‘Col­lab­o­ra­tion key to tackle cli­mate change’

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

A CALL has been made for a co­or­di­nated re­sponse from gov­ern­ment and other stake­hold­ers to mit­i­gate the im­pact of cli­mate change.

This was said by De­fence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Tšeliso Mokhosi (pic­tured) on Mon­day, while of­fi­cially open­ing the Cli­mate Change Re­sponse Strat­egy Project on be­half of his En­ergy and Me­te­o­rol­ogy coun­ter­part Se­libe Mo­choboroane.

Mr Mokhosi said it was im­per­a­tive for all stake­hold­ers to come up with strate­gies for en­hanc­ing the re­silience of vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties so they can with­stand cli­matic shocks.

He said the Cli­mate Change Re­sponse Strat­egy Project would for­mu­late a cli­mate change pol­icy, im­ple­men­ta­tion strat­egy as well as a sus­tain­able en­ergy frame­work. The project was funded by the gov­ern­ment of Ire­land through the Euro­pean Union (EU) Del­e­ga­tion to Le­sotho.

“Le­sotho’s de­vel­op­ment poli­cies con­tin­ued to strongly fo­cus on the at­tain­ment of sus­tain­able hu­man de­vel­op­ment, a goal which broadly en­com­passes poverty re­duc­tion, em­ploy­ment cre­ation, pro­vi­sion of so­cial ser­vices and ad­dress­ing key en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges,” Mr Mokhosi said.

“How­ever, cli­mate change im­pacts are a sig­nif­i­cant hin­drance to de­vel­op­ment in Le­sotho. Key chal­lenges in­clude land degra­da­tion, agri­cul­tural mal­prac­tices, over­graz­ing, loss of veg­e­ta­tion cover and wet­lands.”

He said Ba­sotho were reel­ing from the im­pact of the 2015/2016 El Nino-in­duced drought which had re­sulted in wa­ter short­ages and poor har­vests.

“The drought has re­cently been fol­lowed by heavy snow and rain­fall dur­ing the past week. It is ap­par­ent that nowa­days we are mov­ing from one ex­treme weather con­di­tion to an­other,” said Mr Mokhosi.

“It is there­fore nec­es­sary to build the re­silience of vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties to bet­ter with­stand and re­cover from the cli­matic shocks.”

The min­is­ter said coun­tries across the globe com­mit­ted to cre­ate a new in­ter­na­tional cli­mate agree­ment at the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (UNFCC) in France last De­cem­ber to re­duce green­house gases and iden­tify ini­tia­tives to adapt to the chang­ing cli­mate.

“The new agree­ment ends the strict dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­tween de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries that char­ac­terised ear­lier ef­forts, re­plac­ing it with a com­mon frame­work that com­mits all coun­tries to put for­ward their best ef­forts and to strengthen them in the years ahead,” he said.

“This in­cludes, for the first time, re­quire­ments that all par­ties in­volved un­dergo in­ter­na­tional re­view, par­tic­u­larly on their emis­sions and im­ple­men­ta­tion ef­forts.”

Mr Mokhosi said the ab­sence of a cli­mate pol­icy and strat­egy made it dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment re­forms, adding many ini­tia­tives were be­ing un­der­taken around the coun­try, al­though not at the scale re­quired to meet na­tional needs due to lim­ited fi­nances.

“We will work hard to mo­bilise and so­licit cli­mate fi­nance to meet our needs in a sus­tain­able man­ner. With re­spect to en­ergy, Le­sotho re­cently de­vel­oped an En­ergy Pol­icy in 2015,” the min­is­ter noted.

“The pol­icy has called for the de­vel­op­ment of re­new­able en­ergy sources, en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and ap­pli­ca­tion of mod­ern sources of en­ergy. This is con­sis­tent with the UN’S Sus­tain­able En­ergy for All ini­tia­tive. The pol­icy fur­ther ac­knowl­edges the piv­otal role of the pri­vate sec­tor, civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions and donor com­mu­nity in en­ergy pro­grammes.”

He said the Cli­mate Change Re­sponse Strat­egy Project would de­velop strate­gic ac­tions to fa­cil­i­tate the ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion of dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers.

“As the first ini­tia­tive, the Min­istry of En­ergy and Me­te­o­rol­ogy has formed an en­ergy multi-sec­toral stake­holder fo­rum as the plat­form of co­or­di­na­tion of en­ergy sec­tor co­or­di­na­tion ac­tiv­i­ties,” said Mr Mokhosi.

“By im­ple­ment­ing this project, Le­sotho will be able to ad­dress­ing cli­mate change as well as demon­strat­ing un­re­served com­mit­ment and will to meet in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions un­der the UNFCC.”

In his re­marks at the same event, EU Am­bas­sador to Le­sotho Dr Michael Doyle re­minded the gov­ern­ment ern­ment the UNFCC agree­ment was s legally-bind­ing and “makes ir­re­versible ever­si­ble for all coun­tries the on­go­ing go­ing tran­si­tion to a cli­mate-neu­tra­lu­tral and re­silient global economy”. omy”.

“Gov­ern­ments now need to drive this trans­for­ma­tion­for­ma­tion with am­bi­tious poli­cies. ies. Ev­ery five years, coun­tries will sub­mit their new and more am­bi­tious plans un­til the world d reaches cli­mate neu­tral­ity — a bal­ance be­tween green­house gasas (GHG) emis­sions and their re­moval from the at­mos­phere,” said id Dr Doyle.

“While Le­sothoho has not been a ma­jor con­tribu­u­tor to GHG emiss­sions, the main n cause of cli­mate change, the coun­try is, and will con­tinue to be, con­sid­er­ably af­fected by it. Through the de­vel­op­ment of cli­matete change poli­cies and re­sponses, Le­sothoo is pre- par­ing it­self for the im­pact of cli­mate change. The fact that Le­sotho is also de­ter­mined to play its role in mit­i­ga­tion is highly com­mend­able.” He said the po­ten­tially desta­bil­is­ing ef­fects of cli­mate change -- on mi­gra­tion, food se­cu­rity, reli­able ac­cess to re­sou re­sources, wa­ter and en­ergy, the spread of epi epi­demic dis­ease, and so­cial and eco­nomic i in­sta­bil­ity -- should be ad­dressed by all coun­tries through cli­mate risk as­sessm as­sess­ments and ca­pac­ity build­ing. Dr Doyle also re re­vealed the EU Del­e­ga­tion had provid pro­vided the Depart­ment of En­ergy (DOE) w with two ex­perts to as­sist in strength­en­ingstrengthen the en­ergy sec­tor in Le­sotho. “The ex­perts will be sup­port­ing the co­ord co­or­di­na­tion role of the DOE in the en­ergy sec­tor, help­ing the DOE with re­fin­ing the man­dates of in­sti­tu­tions in the sec­tor and re­lated train­ing, as well as con­tribut­ing to an up­dated and im­proved elec­tri­fi­ca­tion mas­ter plan. They will also as­sist in re­source mapping and con­trib­ute to trans­lat­ing into leg­is­la­tion the re­cently-ap­proved (2015) En­ergy Pol­icy for Le­sotho,” he said.

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