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Lesotho behind as world marks Standards Day

Mpeshe Selebalo

MASERU — The participation of developing countries such as Lesotho in international standardisation processes is dependent on effective and efficient co-ordination at national level, Department of Standards and Quality Assurance (DSQA) director Tlhako Mokhoro has said.
Mokhoro was speaking against the backdrop of the World International Standards Day whose theme this year was “Tackling Climate Change through Standards.”
As part of this year’s celebrations the DSQA, which falls under the ministry of Trade and Industry, Co-operatives and Marketing, organised a seminar on standards and how they can be used to counter the effect of climate change.
The seminar, which was held last week Wednesday, discussed the roles of different stakeholders in the development of standards in the country and the importance of participating in that process.
According to Mokhoro the objective was to “emphasise the significant negative impact of climate change and also to recognise the role of standards as a potent tool for addressing developmental challenges such as climate change.”
He said changing global rainfall patterns posed a serious threat to food security, adding it was important for developing countries like Lesotho to participate in international environmental standards setting processes.
“Even though the biggest share of the blame for climate change is on industrialised countries, its effects are felt throughout the globe. We, therefore, all have some experiences to share on the effects of climate change,” he said.
He said the current call to improve participation of developing countries was intended to make international standards truly international.      
A senior standards officer in the DSQA Kuena Molapo defined standards as formal documents which establish minimum specifications which a product or service provided must meet.  
Molapo said Lesotho currently uses standards set by international bodies such as The International Organisation for Standardisation.
She however added that the country was in the process of setting up its own standards or adopting those set up by other countries, since Lesotho was currently not in a position set up its own standards.
“Standards are voluntary unless they are regulated by an appropriate law which will be used to regulate emissions in the country,” said Molapo.
On the same occasion, a representative from the Department of Energy ‘Muso Raliselo said strategies were in place to promote the use of energy efficient technologies and alternative energy resources such as solar energy and wind energy.
“We have to look at whether industry as a whole uses energy efficient technologies for their operations and encourage them to use efficient technology in cases where they do not use it,” said Raliselo.
He said the public could contribute to reducing emissions, by using less energy through technologies such as energy efficient lighting bulbs, and insulating homes or offices.
“The other sector where interventions have taken place is the energy sector. The fuel used nowadays is cleaner as the lead has been removed while the sulphur content in diesel has been reduced,” he said.
A presentation by the Lesotho Meteorological Services also raised some interesting observations.
According to Joalane Marunye from the Lesotho Meteorological services the major contributor of emissions in Lesotho comes from land use activities such as destroying vegetation to create space for housing, followed by the energy sector with agricultural activities coming in third.

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