Over the past 20 years Lesotho has experienced an unprecedented number and frequency of droughts and the Southern Lowlands have been affected severely by droughts almost annually over the last decade. Hence, Lesotho is already experiencing the negative impacts of climate change, including the:
Increasing frequency of extreme events, inter alia droughts;
Increased rates of soil erosion and desertification; and
Reduced soil fertility
As a result, agricultural production has declined in the Foothills and Lowlands of Lesotho and the increased frequency of rainstorms in the winter has aggravated the already severe soil erosion in the Foothills, the Lowlands and the Lower Senqu River Basin areas. The reduced agricultural production has particularly negative consequences for poor households who are reliant on rain-fed agriculture as the primary source of livelihood.
The RVCC project seeks to provide interventions by providing solutions to the climate change problem facing Lesotho and to strengthen the resilience of climate-vulnerable communities by:
Enhancing the capacity of government institutions and local communities to mainstream climate change risks into policies, plans and programmes;
Implementing climate-smart ecosystem rehabilitation and management measures using a community/household based approach; and
Establishing a system for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of various approaches to climate change adaptation to inform a process of adaptive management.
Communities within the Lithipeng, Khoelenya and Thaba-Mokhele Community Councils have been included in the selection and implementation of the activities, with a particular focus on ensuring that the issues of youth unemployment and interests of women are adequately represented.
The project is a response by the government of Lesotho to the negative impact of climate change. The implementing partners include the Government of Lesotho – Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation and the three communities of Khoelenya, Lithipeng and Thaba – Mokhele. The project has been funded and supported by the GEF and the UNDP Lesotho
The project will enable the Government of Lesotho to strengthen institutional capacity for climate change adaptation, particularly at the community and district level, thereby reducing vulnerability of the communities and ecosystems to climate-induced disasters. The project implementation focuses on NAPA priorities:
Improve Resilience of Livestock Production Systems under Extreme Climatic Conditions in Various Livelihood Zones in Lesotho;
Promoting Sustainable Crop Based Livelihood Systems in Foothills, Lowlands and Senqu River Valley; and
Capacity Building and Policy Reform to Integrate Climate Change in Sectoral Development Plans.
The project will be focussing on the following components and outcomes during the period 2015-2020
Knowledge, skills and institutional capacity to support land rehabilitation programme to factor in additional risks from climate change, increase resilience and reduce vulnerability.
Increased technical capacity of the Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation and relevant departments to apply up-to-date climate science for the management of evolving risks and uncertainty linked to climate change.
Communities empowered with skills, knowledge, partnerships and institutions for managing natural resources to reduce vulnerability to climate change and increase resilience of natural and social capital (over 7,000 households with potential for upscaling to cover over 20,000).
Over 50,000 ha of land across the Foothills, Lowlands and the Lower S-enqu River Basin rehabilitated through operationalization of the climate –smart Land Rehabilitation Programme.
Climate change adaptation mainstreamed into local and national development planning and finance.
National strategies for rangelands and wetlands management strengthened by the integration of climate change/variability and ecosystems management.
National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) mainstreamed into local development strategies to support the constituency wide adoption of the climate –smart Land Rehabilitation Programme.