By T’soloane Mohlomi

MASERU – The European Union Delegation to Lesotho (EU) has urged the Government of Lesotho to prioritize climate change as a key sector to be included within the country’s future strategic development plans.

Speaking at the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework Launch, which was signed recently in Maseru, EU Ambassador to Lesotho, Paola Amadei, said in making future preparations to ensure Lesotho is well positioned in the future, it is of the outmost importance that the Government took the effects of climate change very seriously.

The Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework is an agreement between the government and the United Nations (UN) aimed at pooling resources in order to address problems in economic, social, health, environmental and other sectors in line with the agenda 2030, which focuses on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

Dubbed “Ka lebelo la Nt’soekhe” (with the speed of light) the theme intends on engaging all stakeholders and accelerating their plans at a very fast pace.

“I will give three points, and the first point is directed towards the youth,I want to emphasize that if we want you to succeed it is important that we leave the planet in a viable state, so climate change should go up in the priority list.Indeed from Lesotho’s stand point we cannot change the course of climate change, but we can however do whatever it takes to adapt the country to climate change, and ensure we reduce our global carbon footprint,” she said.

Ambassador Amadei said the push for the current government for more renewable energy and for energy efficiency was one to be prioritized and fully supported. She also indicated that it provided a business opportunity as well, because without addressing the preservation resource, (water and soil) the dream of increasing agricultural production would cease to exist.

“Just last week European media published a last survey, which indicated that 85% of Europeans wanted investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, both at home and abroad, so that’s what we aim to do here.

“Moving on to the second point, a large percentage of the population has indicated political instability as a constraint which affects future development, and due to that there was a process of reforms that was designed to address some of the elements of instability in order to facilitate all the checks and balances, so in the midst of all this, the EU will be present in assisting to ensure all this happens.

 The third point she said was concerned with what they as the EU were currently doing in the country, she said the EU walked the talk, and  were one of the first in the country to implement the Programme of Corporation under the New Global Framework for the EU,  signed in the African continent. She said the programme which they signed just two months ago was among one of the first to be signed on the African continent.

She added that for the signed programmes they had already engaged all relevant stakeholders and hoped to be on the forefront to accelerate. She said they had a very clear sense of direction and they had various key areas which they focused on.

The European Union (EU) delegation to Lesotho having been a strategic partner to Lesotho for nearly 50 years retains a traditional cooperation with the country, and many of its programmes reside in the areas of water, energy, governance and social protection.

Although The Kingdom of Lesotho is in fact considered a water tower on the African continent, unfortunately only one third of its population has access to clean water on a sustainable basis. As a result Ambassador Amadei assured Basotho that the water sector is one which would definitely be prioritized.

In walking the talk the EU Head of delegation to Lesotho spoke in the background of the recent adoption of three new financing agreements, and two implementation agreements equating to EUR 29 million, this amid a new cooperation strategy adopted in December of 2021, which will see the Kingdom of Lesotho attain funding to the tune of a staggering of EUR 83 million until 2024. The delegation hopes these concerted efforts will further aid in uplifting the country.

Moreover 75% of this funding is earmarked for climate action.