The national programme on integrated catchment management (ICM), under ReNOKA commemorated World Wetlands Day on 2nd February, joining the global community in raising awareness and increasing the understanding of the critical importance of the wetlands.
World Wetlands Day is commemorated annually since the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of RAMSAR on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
This year’s commemoration was held under the theme: It’s time for Wetland Restoration, calling for people to take action to protect wetlands.
To discuss the status of wetlands in Lesotho and raise awareness about the urgency of reversing the accelerating loss of wetlands, ReNOKA organized an open webinar. With over 70 participants from the Government, Development Partners, Private Sector and Youth, the webinar provided an opportunity to reflect on the progress of the implementation of sustainable development measures under ReNOKA such as an improved vegetation at Puete Wetland, in Makhalaneng Priority Sub-Catchment.
On social media, Facebook and Instagram, a series of campaign messages educating people about the wetlands were shared and discussed, including a prize-winning competition that attracted over 150 people who responded directly to the questionnaire.
RAMSAR National Focal Person on Wetlands in Lesotho, Ntiea Letsapo from the Department of Water Affairs said wetlands provide numerous beneficial services for people, fish and wildlife. “They protect and improve the water quality which can be used for agricultural purposes, store floodwaters and maintain the surface water flow during dry periods. These valuable functions are the result of the unique natural characteristics of wetlands”.
He further said Palustrine, as the most common type of wetland found in Lesotho, is considered as the decarbonization strategy that reduces the level of carbon in the atmosphere, thereby helping to combat climate change.
Lesotho is one of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance since 2002. One of the obligations of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention is to commemorate the World Wetlands Day and designate the wetland site of international importance. Lets’a la Letsie in Quthing has been therefore appointed the Ramsar Convention site since 2004.
In 2022, the Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation conducted a survey on status of wetlands in Lesotho jointly with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Findings revealed that progress has been made towards restoring water resources in areas like Makhalaneng Priority Sub-Catchment where an improved vegetation at Puete wetland is observed.
Nevertheless, some challenges still inhibit the attainment of the desired outcomes in some areas, which and community buy-in on transformative and accelerated science-based solutions for accelerating the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the next years.
Wrapping up, Letsapo reaffirmed Lesotho’s commitment to protecting natural resources. He pointed out that through programmes like ReNOKA, the country is determined to increase involvement of community groups in restoration and rehabilitation strategies as well as increasing knowledge on erosion risks and mitigation strategies.
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
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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)’