Africa-Press – Lesotho. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Lesotho launched an innovative geospatial platform that will enhance governance, evidence-based decision-making on national concerns, and overall governance. Speaking at the launch, the Prime Minister, Mr.

Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane thanked the WFP for their financial and technical support in bringing this project to fruition, saying their partnership and commitment to the nation’s development have been instrumental in realizing this transformative initiative. Mr.

Matekane said to demonstrate the versatility and effectiveness of this project, they have chosen to pilot it in four key ministries namely; the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship, Home Affairs and Police as well as the Forestry department in the Office of Prime Minister.

He said this allows them to explore its potential across various sectors and understand its impact on different aspects of national development, noting that the insights gained from these pilots will guide them in expanding the project reach across the country.

Moreover, he said the Geospatial project will enhance efficiency in territorial planning, saying with the Geospatial project they have a powerful tool at their disposal to enhance the efficiency of territorial planning by integrating geospatial data with existing datasets.

He added that they can identify areas of high priority for development, optimize infrastructure planning and mitigate potential risks, such as climate shocks, and disease outbreaks as this will result in smarter and more resilient communities.

He said the Geospatial project also holds great promise in strengthening disaster preparedness and response capabilities, saying by mapping vulnerable areas and understanding their vulnerability to natural hazards, they can proactively implement measures to mitigate risks and protect our citizens. He said this project will play a crucial role in safeguarding lives and minimizing the impact of disasters.

In conclusion, he said the collaboration between the government of Lesotho and WFP highlights the importance of partnerships in achieving sustainable development goals, stressing that they must continue to foster collaboration both domestically and internationally to leverage expertise and resources for the greater good hence together they can create a more resilient and inclusive future for all.

Also speaking, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Limpho Tau said the launch of the Geospatial project will undoubtedly shape the future of Lesotho, saying it has the potential to revolutionize the lives of the people of Lesotho.

Mr. Tau said through advanced technologies and comprehensive data analysis, they aim to harness the power of geospatial information to address critical challenges, improve planning, and facilitate informed decision-making.

“This project represents a firm belief in the tremendous potential of geospatial data to empower our communities, promote sustainable development, and enhance the overall well-being of our citizens.

By leveraging this powerful tool, we will gain deeper insights into the spatial dynamics of our nation, enabling us to optimize resource allocation, mitigate risks, and effectively respond to pressing social and environmental issues,” he said.

He said they should embrace this new chapter in Lesotho’s development driven by the spirit of innovation and collaboration, stressing that may this project bring forth positive change, prosperity, and a brighter future for all.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Amanda Khozi Mukwashi said Lesotho like other countries has responded to the call to prioritize improved service provision for the citizens through the launch of the Geospatial project. Ms.

Mukwashi said the Geospatial platform is a cooperative effort between the Government of Lesotho, the UN and WFP, saying WFP supported the establishment of a geospatial platform to provide the digital tools to enhance territorial planning in Lesotho.

She said the potential of an integrated geospatial system in fostering development is significant. “It allows for informed decision-making and evidence-based planning, the key to the efficient use of the limited resources available to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as outlined in the 2030 Agenda,” she noted.

She said the launch comes at the right time as the geospatial platform initiative is in alignment with the government of Lesotho’s priorities as laid out in the National Strategic Development Plan II 2023/24 -2027/28.

She said through this geospatial platform, the government of Lesotho will be able to create, aggregate and display geographic data enhancing coordination between different arms of the state and implementing partners to improve service provision at large.

Meanwhile, at the same occasion, relevant officers have undergone intensive training on the development of this tool and have been awarded certificates. The US$ 1.1 million initiative was undertaken as part of efforts to enhance the government’s capacity on a wide range of issues.

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