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Climate Change Adaptation in Lesotho Highlands

Climate change adaptation is critical for maintaining the resilience of the highly resource dependent communities, as well as for preventing degradation of the environment and the loss of the ecosystem services that are critical for maintaining human well-being more widely.

Over the past five years the Institute of Natural Resources in collaboration with local partners Serumula Development Association, GROW and Native Seed Consulting has undertaken a USAID funded project to enhance the capacities of local communities, NGO networks and government departments to understand and adapt to the likely impacts of climate change in the highlands of Lesotho. The project has achieved a number of successes to date including, in particular, awareness and capacity development of approximately 3000 people through the actions and activities of the project at village, council and national levels, and the establishment of numerous demonstration sites and educational events addressing livelihoods, ecosystems and agriculture resilience.

Up-scaling (scaling up and scaling out) of successful adaptation interventions is now a priority in order to facilitate adaptation to the impacts of climate change at a meaningful scale across the Highlands of Lesotho. More investment is needed in order to achieve this. Private sector involvement in climate change adaptation in the Lesotho Highlands also needs to be considered. Water is the link between the Lesotho Highlands and the business sectors of both Lesotho and South Africa. Water-related ecosystem services are a key function of the Lesotho Highlands, with citizens and businesses of both Lesotho and South Africa dependent on, and benefiting from, the water resources of Lesotho. Environmental degradation and the effects of climate change in the Lesotho Highlands threaten the water security of users across the Region.

Strategies to encourage and facilitate investment in climate change adaptation in the Lesotho Highlands need to be explored. Investment needs to be made bythe communities of the Lesotho Highlands themselves, as well as private and government sectors. Ideally, business sector participation should go beyond a corporate-social responsibility approach, to be embedded in the business value chain as part of a competitive business model.

The project is therefore focusing on creating opportunities to enable this investment for up-scaling. To achieve this goal, the project is working to develop financing mechanisms to support the up-scaling of climate change adaptation interventions in the Highlands. The success of these financing mechanisms depends on establishing appropriate partnerships, securing stakeholder support and developing strong networks.


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