L E S O T H O U P D A T E
A WHITAKER GROUP PUBLICATIONWINTER 2009/2010
LESOTHO STANDSSTRONG AT COPENHAGENCONFERENCE
A group of 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) chairedby the Kingdom of Lesotho called on developed nations inDecember to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by at least45% of 1990 levels by 2020, and to make substantive com-mitments to helping LDCs adapt to and mitigate the eﬀectsof climate change.
Mr. Bruno Tseliso Sekoli, Lesotho’s Chief Negotiator at theCopenhagen climate change conference and chairman of theLDC group, said guaranteed, long-term ﬁnancing for tech-nology and capacity-building will be needed if the world’spoorest countries are to avoid sinking further into poverty.“ere is need for considerable additional ﬁnancial and oth-er forms of assistance for adaptation,” he said. Most of thenations classiﬁed as LDCs are in Africa, which accounts for just 8.1% of global emissions.Speaking on behalf of the LDC Group, the Right Hon.Prime Minister, Mr. Pakalitha Mosisili called adaptation toglobal warming “a matter of life and death to the LDCs.”“e LDCs would like to see developed countries fulﬁlltheir commitments to support implementation of adaptationthrough provision of ﬁnance, technology and capacity-build-ing to the LDCs,” he said. “e Copenhagen outcome mustensure signiﬁcant scaling up of funds. ese funds must beaccessible, predictable and sustainable in order to support ur-gent and long-term adaptation programs that reduce vulner-ability and increase resilience to climate change impacts.”Since the establishment in 2001 of a fund to help poorcountries adapt to global warming, 43 of the 49 LDCs, includ-ing Lesotho, have submitted National Adaptation Programsof Action (NAPAs). e ﬁnal Copenhagen accord called onthe developed world to contribute $100 billion by 2020 tohelp poor nations adapt to climate change and adopt low-emission technologies as part of their development agendas.Scientists predict that climate change will bring generally dryer and hotter weather conditions to Lesotho. In addition,the intensity and frequency of extreme events such as ﬂoodsand droughts are expected to increase, especially in the west-ern and northern lowlands. Water resources, in particular,will be negatively impacted with an increase in evaporationand a decrease in runoﬀ and groundwater recharge. Range-land conditions may also deteriorate, adversely aﬀectingLesotho’s livestock industry. ere are also concerns that thepresent indigenous forests may become semi-arid areas andthat agricultural production will decline.e adaptation measures suggested in Lesotho’s NAPAinclude stepping up education and outreach measures tochange land management practices; switching to diﬀerentfood crop cultivars; improving and conserving soils; enhanc-ing irrigation eﬃciency and expanding irrigation; developingnew crops; establishing early warning systems; decreasingwater demands; and developing ﬂood and drought monitor-ing controls.
Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL), the country’s largest ﬁxedand mobile communications provider, announced in Janu-ary that it has launched a two-way email service availableto its cell phone customer base, in partnership with Forget-MeNot Africa, a specialist in uniﬁed messaging for telecomoperators.
ForgetMeNot Africa’s Message Optimizer brings email torural and urban areas across Lesotho via any mobile phone,without requiring the end user to access the internet, upgradehis or her device, or download a speciﬁc application.By more than doubling the population’s access to email,the new service allows Lesotho to have some of the high-est rates of email availability throughout Africa even thoughonly 3.4% of Basotho have access to the internet. e servicebypasses the need for internet access by using text messaging(SMS) to send and receive emails.“We are proud to be one of the ﬁrst companies in Africa tosigniﬁcantly improve the population’s access to email via For-getMeNot Africa’s Message Optimizer service, which opensup email communications to our entire subscriber base irre-spective of what phone they are using,” said Mr. Mpine Tente,Head of Retail and Customer Service at Econet TelecomLesotho. “Our mobile phone customers can now use emailto share important information, communicate with family overseas or friends in another country, or even do businesswith people just a few miles down the road, all for the costof a local SMS.”With only about 2,000 computers connected to the in-ternet in Lesotho, almost all in urban areas, very few of thecountry’s two million citizens could access the internet be-fore the launch of the new service.
Climate change is expected to accelerate deterioration of Lesotho’s rangelands, which are critical to supporting thecountry’s livestock industry.
CELL PHONE TECHNOLOGYDOUBLES EMAIL ACCESS