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The European Union (EU) and the Government of Lesotho presented three financing agreements with a combined value of €47.5 million (approx. M750 million) this afternoon at the EU Residence in Maseru. The agreements will support three separate programmes in the country: Integrated Catchment Management (ICM); the Participatory Initiative for Social Accountability (PISA) and the Technical Cooperation Facility V (TCF V). The German government is a partner to two of the agreements - ICM and PISA.
The EU's Head of Delegation to Lesotho, Dr. Christian Manahl, signed on behalf of the EU. The Minister of Finance, Dr. Moeketsi Majoro, and Minister of Water, Samonyane Ntsekele, signed on behalf of the Lesotho Government.
The agreements will further cooperation between the EU and Lesotho in the focal sectors of water and governance.
Combatting land degradation and the depletion of water resources in Lesotho
The goal of the ICM project is the sustainable management of land and water resources in Lesotho. It is aimed at combatting land degradation and the depletion of water catchments in the country. The total support for this project is €39 million (approx. LSL 624 million). The successful implementation of the programme is expected to: protect and conserve water resources in the country, preserve Lesotho's vast wetlands and ecosystems, reduce soil erosion and desertification, rejuvenate agricultural lands and improve of the resilience and livelihoods of the Basotho.
Ambassador Manahl said of the project, "It is not about constructing infrastructure. It is about working with the local communities and helping them manage in a sustainable manner the rangelands and catchments". He went on to explain, "the project will be implemented by GIZ with Lesotho's Ministry of Water as the key interlocutor".
The Minister of Water, Samonyane Ntsekele, added that the project will require collaborative work with line ministries and expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the EU and other international cooperating partners for their unwavering support. “We look forward to your continued support throughout the whole programme”, he continued.
Each of the partners has made a contribution to the project. The EU has made a contribution of €28 million. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, which makes its contributions through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), brings €6.5 million to the agreements. The Government of Lesotho makes its own contributions of €5 million.
Promoting an informed and active citizenry
The second agreement signed today extends an ongoing project called PISA, a civic education programme, by providing € 3.465 million (approx. LSL 55 million) of additional funding. It aims to increase citizens' awareness of governance matters and contribute to their ability to engage in democratic and development processes. The project is implemented by GIZ in close collaboration with the Lesotho Goverment and civil society organisations.
Dedicated funding supporting the Lesotho-EU partnership
The signing of the third agreement today will increase the budget of a facility called TCF V by € 5 million (LSL 78.5 million) to a total of € 9 million (approx. LSL 141.4 million). It will also extend its operational period by another 4 years until June 2024. The specific objectives of the TCF V are to support the identification, formulation, and implementation of actions under the 11th EDF. The purpose of the extension of the facility is to reinforce the Lesotho government’s capacity for implementing these actions and to prepare a framework for future cooperation with the EU.
An enduring partnership
Speaking at the ceremony Finance Minister Dr. Moeketsi Majoro said, “With the signing of these three agreements the commitment level of the 11th EDF National Indicative Programme [PDF] has increased to €70.5 million i.e. 57 % (LSL 1128 million). It is expected the remaining balance of €53.5 million will be committed later this year and we look forward to inviting you back then”.