Lake Malawi National Park was established in 1980 as a National Park and inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1984 for its natural beauty (criterion vii) and outstanding biodiversity values, notably due to its value to science as a remarkable example of biological evolution (criterion ix) and exceptional diversity of its fresh water fishes (criterion x).
However, this rich biodiversity is increasingly being stressed by human activities such as overfishing and land-use change. Therefore, there is a need to monitor the fish diversity and quantifying its availability as it is one of the Outstanding Universal Value for the property. Malawi remains as among the world’s least developed countries, marked by persistent and widespread poverty and high levels of inequality and vulnerability.
Located at the Southern end of the great expense of Lake Malawi, with its deep, clear waters and mountain backdrop, the national park is home to many hundreds of fish species, nearly all endemic. Its importance for the study of evolution is incomparable to that of the finches of the Galapagos Islands.
Based on the recommendations from the latest Reactive Monitoring Mission that took place from 30th March to 4th April 2014, and the Committee Decision 42 COM 7B.93 (Manama, 2018), when the World Heritage Committee welcomed the progress made by the State Party of Malawi to update the World Heritage property’s management plan and to establish a fish monitoring protocol. The Committee also requested the State Party to take this opportunity to identify and reinforce the required management responses to the various threats and challenges facing the property, including growing population pressures inside the property, and ensuring continued close cooperation between the park management, communities, and the competent research and government institutions.
The project mainly aims at improving the state of conservation of the lake, through the following activities:
A second phase of the project will be implemented following the recommendations of the previous scoping mission. A consultation meeting with the key stakeholders involved in the implementation of the project will be organized early February 2021 to develop the technical proposal and the detailed budget.
 Malawi’s Human Development Index value for 2017 is 0.477— which put the country in the low human development category — positioning it at 171 out of 189 countries and territories, according to the UNDP Human Development Indices and Indicators.
The World Heritage Committee,