UN aims to redouble efforts in Lesotho ahead of 2015

Oct 30, 2014

The United Nations in Lesotho was honored to welcome Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, a renowned anti-apartheid activist, doctor, author, and South African politician as guest speaker at the 2014 United Nations Country Team Retreat. Photo: Mark S. Cogan / UNDP Lesotho

MASERU--On the heels of United Nations Day held last Friday, the United Nations Country Team held their yearly annual retreat at the Lesotho Sun on 28-29 October, resolving to prioritize joint United Nations programme activities for 2015. The heads of seven UN agencies gathered to strategize how the United Nations could improve the quality of the service it provides to the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

“The goal was to take stock of our progress in helping Lesotho meet critical development targets in the National Strategic Development Plan, as well as the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, “ said Karla Robin Hershey, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Lesotho.

Hershey said that 2015 would be a critical year in the work of the United Nations.

“We will need to make a smooth transition from the MDGs into the next set of sustainable development goals—knowing full well that we still have unfinished work on the MDGs.”

Lesotho is on track for just two of the eight MDG targets, making progress in primary education and gender equality. However, Lesotho’s high prevalence of HIV—second only to neighboring Swaziland—complicates work on all other development targets. The country is also beset by a high poverty rate, with 50 percent of the population living below the national poverty line, and a large number of people suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition.

Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, facilitated the two-day UN retreat, bringing with her years of experience in UN “Delivering as One” countries like Tanzania and at the global level.

Dr. Onabanjo said that Africa is in a critical moment—and needs to soon capitalize on its demographic dividend—its youthful population.

“With HIV and AIDS, Lesotho will not be able to capitalize on that dividend. We must ensure that the Basotho people receive the education, skills, and employment needed to propel the country forward.”

The United Nations was also honored to welcome Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, a renowned anti-apartheid activist, doctor, author, and South African politician as guest speaker.

“It can be confidently said that Africa can claim the 21st Century as its own,” Dr. Ramphele said.

“But Africa has neglected to invest in its most important resource—its citizens.”

Dr. Ramphele, the former World Bank Managing Director said that the key to being competitive in the 21st century is an investment in creativity, civic engagement, innovation and knowledge.

Contact information

Mark S. Cogan, UNDP Communications and Reporting Specialist, mark.cogan@one.un.org, +266 Tel: (+266) 22 313 790 ext. 377