Climate change mitigation incoherent



. . . Experts advocate multi-sectoral approach to avoid repetition



MOKHOTLONG – Duplication of efforts by government ministries towards climate change adaptation and mitigation is reportedly restricting achievement of maximum impact in capacitating communities and ensuring adaptation and resilience. Rorisang Kurubally, Improving Adaptive Capacity of Vulnerable and Food Insecure Populations in Lesotho (IACOV) Communications Officer, shared these views during engagement with governmental heads of ministries in Mokhotlong district this week. This has led to a call by the Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation, in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) under the IACOV project, to call for collaboration of efforts by key stakeholders in climate change adaptation.

Kurubally said it is time that implementers of climate change activities collaborate and work together for better efficacy. To achieve this, IACOV is disseminating a National Climate Change Communication Strategy (NCCCS) which will be a guiding tool for all stakeholders working towards climate change adaptation and mitigation. Development of the NCCCS is supported by the IACOV Adaptation Fund Project, which is executed by the government of Lesotho through the ministries of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation and of Ministry of Energy and Meteorology.

The NCCCS is aimed at guiding the country’s efforts to address the effects of climate change and ensure that people understand them and are able to adapt and adopt behaviour that reduces their vulnerability to its effects. The document was developed in 2017 and will be distributed to all districts. As analysed by the National Adaptation Programme of Action on Climate Change (NAPA 2007), due to its high poverty prevalence rate, geographical location and other features, the livelihoods of the majority of Lesotho’s population are exposed to the risks of climate change. As per the results of the Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Analysis 2019 (LVAC 2019), 30 percent of the rural population is estimated to be food insecure.

“The affected populations are from the very poor and poor household groups across all districts. The projected survival and livelihood protection gaps are mainly the result of low crop production, reduction in labour opportunities especially from agriculture activities and limited targeting of some safety nets,” LVAC 2019 reads.

Kurubally said the document will become handy not only to climate change key stakeholders but also to communities that are now exhausted and lost interest in climate change issues because of departments working in solos. “With this document, stakeholders will work together towards a common goal on issues of climate change adaptation. Different departments are encouraged to integrate their projects with an element of climate change to enable the government to budget for such activities,” she said.

IACOV is currently implementing adaptation projects in Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek and Quthing. These southern districts are identified as the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Addressing heads of ministries, the Deputy Chairperson of National Climate Change Committee (NCCC), Mofihli Phaqane, said Lesotho needs to collaborate its efforts to address the issues of climate change.He said Lesotho is rated number 14 among the countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts worldwide and number 50 in terms of accessing climate change mitigation funds.

He said even though Lesotho and other least developed countries are not emitting any carbon emissions, it is the most vulnerable and it may struggle to recover due to the impacts of climate change.Phaqane said it is, therefore, very crucial that the country works hard on adaptation and in partnerships for that matter.Speaking on the climate change communication strategy, Phaqane said the document is inclusive and participatory, further articulating that during its development, people at grassroots from different sectors were consulted and asked how climate change affects their daily lives.

“The document is aimed at purely climate change adaptation and mitigation but largely on adaptation because as a least developed country, adaptation is a key issue that needs to be implemented to ensure that communities adapt to climate change impacts.“We are not contributing much to climate change but are most affected by the impacts. It is important that Lesotho works on adaptation because it may take long or may not at all be able to recover from damages caused by climate change,” he stated.

He encouraged different ministries to mainstream climate change activities in the projects so that such projects are included in the national budget.“To the roads department, if roads are build or constructed without issues of climate change being put into consideration, such roads can collapse during extreme weather conditions,” Phaqane said giving an example.

He said each ministry has to be empowered so that it warns its people of the impacts of climate change.He stated that Lesotho is a signatory to the United Nations Convention to Combat Climate Change (UNCCC). As a result, it has to make efforts to capacitate its people to ensure that they adapt and become resilient to the impact of climate change.The guiding tool was welcomed by different heads of departments who said it will not only help them make maximum impact but will also help save the country’s resources.

Selloane Sephaka, on behalf of the Mokhotlong District Administrator, said in Mokhotlong they are already working collaboratively with other departments. She said this collaboration started in 2020 when different sectors in Mokhotlong were experiencing resources shortage.Sephaka noted that they have worked together with the Ministry of Social Development, World Vison-Lesotho and WFP, among others, towards a common goal further stating that the collaboration has resulted in maximum results being achieved and has brought unity in the district.

She further stated that the collaboration even saves communities’ time by ensuring that they do not attend numerous meetings from different entities but on the same topic.“Unity saves resources and communities’ time. It keeps communities interested. Now that we have been doing this for some time, it will be easier for us to work with other stakeholders in climate change adaptation,” she said.Mathealira Khatoeli, who works at Land Survey and Physical Planning, stated that a multi-sectoral approach would work better for the country. He said communities are tired of hearing the same thing from different sectors which is why they have lost interest in issues of climate change. He called for decentralisation of local government noting that it will help councils to effectively address communities’ issues around climate change.

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