of government.
  • Interviews with representative organizations of stakeholders found a mixed response. Organizations for the disabled, women farmers and handicapped were not consulted, however youth, civil society organizations and human rights groups were consulted.
  • Participants in farmers field schools which were being assessed in a parallel pilot of the ICAT Sustainable Development Assessment Guide found respondents were engaged, stating the participation was of major magnitude, positive and significant.
  • The assessment identifies lack of coordination and leadership across sectors and between stakeholder groups as critical areas of concern. Stakeholders indicated the lack of a well-structured policy monitoring and evaluation framework leads to failure to measure targets and report on progress achieved as well as operationalizing the Implementation and Evaluation Strategy for the National Climate Change Management Policy.

Lessons learned

  • The ICAT Stakeholder Participation Assessment Guide is an excellent tool to guide others developing a methodology for an assessment. However, modifications would benefit practitioners who are relying on the Assessment Guide in its entirety.
  • The Assessment Guide would benefit from the inclusion of the principles of relevance, completeness, consistency, transparency and accuracy as are presented in the Sustainable Development Assessment Guide.

More information

For more information about the Stakeholder Participation Assessment Guide or any of the ICAT series of Policy Assessment Guides, please contact the ICAT Secretariat.


View the complete case study here