CLIMATE IMPACTS AND RISKS FOR FOOD SECURITY AND LIVELIHOODS ASSESSMENT
Assessment and production of a technical report on climate change impacts, risks/vulnerabilities on food security and livelihoods (considering climate change projections/scenarios) focusing on the three major livelihood zones in the country (i.e. in the southern lowland and mountain areas). This work builds on the efforts carried out by the Ministry of Natural Resources, particularly the Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) for Lesotho's National Report on Climate Change (2000) and the Lesotho's NAPA.
BASELINE STUDY

Preparation of a baseline study to understand current climate-related risks, local vulnerabilities and perception and coping strategies in three selected pilot watersheds. The study draws the following conclusions:

Cross-sectoral integration between the natural resource-based sectors and the socio-economic sectors is imperative for the success of adaptation actions. Institutional cooperation needs to become more streamlined, so that programmes and projects are not implemented at cross purposes. Climate change considerations need to be integrated into all planning processes and staff capacitated to understand the issues and connections.

High quality data collection, management, analysis and information dissemination is of critical importance. Strategies, policies and projects must be underpinned by objective evidence. Information must reach those who require it in a reliable and timely manner for effective decision-making.

The strong links between climate, farming and poverty should be recognized. Poverty is the underlying stress which impedes people’s ability to cope, adapt and change their livelihood strategies in response to changing conditions. Investments are required to gradually move out of subsistence mode into profitable mode and thus out of poverty. Climate change can exacerbate this poverty trap.

Opportunities for agricultural production to increase under climate change should be identified and made a reality. This will require a strong focus on predicting and managing climate variability and risk, using all the knowledge and technology currently available, and improved through research and technology transfer. If Lesotho can “climate-proof” its agriculture, in the sense that variability does not time and again lead to food shortages but is incorporated into a modern and diverse food system, it could make substantial inroads into reducing food and human insecurity.

“Climate-proofing” crop production can also be achieved through the development of water for irrigation. Water harvesting can be relatively easy and inexpensive, and the topography over most of the country is ideal for gravity-fed irrigation and small hill-top reservoirs In addition, a range of formal small-scale irrigation schemes managed by local users would provide enough capacity for irrigated cropping to avert entire crop failure during drought years.
last updated:  Friday, September 14, 2012