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UN, NUL sign ‘letter of intent’



Rose Moremoholo


THE United Nations and the National University of Lesotho (NUL) last Thursday signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to pave way for collaboration in science and technology to achieve Lesotho’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The signing was done at the Lesotho–United Nations High-Level Roundtable held last week.

The purpose of the round-table was to help Lesotho achieve its developmental goals.

The cooperation between the university and the UN will include the writing of policies, research and analysis, capacity building and development, advocacy and knowledge sharing.

With the adoption of the SDGs, the global development and governance agenda will usher in a new era of growth and cooperation.

Karla Hershey, UN Resident Coordinator in Lesotho, said “the SDGs have the ambitious goal to guide a sustainable development of the planet, embracing its economic, social and environmental dimensions in a balanced way to spearhead societies towards a sustainable and equitable future”.

The objective of the joint partnership is to produce evidence and insights into what practicable actions can produce institutional changes that reduce inequalities, promote social inclusion, improve economic outcomes and accelerate economic growth and human development in Lesotho.

’Manthoto Lephoto, the NUL Pro-Vice Chancellor, said the role of the university is to advance human development and answer to the national needs.

“We have a mandate to positively contribute to the Lesotho agenda through the implementation of SDGs,” Lephoto said.

Lephoto thanked the UN for the opportunity of being part of the strategic partners in academia.

Professor Hubert Gijzen, the UNESCO Region Director for Southern Africa, appreciated the efforts and platform that the university has given itself in playing a role in developing the national strategic plans and SDGs.

“It is the role of academia to see that the implementation of SDGs is possible,” Gijzen said.

“NUL has a long history and has played a long role in academics of higher learning in the past and they are an asset to the SDGs implementations for this country,” he said.

Gijzen said the partnership between the UN and NUL should be strong since times are changing and global agendas and universities will change and they need strong relationships and partnerships that need to be sustainable if they are to be effective.

“The success of the SDGs depends on a high level human resource because the world is going to need a lot of engineers and technicians in the water sector,” Gijzen said.

He further indicated that Lesotho spends at least 3 percent in GDP on research and there is more that needs to be done to promote research.

“NUL is going to manage the complexities, science policies and policies for science need to be drawn up,” he said.

Gijzen stressed the need for quality education saying that “if universities and academia are not about quality they are unproductive”.

He said “76 universities have come together to work on water systems where there are high quality research programmes and UNESCO has encouraged the NUL to become part of the Waternet network”.

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