Tack­ling cli­mate change im­per­a­tive

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

HIS Majesty King Let­sie III’S call for coun­tries to ur­gently ad­dress cli­mate change is­sues can­not be overem­pha­sised in a coun­try and re­gion such as ours where rain fed agri­cul­ture and pas­toral ac­tiv­i­ties re­main the main fea­tures of our eco­nomic pro­duc­tion.

His Majesty made the call in the Moroc­can city of Mar­rakech where he joined other world lead­ers at the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (UNFCCC) Con­fer­ence of Par­ties (COP22). The con­fer­ence which has been run­ning for the past two weeks comes to an end today.

De­spite their im­por­tance, such con­fer­ences are usu­ally shunned by coun­tries which con­trib­ute the most to global change through green­house emis­sions and other in­dus­trial ac­tiv­i­ties.

And if there is one leader who should have at­tended it should have been Amer­ica’s Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump who has a well-pub­li­cised dis­dain for cli­mate change is­sues.

That not­with­stand­ing other coun­tries must still forge ahead and im­ple­ment mea­sures to mit­i­gate the neg­a­tive ef­fects of cli­mate change.

Af­ter all, as we re­port else­where in this edi­tion, His Majesty rightly ob­served that it is the poor and vul­ner­a­ble coun­tries who suf­fer most as a re­sult of na­tions’ half-hearted or down right in­ac­tion in ad­dress­ing the dele­te­ri­ous ef­fects of cli­mate change.

And sadly, Le­sotho is one of those of those poor and vul­ner­a­ble coun­tries.

As the 2015/2016 drought brought on by the El Nino weather phe­nom­e­non has shown us, cli­mate change is no longer an is­sue which is con­fined to text­books where it is the pre­serve of sci­en­tists.

It is for us a mat­ter of life and death which can no longer ig­nored es­pe­cially as we woke up to the re­al­ity of failed har­vests, dead live­stock and se­ri­ously de­pleted wa­ter lev­els which meant more than half a mil­lion peo­ple re­quired food as­sis­tance.

And all this hap­pened, we are told, when the global tem­per­a­ture had only in­creased by less than one de­gree Cel­sius- how much more will the dam­age be should it rise any fur­ther?

Ours is, as His Majesty pointed out, “a land­locked coun­try with moun­tain­ous ter­rain and a frag­ile ecosys­tem, re­mains one of the vul­ner­a­ble coun­tries in the world to the ad­verse ef­fects of cli­mate change.”

“Le­sotho’s am­bi­tions to tackle cli­mate change can be seen from her In­tended Na­tion­ally De­ter­mined Con­tri­bu­tions (INDC) sub­mit­ted to the UNFCCC. With her own limited resources Le­sotho has in­creased its mit­i­ga­tion am­bi­tions,” the king said, adding such ef­forts would help the coun­try achieve the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGS).

It is heart­en­ing to note that there have been some at­tempts to ad­dress the is­sues of cli­mate change on the part of gov­ern­ment.

Ours is there­fore a hum­ble plea for all stake­hold­ers in the coun­try to play their part as the is­sue of cli­mate change is sim­ply too im­por­tant to leave in the hands of gov­ern­ment alone. Nor can our moun­tain­ous ter­rain and frag­ile ecosys­tem be made to wait for for­eign in­ter­ven­tion and for­eign fund­ing but the duty to pro­tect is pri­mar­ily ours as Ba­sotho.

While it is all well and good to in­ter­act and share ideas, we sim­ply owe it to our­selves and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to de­velop home­grown so­lu­tions in the fight against cli­mate change and re­li­giously im­ple­ment them.

This calls for dy­namic agri­cul­tural prac­tices, our herd boys and our com­mu­ni­ties all need to play their part in the fight to pre­serve our en­vi­ron­ment.

There is an ur­gent need to ex­am­ine our land-use sys­tems and de­cide which of our age-old prac­tices need to be dis­carded in the in­ter­ests of en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion.

It is a war we all need to gird our­selves to par­tic­i­pate in. Pay­ing lip-ser­vice to this is­sue and sit­ting and wait­ing for for­eign in­ter­ven­tion can only lead to con­se­quences that are too ghastly to con­tem­plate.

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