Strategic Conservation Efforts in Lake Chilwa Basin: CISONECC’s Workshop Facilitated by Bigpot Consulting

By Welton Phalira

Fig. 1: Workshop Participants

In May, the Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC), with facilitation support from Welton Phalira of Bigpot Consulting, held a pivotal stakeholder consultative workshop at Anne’s Lodge in Zomba, Malawi. Welton Phalira, serving as the Managing Director and Senior Consultant for Bigpot Consulting, was engaged by CISONECC to lend his expertise in environmental management for the strategic planning session.

The workshop aimed to develop a comprehensive influencing strategy for the sustainable management of biodiversity in the Lake Chilwa Basin. This initiative was part of CISONECC’s broader efforts to enhance stakeholder collaboration and integrate effective management practices that conserve and sustainably utilize the region’s biodiversity resources.

The event gathered a diverse group of participants, as detailed in the concept note, including government officials, community leaders, NGO representatives, and academics. This mix ensured a rich dialogue and broad perspectives in the strategy development process, essential for addressing the complex challenges of biodiversity management.

Welton Phalira’s role was to facilitate the discussions, leveraging his extensive experience in environmental and social safeguards. His expertise helped guide the stakeholders in identifying critical environmental issues and corresponding strategic actions. The workshop was officiated by CISONECC’s National Director, Julius Ng’oma, emphasizing its significance and alignment with national conservation objectives. The outcomes were substantial, leading to a well-defined list of prioritized environmental issues and strategic responses. Key focus areas included strengthening policy enforcement, managing sustainable land use and biomass, and building economic resilience in communities to prevent resource over-exploitation.

Fig. 2. Welton Phalira facilitating a strategic planning session

The workshop is part of the “Community-led Planning and Management for Biodiversity Protection and Resilient Communities in the Catchment Area of Lake Chilwa Malawi Programme,” funded by international bodies such as Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA), Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), and Trōcaire. These efforts are aimed at harmonizing community-led initiatives with strategic biodiversity conservation.

Bigpot Consulting appreciates the continued partnership with CISONECC and is committed to supporting the network in delivering robust environmental advocacy and management solutions in Malawi.

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