|Overview : |
Climate change – including rising temperatures and a greater frequency of droughts and extreme rain events – is negatively affecting local communities living in rural parts of Lesotho. The communities are dependent on the natural resources and the ecosystem goods and services from these fragile mountain ecosystems. These include regulating services such as storing and retaining water as well as mitigating floods. However, these ecosystems are characterised by widespread degradation as a result of unsustainable land management and exploitation of natural resources. The effects of this ecosystem degradation in Lesotho include loss of vegetative cover and extreme soil erosion. Such effects reduce the capacity of these ecosystems to protect vulnerable communities from the increasingly negative impacts of climate change that are threatening their livelihoods.
The government of Lesotho require appropriate policies and sector specific strategies in place to adapt to the anticipated impacts of climate change. For example, ongoing initiatives related to addressing ecosystem degradation currently do not take into account climate change-related risks and climate change mitigation and adaptation needs. Furthermore, the capacity of Lesotho’s line ministries and various socio-economic sectors to plan and implement appropriate climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions is hindered by the limited availability of technical skills, up-to-date climate information and best-practice examples to inform the design of locally appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures.
A key solution to the climate change problem facing Lesotho is to strengthen the resilience of climate-vulnerable communities by: i) enhancing the capacity of government institutions and local communities to mainstream climate change risks into policies, plans and programmes; ii) implementing climate-smart ecosystem rehabilitation and management measures using a community/household based approach; and iii) establishing a system for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of various approaches to climate change adaptation to inform a process of adaptive management.
In response to above-mentioned challenges, the Government of Lesotho and the Lesotho UNDP Country Office are currently implementing a five year (2015-2020 GEF-financed project “Reducing vulnerability from climate change in Foothills, lower Lowlands and Senqu River”. The objective of the project is to mainstream climate risk considerations into the Land Rehabilitation Programme of Lesotho for improved ecosystem resilience and reduced vulnerability of livelihoods to climate shocks. The project will support the integration of climate change adaptation into national and sub-national land use planning and decision-making.