Remarks by the UNDP Lesotho Resident Representative, Ms. Betty Wabunoha
I am pleased to be part of this launch of the, UNDP Female Correctional Institution plastic waste management project being implemented by The Lesotho Correctional services, Ministry of Law and Justice, the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, and Culture, and Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship together with other stakeholders.
UNDP is happy to be part of this project through its provision of a critical grant to the Lesotho Correctional Services. UNDP through its Lesotho Accelerator Lab has partnered with Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture in the fight against the environmental, social and economic impact of plastic waste by implementing a project titled “Strengthening partnership on sustainable plastic life-cycle management in Lesotho”. This umbrella project, of which the correctional services is a beneficiary, aims at building partnerships and advocacy on plastic life-cycle management and behavioral change for responsible production and use of plastics in the country.
I would like to applaud this collaboration with all our partners and stakeholders, as indeed no one is being left behind in the plastic waste management agenda in Lesotho. The project has provided various innovation grants and capacity to people with disability, youth and women and waste pickers to enable plastic recycling/repurposing and employment creation. Through this innovation call for grants, the plastic waste management project aims to promote home-grown solutions, that are consistent with local context and practices and contribute to the collective response in addressing the plastic waste challenges.
The Lesotho Correctional Services is one of the six organizations that was selected to participate in the project through these grants. This grant was awarded under the livelihood development category, where the female inmates will aim to recycle plastic with the purpose of equipping themselves with skills and knowledge which they can gainfully use even after serving their sentences.
A 2021 Rapid Waste assessment undertaken by UNDP across 6 urban councils in Lesotho found that 69% of the waste generated by these councils is plastics. The plastic waste is generated by factories, commercial entities, academic institutions and Government complexes. This waste contributes to damaging the city’s natural resources including its drinking water supply, threatens the health of residents and their grazing lands.
The project has made significant strides for instance, supporting plastic carrier bags free Wednesdays, in Maseru and other municipalities. Plastic carrier bags are currently not being issued to shoppers in most retail stores on Wednesdays. In addition, together with United Nations Environment Programme, we are also supporting the Ministry of Tourism and Environment to develop a Waste Management Strategy, a waste management law and a plastic management regulation as well as a Waste Management Information System. A Rapid Assessment of Waste in Lesotho has been carried out to lay a foundation for the above-mentioned policy changes on waste management.
The rapid assessment highlights that plastic is the single largest waste product across all categories of waste generators. It also offers a glimpse into the recycling and repurposing sector, in which creative women and youth are beginning recycle and re-purpose plastic into several accessories such as mirrors, flowerpots, buttons, mats, hats, bags and now, increasingly recycled plastic packaging, bricks, furniture and many other things.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
UNDP has a long history and extensive experience in supporting The Government of Lesotho in various economic initiatives, and policy development as well as environment protection. We are pleased with the collaboration and look forward to the positive results from this partnership.
We assemble here today for yet another milestone - the launch of this project, here at Lesotho correctional services focusing on female inmates.
Ladies and gentlemen, as we launch this UNDP-female correctional institution plastic waste management project, I encourage us all to envision how Lesotho can make, use, reuse, repurpose and recycle plastics sustainably. We recognise efforts by the youth and women groups in the country in trying to recycle plastics and believe that it is through this project, such initiatives will be strengthened and capacitated.
At UNDP, we believe that behavioural change relative to plastics and plastic waste management in the country is critical to the challenges on plastic waste.
We also believe that a long-lasting impact on the life of the inmates in this facility and beyond will be attained through the knowledge and skills imparted to them under this project. This will further create sustainable livelihoods for the inmates and their families after they are discharged from facility.
Even though this project is being launched here in Maseru, we encourage the correctional services to share the same initiative with other correctional service facilities in other districts.
We recognize the interrelations and partnership that LCS has created with Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and the Ministry of Agriculture and food security on this noble development agenda. This creates a well broadened ecosystem that brings collective intelligence in addressing human development and progress towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Having said this, we thank you Honourable Advocate Rakuoane for affording us an opportunity to work with the Ministry in this global agenda on plastic waste management.
In closing, my message to the female inmates is, Bo Mme, despite being held in this facility, you remain an important part of our society and your families. I therefore encourage you to take this opportunity that has been laid before you with seriousnes and enthusiasm. Learn the skills, perfect your art and grasp all the knowledge availed to you by this project so that you can improve your livelihood beyond these confines. There is business in plastic waste.
We look forward to a successful implementation of this project and as UNDP, it gives us great pleasure to support female inmates in enhancing their capacities on initiatives that had already began.
I thank You.
Khotso Pula Nala