Climate Change Adaptation in Lesotho
Calculations of return-on-investment for the pilot projects in the three agro-ecological regions and for each of crop management, livestock management and agroforestry. This should take a mediumand long-term view, incorporating the potential damages costs of no action in the face of climate change, and/or the lost opportunity costs of no action.
Widespread communication of the benefits to farming communities across Lesotho. This should be holistic and include yield increases, financial benefits, food security benefits, conservation benefits, income diversification, and human/social benefits (e.g. education and training). Information sharing between pilot communities of varying maturities would be useful. Awareness raising in the media (e.g. radio) should be fostered. This prepares the ground for wider implementation.
Communication of benefits to key policy-makers and decisionmakers, ministerial senior staff, cabinet members (particularly the Minister of Finance), senior academics and advisors. The focus should be on reductions in poverty and food insecurity, and cost-benefit messages.
The setting of clear and realistic time-bound and budgeted targets for phased upscaling across Lesotho and the region. Phased upscaling should be based on continued objective prioritisation of vulnerability, and endorsed by stakeholder consultation.
Engaging with the new target communities and local government structures from day one; assessing and addressing barriers to adoption at community level; assessing and addressing capacity constraints of officials and extension services in each new region; alignment with the local work of various Ministries wherever possible.
Transferring learning from the pilots in the three agro-ecological zones to new zones with similar circumstances, whilst identifying uniquely different circumstances in each new community. This should be based on indicators developed for each agro-ecological zone.
Encouraging the local manufacture of required machinery and technologies on a bigger scale, and development of local technical support services, for improved sustainability.
Monitoring of the impact and benefits of the pilot projects, as measured against the baseline data, over various timeframes.
Data and knowledge management using data collation, entry into databases, analysis and trend identification, and occasional publications for various target audiences. Feedback from farmers to be included on a regular basis.
Mainstreaming the prioritized adaptation practices, capacity building and awareness raising strategies into government programmes and projects will ensure sustainability of interventions.
There are opportunities to strengthen need-based research at the research station level based on the feedback from the farmers and local communities. This can revitalize future research programmes by orienting them towards ground realities.
It should be borne in mind that other countries have identified, via their own national climate change assessments and processes, different sets of priorities. As was done for Lesotho, an adaptation programme needs to build on these experiences and align with national policy development and existing programmes, whilst incorporating the local context. Unfortunately, whilst all the NAPAs developed by southern African least developed countries include agricultural strengthening as one of the top three adaptation priorities (OneWorld Sustainable Investments, 2010c), they are all lacking in specific practical actions to be taken as determined by the local context and most suffer from the same deficiencies identified in the Lesotho NAPA. This TCP could chart a possible way forward for turning high-level ideals into fundable and implementable local actions across the region.
From a regional point of view, scalability would be enhanced by the inclusion of other key themes relating to the impacts of climate change on natural resources-based livelihoods and food security, and potential adaptations. These could include climate-resilient development of freshwater and marine fisheries, climate-resilient wildlife management and associated tourism, and high value diverse fruit and vegetable production under small-scale irrigation, and agriculture-health-labour linkages. Agricultural and livelihood diversification is the key element of climate-related risk reduction and adaptation, and has the additional benefit of nutritional diversification with associated health benefits, and elimination of the dreaded "hunger season" so prevalent across the region.