Problems Faced By Lesotho Due To Climate Change This Year
Lesotho, Crédits : Agence Kaolin
My name is Ntsebe Kokome (Ms.). I am a volunteer in the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa working as the Secretariat of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) as the secretary. I am a teacher by profession but worked in the Ministry of Education and Training for many years until when I transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations as the High Commissioner of Lesotho to Malaysia until the end of my tour of duty in 2012.
One of our mandates (JPIC) is to protect the environment.
Lesotho [Crédits : Agence Kaolin]
The Problems Facing Lesotho Regarding Climate Change
Lesotho like other countries in Southern Africa is facing problems caused by El Nino which results in climate change and have become severe over the years. Lesotho ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) followed by the Kyoto Protocol in February, 1995.
In Lesotho climate change refers to a result of human activities which causes serious problems for the environment. It has affected farmers who depend wholly on subsistence farming. They are at risk given their small farms; they also depend on nature for services such as fresh water and pollination, limited capacity to adapt to changes and high dependence on rain-fed-crops. Climate change therefore, has reduced their crop yields, has also changed the pests and disease outbreaks such as typhoid which negatively impacts on the farmer lives.
The country experienced frequent droughts that resulted in poor harvests and large livestock losses to farmers in the rural areas which exacerbates poverty and suffering. We experienced heavy snowfalls, strong winds and floods that caused devastating social impacts. Above all, we experienced warmer climate and very low rainfalls. According to research, these changes will be frequent and will bring along intensive droughts and increased floods. Consequently, these problems therefore undermine the economic developments of the country and the well-being of the nation.
The Church does not yet have a clear action plan on how to tackle these changes due to lack of capacity and resources. However, it has started a new strategy for farming and established a training centre for “Farming God’s Way”. This project, called Growing Nations, teaches conservation agriculture. The primary principles of this strategy are to not plough the land, but keep the soil covered and dig only small planting-holes. These practices help the soil to retain moisture, enhance soil fertility and reduce soil erosion. Pastors and lay members of the church, as well as other community members, have been trained in conservation agriculture and the church would like to develop this training further throughout the country.
The Church is fully aware of the critical role it can play in assisting the nation to adapt to climate change and therefore would like technical assistance in developing a clearly articulated Action Plan to address problems associated with climate change.
We would also request financial assistance when possible.