Call to main­stream cli­mate change

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

THE Euro­pean Union (EU) says Le­sotho stands to achieve more than half of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGS) if en­vi­ron­ment and cli­mate change are main­streamed into the Na­tional Strate­gic De­vel­op­ment Plan (NSDP) II.

The EU’S call comes at a time govern­ment through the Min­istry of De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning is in the process of for­mu­lat­ing the new NSDP II. The NSDPII will serve as an im­ple­men­ta­tion strat­egy for Le­sotho’s Na­tional Vi­sion 2020 to pur­sue sus­tain­able and shared eco­nomic growth.

It is also aimed at de­vel­op­ing pri­or­ity in­fra­struc­ture, en­hance the coun­try’s skills base as well re­vers­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion among other things.

EU Am­bas­sador Michael Doyle said cli­mate poli­cies should be con­sis­tently em­bed­ded within broader na­tional strate­gies in or­der to make na­tional and re­gional de­vel­op­ment paths more sus­tain­able.

Am­bas­sador Doyle made the call dur­ing this week’s four-day “Green­ing of the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning and Water – En­ergy Nexus” sem­i­nar in Maseru.

The sem­i­nar was or­gan­ised by the EU and drew par­tic­i­pants from the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) re­gion.

“This train­ing course will fo­cus on sup­port­ing gov­ern­ments and other stake­hold­ers to in­te­grate en­vi­ron­ment and cli­mate change in na­tional de­vel­op­ment plan­ning and as­so­ci­ated bud­getary pro­cesses,” Mr Doyle said.

He said that now that the Paris Agree­ment was legally bind­ing fol­low­ing its rat­i­fi­ca­tion by 81 mem­ber states con­tribut­ing 60.4 per­cent of the global green­house gases (GHG) emis­sions, gov­ern­ments needed to drive this trans­for­ma­tion with am­bi­tious poli­cies.

He said Le­sotho con­tin­ued to be neg­a­tively af­fected by the cli­mate change even if it was not a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the GHG emis­sions which were the main cause of cli­mate change.

“Through the de­vel­op­ment of cli­mate change poli­cies and re­sponses, which the EU is sup­port­ing with tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance, Le­sotho is pre­par­ing it­self for the im­pact of cli­mate change,” he said.

Mr Doyle how­ever ex­pressed dis­sat­is­fac­tion at cur­rent na­tional pledges for cuts in emis­sions which he said were still in­suf­fi­cient to achieve the Paris goal of lim­it­ing the rise in world tem­per­a­tures to “well be­low” two de­grees Cel­sius above pre-in­dus­trial times.

He said 2016 was ex­pected to be the warm­est year since records be­gan in the 19th cen­tury, ad­ding that all coun­tries must ad­dress is­sues of cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion, food se­cu­rity, re­li­able ac­cess to re­sources, water and en­ergy, the spread of epi­demic dis­eases and so­cial and eco­nomic in­sta­bil­ity through cli­mate risk as­sess­ments and ca­pac­ity build­ing.

“The EU Del­e­ga­tion in Maseru is sup­port­ing the Govern­ment of Le­sotho in ad­dress­ing the high­lighted chal­lenges, as Cli­mate Change is a key cross-cut­ting issue to be ad­dressed in the EDF 11 pro­gramme, where water and en­ergy are pri­or­ity sec­tors for EU sup­port to Le­sotho.”

He said Ire­land had pro­vided funds to fa­cil­i­tate EU sup­port for the govern­ment to set up the re­quired pol­icy and in­sti­tu­tional frame­work to re­verse en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion and adapt to cli­mate change.

The EU Del­e­ga­tion also sec­onded a team of ex­perts to the De­part­ment of En­ergy to as­sist the lat­ter in its quest to de­velop in­no­va­tive ap­proaches for pro­vid­ing poor house­holds with cleaner and en­ergy-ef­fi­cient cook­ing fa­cil­i­ties and ac­cess to re­new­able en­ergy sources.

Am­bas­sador Doyle said the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the SDGS must be done in tan­dem with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Paris Agree­ment in or­der to make na­tional and re­gional de­vel­op­ment paths more sus­tain­able.

“Am­bi­tious cli­mate ac­tion can be a huge eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity in coun­tries at all stages of de­vel­op­ment.

Clean en­ergy, sound for­est man­age­ment, and cli­mate-smart agri­cul­ture all have the po­ten­tial to bring great ben­e­fits to citizens, com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses. Now is the time to start har­ness­ing these ben­e­fits,” he said.

He said a good ex­am­ple was in re­new­able en­ergy where Le­sotho was well placed to play an im­por­tant role in har­ness­ing the ben­e­fits of low-car­bon trans­for­ma­tion.

Am­bas­sador Doyle cited goal six on clean water and san­i­ta­tion, goal seven on clean en­ergy and goal nine on in­dus­try, in­no­va­tion and in­fra­struc­ture as some of the SDGS that made ex­plicit ref­er­ences to green­ing.

He also said other goals that could also be achieved through main­stream­ing en­vi­ron­ment and cli­mate is­sues were goal 11 (sus­tain­able cities and com­mu­ni­ties), goal 12 (re­spon­si­ble pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion, goal 13 (cli­mate change), goal 14 (life be­low water) and goal 15 (life on land).

“There are there­fore many syn­er­gies to be found, all serv­ing the over­all de­vel­op­ment agenda,” he said.

EU spe­cial­ist on Tech­ni­cal As­sis­tance for the Main­stream­ing of En­vi­ron­men­tal Sus­tain­abil­ity, Dr Juan Palerm, said the world was liv­ing on bor­rowed time as it was dan­ger­ously close to thresh­old.

“If we keep do­ing busi­ness as usual, we will reach the 2 de­gree Cel­sius thresh­old soon and if the earth’s in­hab­i­tants are strug­gling to cope now when we are at 0.8 de­gree Cel­sius, what will hap­pen when we reach the limit,” he asked.

He there­fore called for the sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of data warn­ing of the ef­fects of cli­mate change to en­sure that govern­ment and so­ci­ety un­der­stood the im­por­tance of en­sur­ing that en­vi­ron­ment and cli­mate change take cen­tre stage in the NDSP II.

“We can have these sci­en­tific data and un­less we trans­late them into money and ef­fects on liveli­hoods, it will con­tinue to be busi­ness as usual. We need to trans­late this data into a lan­guage gov­ern­ments un­der­stands. This is a good mo­ment for Le­sotho as it drafts its NDSP,” Dr Palerm said.

“Govern­ment can only un­der­stand that it is im­por­tant to pre­vent the cause of soil ero­sion than to re­pair only if you tell them ex­plic­itly that it costs 7 times to re­pair than to pre­vent. The mo­ment these is­sues are trans­lated into money, the coun­try’s food se­cu­rity, govern­ment will re­act and make it a na­tional pri­or­ity,” he said.

EU Am­bas­sador Michael Doyle.

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