Climate change: ‘Lesotho must adapt or die’

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Minister of Energy Selibe Mochoboroane
Minister of Energy Selibe Mochoboroane

Limpho Sello

ENERGY and Meteorology Minister Selibe Mochoboroane says Lesotho needs to adapt to extreme climatic events such as prolonged and intense droughts which he said would become more commonplace in the future.

Mr Mochoboroane made the remarks during a workshop at a Maseru hotel yesterday to formulate Lesotho’s Third National Communication (TNC) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Lesotho ratified the UNFCCC in 1992 and 1995 respectively and countries that are party to the framework are required to submit periodic TNCs that report on their carbon emissions and climate mitigation activities. The UNFCCC is linked with the Kyoto Protocol which commits its parties, including Lesotho, by setting internationally binding emission-reduction targets.

According to the minister, the TNC would continue the work implemented under previous national communications. Lesotho’s first national communication was submitted in 2000 while the second was submitted in 2013.

Mr Mochoboroane said the TNC would also be used as a tool to mainstream climate change in national planning and to attract investment.

“National communications are tools that enable countries to report their climate change-related initiatives to the international community,” he said.

“Lesotho fully supports UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol.  It was among the first countries to ratify the convention and the protocol,” Mr Mochoboroane said.

“We are already taking measures to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse emissions and adapt to climate change. The country has recently developed an energy policy which includes renewable energy programmes. This will enable the country to manage, promote and develop its energy sources.”

The minister said extreme climatic conditions such as floods and heatwaves were occurring with increasing regularity thereby affecting people’s wellbeing and primary food production systems.

“As a result of climate change, it is not just animals but also people that are suffering and this will continue unless decisive actions are taken,” Mr Mochoboroane said.

“We, however, don’t need to become beggars but to find better ways to survive under those circumstances.

“We need to engage in field trips where we meet with communities to train them on the types of crops they can plant that are not easily affected by the extreme weather conditions.”

He added that many adaptation initiatives were being implemented throughout the country while conceding that it was not at the scale required to meet national needs “hence the need for the investment of more financial resources”.

The minister said the TNC would report on the levels of greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation, vulnerability and adaptation analysis as well as policy recommendations.

“It will also include information on the kind of finances, capacity and technologies needed. We have already assessed the state of vulnerability in the three districts of Mafeteng, Thaba-Tseka and Quthing,” Mr Mochoboroane said.

“This information will be used to feed into the national communication.”

In her remarks, Lesotho Meteorological Services Director Mathabo Mahahabisa said the preparation of the TNC was also meant to increase awareness and knowledge about climate change-related issues.

“It also serves to strengthen the abilities of countries to participate in different mechanisms directed at abating greenhouse gas emissions at the national level, strengthen resilience and fulfill other obligations and commitments under the UNFCCC,” said Ms Mahahabisa.

She added that the project was funded by the Global Environmental Facility through the United Nations Environment Programme and co-financed by the government of Lesotho.

Minister of Energy and Meteorology Selibe Mochoboroane says extreme climatic events such as prolonged and intense droughts are becoming normal features of the climate in Lesotho.

Mr Mochoboroane said new records of temperature, rainfall or intense heat are set with an ever increasing frequency and it further demonstrates the magnitude of the influence of climate on life itself and also on primary production systems.

Mr Mochoboroane said during the launch of the Third National Communication (TNC) on climate change project at the Maseru hotel yesterday. The TNC will build on and continue the work that was done under the previous National Communications. It will be used as a tool to mainstream climate change in national planning and attract investments.

“Lesotho submitted its First and Second National Communications on climate change in the years 2000 and 2013 respectively.

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