The European Union (EU) has pledged M1.1 billion to Lesotho’s water and sanitation sector for the period 2015 to 2016.
The commitment was made by the Head of the European Union Mission in Lesotho, Hans Duynhouwer during the Joint Annual Review of the water sector held in Maseru on Monday this week.
Ambassador Duynhouwer said the EU support would continue under the 11th European Development Funds (EDF), set to end in 2020.
“The Joint Annual Review (JAR) meeting is the highlight of the year for the water sector, and I would like to call on the government to make its vision for all Basotho to access safe water and have good sanitation, a reality,” Ambassador Duynhouwer said.
The JAR meeting sought to take stock of the achievements made so far in the water sector, identify challenges, come up with strategies to deal with the bottlenecks and plan for the year ahead.
According to Ambassador Duynhouwer, the results of the JAR are of great significance to the EU as the meeting evaluates the progress made so far under their M550 million water sector budget support programme.
He said the objective of the programme is to improve access to water and sanitation, as well as enhance the governance of this key sector.
“Depending on the results of this Joint Annual Review, the EU will disburse M100 million before the end of this year. That is if all goes well.”
Mr Duynhouwer said the EU has a longstanding relationship with the government in the area of supporting the development of the water and sanitation sector.
“This is also one of the reasons why our support will continue under the 11th European Development Funds (EDF).”
He said the outcome of the Joint Annual Review and the scoping study launched during the dialogue, would guide key stakeholders on how the funds would be utilised.
“Water is life and a basic necessity. Let us use the available resources to improve access to safe water through reliable water supply systems and also put in place good sanitation facilities in both urban and rural areas.”
On his part, the Minister of Energy, Meteorology and Water Affairs, Tšeliso Mokhosi thanked the EU for consistency in supporting the development of Lesotho’s water sector.
Mr Mokhosi said the extension of the support provided a firm footing upon which the water sector would work on.
“The work we have done so far shows we are making progress in different areas to ensure accessibility to clean water and also proper sanitation for the nation,” Mr Mokhosi said.
He further said achievements made so far are a result of good coordination of programmes through well-structured sectoral meetings held quarterly.
Mr Mokhosi also said the water sector had already prepared a report and circulated it for review by various stakeholders.
“We do this because proper and accurate reporting is essential for the building of trust and confidence and fostering teamwork and cooperation. This is part of our efforts to strengthen our monitoring systems and ensure we do evaluate our efforts and improve on water-governance.”