Water is one of the most important natural resources of Lesotho which encompasses almost all aspects of life, economy and the natural environment. The unique geographic location, high altitude and pristine natural quality of the mountain areas, position Lesotho as the ‘Water Tower’ of Southern Africa hence the need to protect the catchments. Moreover that sustainability of water, land and related resources in the country is highly threatened by massive land degradation of catchment areas and adverse impacts of climate change pronounced by prolonged and recurring droughts (El Nino) followed by heavy rains (La Nina). The main objective of the ICM programme, first of its kind funded by the European Union, is to implement effective ICM activities in the country through improved coordination among stakeholders involved in water, land and related resources management for sustainable use of the natural resources, specifically looking into putting in place institutional and legal reforms and development of catchment management plans for each area for future development. A focus on drawing a baseline assessment of selected pilot catchments as well as implementation of the catchment management plans is necessary. Water, land and related resources cannot be separated or managed independently of one another, and it is widely recognised that water and land can be effectively and efficiently managed within the catchment area, adding that this implies that coordinated and integrated planning is required and can be achieved by instigating ICM approach within the country. Integrating land and water resources management across all sectors such as finance, planning, agriculture, energy, tourism, industry, education and health is already a challenge in itself. The complexity of implementing ICM is exacerbated by multi-faced issues of our land tenure system, land use patterns and the varied roles played by stakeholders, communities and government. Lesotho has three major catchments namely Sengu, Mohokare and Makhaleng rivers. They have been divided into 72 sub catchments and out that total, six sub-catchments have been selected to pilot the ICM implementation. The assignment “Operationalisation of Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) Framework” (ICMFO) is part of a worldwide effort to reduce catchment degradation and ensure sustainable water availability to increasing populations. Protection and proper management of the water sources is essential and must be undertaken by actively consulting the stakeholders living in the watershed, involving them in the management and ensuring they benefit from this. The Lesotho National Strategic Development Plan 2012/2013 – 2016/2017 (NSDP) addresses this, and the Government of Lesotho (GoL) sees the formulation of a National Integrated Catchment Management approach as a priority. Poverty reduction is explicitly an objective of ICM in Lesotho. The global objective of this assignment was to contribute towards effective implementation of Integrated Catchment Management in Lesotho through operationalisation of the ICM framework, including improved coordination among relevant stakeholders in line with the Long-term Water and Sanitation Strategy. The specific objectives of this assignment were to: - Support the institutional and legal reforms for operationalising the ICM Framework; - Support the validation of prioritisation and sequencing as proposed, through workshops involving all stakeholders; - Contribute to the development of catchment management plans for prioritised pilot sub-catchments including annual plans of action and tentative budgets.

Climate and Natural Resources

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