Climate change is affecting Lesotho in several ways: a delayed rainy season, provoking severe droughts and drinking water shortages; heat waves; dry spells during the harvesting season, reducing food production; and heavy and erratic frost – all resulting in high vulnerability for households. Sectors reported as vulnerable to the projected impacts of climate change include agriculture, forestry, health, culture and historical heritage.
Lesotho recognizes climate change as a serious threat to the country’s development plan and to the future of both its livelihoods and one of its main sources of revenue: water. In fact, the Lesotho 2013 Second National Communication to the Conference of Parties notes that projected scenarios suggest that reduced precipitation for the southern parts of the country, coupled with increased temperatures, will adversely affect water resources and agriculture, in particular. The projected reduction in the growing season due to delayed onset of rains will also adversely affect rangelands and livestock production – with a corresponding negative impact on livelihoods reliant on wool and mohair.
The Lesotho Meteorological Service, the country’s national designated authority, cited weak financing for climate change initiatives in the country since climate change is not integrated into national budgeting and as a result of the absence of climate change policy and strategy. Most of the ongoing climate change interventions are donor funded. The Lesotho Meteorological Service highlighted the need to put in place necessary mechanisms to facilitate direct access to international climate funds to promote resilience across all sectors – and, in particular, at the community level.
The demand for decentralization and resources to act on vulnerability at the community level has led the government to publish a devolution policy to empower both district and community councils to plan and manage their development.
Climate change adaptation falls within the core mandate of community councils, along with land use planning, natural resource management and infrastructure development. Climate change adaptation requires effective coordination of various stakeholders. As a gateway for development facilitation at the local level as well as custodians of all development, community councils are strategically positioned to fulfil this coordination role. However, community councils seldom have sufficient resources to execute these functions.
Objectives, results and activities
The overall outcome of LoCAL-Lesotho is to improve the climate change resilience of the communities in the selected councils as a result of climate change adaptation activities funded through the performance-based climate resilience grant (PBCRG) and capacity development support.
By promoting climate change–resilient communities and economies via increasing financing for and investment in climate change adaptation at the local level, LoCAL-Lesotho will directly contribute to one of the country’s development plan pillars – reversing environmental degradation and adapting to climate change. The objectives for LoCAL-Lesotho are as follows:
Four outputs are envisaged to achieve these objectives: (i) inclusive and accountable climate change adaptation is mainstreamed into local council planning; (ii) government, local authority and population awareness of and capacities in adaptation and resilience planning are improved; (iii) an effective PBCRG finance mechanism is established and operational in Lesotho, providing additional funding to targeted community councils; and (iv) experience and lessons learned are consolidated and shared.
Adaptation measures and investments
The first cycle of planning, budgeting and funds transfer will take place over the course of 2018. Implementation of identified investments captured in the community councils’ approved annual workplans is expected to commence as of the second half of 2018.
Population: 1,88 million
Number of Administrative divisions: 10 districts are divided into 80 constituencies, which consist of 129 local community councils. Each district has a capital (map)
Phase I: 2017-2020: USD 214,000
Lead government partners:
Lesotho Meteorological Services, Department of Water Affairs, Accountant General Office, Office of the Auditor General, District and Community Councils
LoCAL donors and in-country development partners: AfDB, GIZ, UNDP, WFP, EU
View our photos from Lesotho
Government of Lesotho:
Director of Planning, MoLGC
Ms. Lineo Ramone
Chief Economic Planner, MOLGC
Regional Technical Advisor, UNCDF RTA in charge of Lesotho
Mrs. Sophie De Coninck
LoCAL Project Manager (Africa)
LoCAL Programme Manager