Rural areas lag behind in climate education



MASERU – Climate change is considerably impacting agriculture, water, infrastructure and health in Lesotho. Experts are concerned that the dissemination of education on climate change is scant in remote areas where Basotho need to be informed and educated thoroughly on climate change and to be ready for any impact in the future.

The World Food Programme (WFP)’s Adaptation Fund Project National Project Coordinator, Nkopo Matsepe, said they had supported the government of Lesotho by implementing a national communication strategy plan that was launched in 2022 for dissemination of education on climate change.

Matsepe said they were empowering district level institutions for coherent messaging for social behavioural change and all stakeholders were working together to that end.  He said WFP had so far worked with some institutions in four districts of the country, namely; Maseru, Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka and Mohale’s Hoek.

WFP, Matsepe said, had also drafted a stakeholder engagement strategy on the dissemination of education on climate change. According to the newly launched National Adaptation Plan (NAP)’s press release, it is through some of the challenges that Lesotho is facing through climate change that the government of Lesotho, with the support of US$2.7 million (about M49 million) from Green Climate Fund (GCF), has launched NAP for climate resilience.

NAP was launched on Wednesday this week by the Government of Lesotho through the Ministry of Defence. It is a three-year plan intended to reduce vulnerability to the negative impacts of climate change, especially in least developed countries, through strategic planning based on projections of future climate change.

Prior to the launch of NAP, Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) Director France Mokoena said Lesotho was acutely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with extreme weather events frequently resulting in damage to property and infrastructure, outbreaks of diseases and loss of lives.

Mokoena said NAP project aims to reduce the country’s vulnerability to the impacts of the climate change by building adaptive capacity and resilience and by facilitating the integration of climate change adaptation in a coherent manner into relevant, new and existing policies, programmes and activities, in particular development planning and budgeting processes and strategies, within all relevant sectors at different levels.

During the launch, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Task Manager, Gift Gewona, said climate change was a global crisis that knew no borders.

Gewona said the consequence of this phenomenon, from rising temperatures to extreme weather events and shifts in ecosystems, are felt worldwide. He said Lesotho, despite its small size, is not immune to these changes, noting it faces significant challenges in the wake of climate change and that collective response to these challenges is of outmost importance.

“While the entire world is struggling with the challenge presented by the changing global climate, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is uniquely susceptible to the impact of climate change,” said Gewona. “It is predicted that in the coming decades the region is expected to experience higher land and ocean surface temperatures than in the past, which will affect rainfall, winds and the timing and intensity of weather events.”

Gewona further said: “The NAP process is an important tool to shift from ad hoc project based adaptation interventions towards strategic and programmatic approaches that are supported by a whole of government approach in the broader context of sustainable development.”

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. Such shifts can be natural, due to changes in the sun’s activity or large volcanic eruptions.  But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.  

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