MASERU — Political and developmental partnership between Lesotho and the European Union is on track, Hans Duynhouwer, EU Ambassador to Lesotho said on Thursday.
He was speaking at a press briefing held by the EU delegation in Lesotho to announce results of the 2013 EU-Lesotho cooperation this week.
Duynhouwer said 2013 had been yet another successful year of cooperation between Lesotho and the EU with noted impact in the fight against poverty, provision of clean water and sanitation, among others.
“Co-operation with between Lesotho and the European Union is evolving. While the European Union remains a leading development partner, our co-operation at the political level and with civil society makes good progress as well,” said Duynhouwer.
These figures underscore the union’s commitment to Lesotho’s development, he added.
A total of EUR34.7 million (about M500 million), a large portion of which was in the form of budget support, was disbursed to Lesotho in the past year. This brings the total disbursement to Lesotho since 2010 to EUR 170 million (about M2.5 billion).
According to Duynhouwer, political ties have been particularly strengthened over the past year and this was illustrated by the first-ever governance dialogue between the EU and Lesotho and a third consecutive political dialogue in November last year.
2014 marks the beginning of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) which is set to end in 2020. Under the EDF, the sectors of water, energy and governance have been identified as focal areas for development cooperation between the EU and Lesotho.
EUR 142 million (about M2 billion) – subject to approval – has been earmarked by the EU for implementation of development projects in the areas identified for the 11th EDF.
Going forward the EU ambassador to Lesotho said the EU would be at the forefront of advocating the establishment of a human rights commission in Lesotho saying this project was a matter of urgency as many other least developing countries had already set out to establish such facilities.
The EU delegation to Lesotho, which was established in 1976, oversees official relations between Lesotho and the EU as per the Cotonou Agreement – a global agreement signed in 2000 between the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union.