Maseru, 02 September 2022
A conversation with Chief Seeiso Bereng Seeiso on integrated catchment management
Chief Seeiso Bereng Seeiso, younger brother of King Letsie III, is the Principal Chief of Matsieng and a member of the Senate of Lesotho – where he served as Senate President from 2015 – 2017.
Over the course of his career, he has been engaged in several projects and programmes dedicated to natural resource management in Lesotho. Today he identifies as a devoted follower of and advocate for the ReNOKA movement, believing that the Basotho will be able to economically uplift themselves through the Integrated Catchment Management programme.
“ReNOKA is a much-needed intervention for raising awareness about natural resources, but also for restoring the Basotho’s parity in land and water use. It is cross cutting and involves everyone, men, women and young people. Whether you work in agriculture, development planning, business or tourism, the issue of natural resource management affects us all. We need to fully embrace and take ownership of this beautiful programme. When we have water and the land, we can practice sustainable farming, grow crops, and rear livestock; our lives will be better.”
According to him, addressing the uphill challenge of poverty in the mountain kingdom requires joint measures by men and women to protect natural resources. In his experience, the main challenge is the lack of information and stakeholder engagement in natural resources conservation.
“Most projects fail because there is insufficient engagement with the community. People need to be educated on the importance of these resources, ecologically and economically, and we must make them realise the negative consequences of losing land and water. This is the journey that needs to be walked together, hand in hand.”
As a member of the Royal Family and a leader in the community, Chief Mantata – as he is also known – takes it upon himself to encourage his people to protect their surroundings. His desire to see Basotho living healthy lives has been a driving force for his engagement in matters of environment conservation. As a custodian of the environment, he calls on the entire nation to reflect on the time when Lesotho was popularly known for its agricultural exports.
“We need to look back 50 years ago, when our production of food was sufficient and households could provide for themselves. Then we should be asking ourselves why we are now importing almost everything. We are dependent on foreign markets, and climate change has made matters even worse.”
The state is not the only stakeholder in natural resource management. Having the appropriate policies and institutions for ICM which empower Basotho to manage resources is sufficient to guarantee success. Chief Seeiso firmly believes that ICM offers many opportunities, for women and youth as well as men.
Wrapping up, Chief Seeiso has urged Basotho to utilise the presence of the ReNOKA movement, emphasizing that it is here to work with them. He finished by expressing his gratitude to the Government of Lesotho, the European Union and the German government for their work to date.
“We need to educate people about integrated catchment management; it should be embedded in our academic curriculum from as early as primary school. If children can grow up with a better understanding of the importance of natural resources and the environment at large, the next generation will protect Lesotho’s resources for the generations to come”.
ReNOKA (‘we are a river’) is a national programme and citizen movement for the restoration of land and water in Lesotho and the Orange-Senqu basin. Support for ReNOKA is provided through a partnership between the Government of Lesotho, the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The EU and BMZ contributions are implemented through a technical assistance project “Support to Integrated Catchment Management in Lesotho” by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
For more information
Visit the ReNOKA website at www.renoka.org
Engage with us on social media:
National ICM Coordinator, ICM Coordination Unit
GIZ Programme Manager, Support to Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) in Lesotho
‘This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Integrated Catchment Management unit and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)’