UNODC supports the launch of Malawi’s five-year Homeland Security Strategic Plan

Lilongwe 23/03/2022: The Government of Malawi and UNODC have joined forces to address the challenges of criminality and security facing the country, with UNODC supporting the Malawian Minister of Homeland Security to launch its five-year Strategic Security Plan.  Like many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Malawi is affected by illicit trafficking in drugs, wildlife, and other goods; by trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, as well as the influx of refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers including those fleeing terrorism violence from other parts of the continent.  This poses a number of trans-national challenges including that violent extremism could spread to the country, requiring a coordinated and strengthened response from criminal justice and border security entities as well as strong mechanisms for regional cooperation.

UNODC is well placed to support this assistance given its broad criminal justice mandate dealing with organized crime, drugs, and terrorism.  UNODC is the guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and provides key support to Member States to implement this treaty at the legislative and operational levels.  UNODC is also working with the Southern African Development Community (SADC)and its Member Countries to assist them in preventing violent extremism and counter emerging terrorism threats in the region including those posed by potential links with illicit trafficking in goods including drugs and other forms of criminality.

A key step in these efforts took place in March 2022 when the Ministry of Homeland Security of the Government of Malawi launched the 2021-2026 strategic plan for the country highlighting the Government’s commitment to ensuring sustainable peace and security in the country.  In Malawi, the provision of homeland security services relies heavily on government generated resources which are constrained. The launched Strategic Plan has been developed with the limited resources in mind, so its strategic objectives, as well as the use of the available resources, remains effective and efficient.

At the opening ceremony, Hon. Jean Muonaowauza Sendeza M.P., Minister of Homeland Security, reiterated the significance of the launch of the strategic plan and stressed that it will ensure adherence to rule of law principles: “Peace and security are essential cornerstones for Malawi’s survival and national development. The plan sets out a clear strategic direction for the Ministry to take advantage of emerging opportunities and systematically deal with constraints and challenges for sustenance and enhancement of peace and security”.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malawi ad interim, Mr. Rudolf Schwenk highlighted that the strategic plan is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16 on Peace, Security and Strong Institutions, therefore contributing to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and the promotion of effective, accountable institutions at all levels: “For Malawi to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, Malawi 2063, Africa’s Agenda 2063 and other aspirations, short or long-term, we need to emphasize the peaceful existence at both local and national levels. Tribal, regional, religious, political or racial tolerance and co-existence will ensure that no one is left behind”, Mr. Schwenk said.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Head of Office for Malawi / Mozambique , Mr. Marco Teixeira emphasized that the plan is well-timed as criminal and terrorist threats are transnational affecting not just individual countries, but the region as a whole at an ever-faster pace:

The importance of addressing these problems from a strategic perspective is of paramount importance. Drug and wildlife trafficking, corruption, trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in firearms, terrorism, to name a few, are threats that are deeply interlinked and that can only be addressed through a coordinated approach that brings together all the existing forces at national level”.

Mr. Teixeira also reiterated UNODC’s commitment to provide assistance to Member States and, particularly, to the Malawi Ministry of Homeland Security through the promotion the exchanges of best practices and experiences in the areas of crime prevention and criminal justice.

UNODC will continue this support to the Government of Malawi, bringing its broad criminal justice expertise to support Malawi in implementing this strategy and its broader efforts to address criminality, strengthen its borders, and prevent violent extremism in the country.