|Overview : |
Malawi has a reputation for being a peaceful and stable country. The peace and tranquility that the country has been enjoying over the years is due to the country’s commitment to resolving its internal conflicts using mainly traditional conflict management approaches that are usually reactive including interventions by government security agencies, judicial mechanisms, commissions of inquiry, among others. At the same time, some institutions, mainly civil society organizations, have been engaging in various forms of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, which represent more proactive approaches to dealing with internal conflict situations.
Nevertheless, efforts of all these institutions have been hampered by two main challenges, namely; lack of enabling legislation and absence of a national peace architecture that promotes pro-active rather than reactive conflict management in the country. The absence of a long-term strategic institution for conflict transformation resulted in ad-hoc, unsustainable and uncoordinated responses to conflict situations.
The country’s commitment to continued use of non-violent means of resolving conflicts is specifically provided for in the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi under section 13(l) as one of the principles of national policy which reads: “To strive to adopt mechanisms by which differences are settled through negotiation, good offices, mediation, conciliation, and arbitration”.
In furtherance of this commitment to continue using non-violent means of resolving conflicts, the Government with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) embarked on an initiative to establish a National Peace Architecture (NPA) for Malawi. The Report on the Development of the NPA in Malawi that was published by the GoM in 2013 proposed to establish a national institutional framework for the promotion of collaborative peacebuilding mechanisms in order to prevent, manage and transform conflicts before they degenerate into violence. Based on this report, a National Peace Policy was developed, approved and launched by the GoM in 2017. The policy, under its first priority area, proposes to establish an inclusive structure with the legal mandate to proactively respond to conflicts, transform them into peaceful outcomes and coordinate peacebuilding initiatives and mechanisms among relevant stakeholders at national and district levels. This entails the establishment by statute, of the Malawi Peace Commission (MPC) and District Peace Committees (DPCs) at national and district levels, respectively.
Whereas pilot DPCs have been established and are operational in six selected districts, the MPC is yet to be established and the roll-out of DPCs to all districts has not been completed awaiting the development of legislation to formally establish these structures.
The purpose of these Terms of Reference will be to hire the local consultant, who will operate under the supervision of the NPA Secretariat and UNDP.