Lesotho is a small and landlocked country with a surface area of 30,355km2. It has a population of 1.88 million (BoS, 2006). It is inhabited by an almost homogeneous ethnic grouping, is divided into ten administrative districts, one city council and four agro-ecological zones (refer to figure 1.1). These are namely: the Lowlands (17%); the Foothills (15%); the Mountains (59%); and the Senqu River Valley (9%) (LMS, 2013). Population distribution by ecological zone is such that 56.7% of Basotho live in the lowlands, 12.8% in the foothills while the Senqu river valley and highlands collectively host 30.5% (NSDP, 2012).
Lesotho is largely a grassland biome, with land use classified into the following major categories, disaggregated by a percentage of use share (e.g. by type of land cover): Agriculture (currently less than 10% arable land); Forestry & other wooded land (currently Less than 5% forest cover); Rangelands (64.5% by the year 1988); area under Built up and related land (3.6% - 1988); area under Conservation & Protected Areas e.g. national parks, nature reserves etc. (0.46% - World Resources Institute, 2006); Water bodies and areas under water (1.1% - 1988). In view of this, the National Range Resources Management Policy (2014) alludes to the fact that deterioration of Lesotho’s ecological infrastructure is a major concern and that it is occurring at an alarming rate. This seriously threatens ecosystem services on which the livelihoods of many Basotho depend.
Climate change is impacting Lesotho in several ways: delayed raining season provoking severe droughts and drinking water shortages, heat waves, dry spells during the cropping season reducing food production, heavy and erratic frost, compounding the already dire situation, and resulting in high vulnerability for households. Other key sectors that are reported to be equally vulnerable to the projected impacts of climate change include the forestry sector, health, culture and historical heritage.
Lesotho recognizes that climate change is a serious threat to the country’s developmental plan and to the future of both its livelihoods and one of its main sources of revenue ‘water’. In fact, the Lesotho Second National Communication to the Conference of Parties (LMS, 2013) confirms that the projected scenarios suggest reduced precipitation for the southern parts of Lesotho, and coupled with increased temperatures, shall adversely affect water resources and agriculture, in particular. The projected reduction in growing season due to delayed onset of rains will also adversely affect rangelands and livestock production. This will therefore impact negatively on the livelihoods of many Basotho (wool and mohair) who depend on the condition of natural resources (rangelands).
The Lesotho Meteorological Service (LMS), the country’s National Designated Authority, pointed to a 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 on-going climate change interventions are donor funded. LMS therefore highlighted a 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 decentralisation and resources to act on vulnerability at community level has led the government to publish a devolution policy to empower councils, both districts and community, to plan and manage their development. Working with Community Councils, the closest local government to communities, is the means to reach out communities and make use of the basic planning and financing mechanism already in place to support adaptation and communities’ resilience to climate change.
Climate change adaptation falls within the core mandate of Community Councils: Land Use Planning, Natural Resources Management, Infrastructure developments, etc. Climate change adaptation requires effective coordination of various stakeholders and Community Councils are gateways for development facilitation at the local level as well as custodians of all developments, therefore are strategically positioned to fulfill the coordination role. Despite all the above reasons, Community Councils seldom have the 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 Grants (PBCRG) and Capacity Development (CD) support.
By promoting climate change resilient communities and economies via increasing financing for and investment in Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) at the local level, LoCAL-Lesotho will provide a direct contribution to one of Lesotho’s Development Plan pillars – Reversing environmental degradation and adapting to climate change.
The objectives for LoCAL-Lesotho are as follows:
Four outputs will contribute to the achievement of these objectives:
The PBCRG system has been successfully designed and is fully aligned with the Deepening Decentralisation Programme (DDP) which has established the Local Development Grant to support the enhancement of community councils’ capacity through a combination of performance-based capital grants, capacity development support and incentives for improved performance, as well as to ensure community participation in public planning.
The Government of Lesotho and UNCDF have defined the modalities for LoCAL-Lesotho, including funding arrangements, eligibility and minimum conditions of access, allocation criteria, and funding flow and reporting. The institutional framework and the roles of the parties have also been defined. These modalities are described in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which provides the framework for LoCAL-Lesotho and was signed in October 2017. This MoU established financing and management of the Local Climate Adaptive Living (LoCAL) facility.
LoCAL will call on the Participatory Initiative for Social Accountability (PISA) to serve as the dialogue broker, ensuring that participation of the population and the vulnerable ones is fair, contributes to the needs assessment, planning of adaptation activities and monitoring of their implementation.
The district of Mohale's Hoek, and four (4) community councils within this district were selected to pilot the approach in Lesotho: Khoelenya, Lithipeng, Qhoasing and Senqunyane.
A launch workshop is expected to take place in the first half of 2018 for the establishment of M&E database on LoCAL-Lesotho, fine-tune baseline indicators and elaborate workplans with pilot District and associated Community Councils. A training workshop is also expected to take place in March 2018 with the participation of various stakeholders of LoCAL-Lesotho to test the Assessing Climate Change Adaptation Framework (ACCAF). ACCAD is a guiding framework to incorporate climate change adaptation monitoring and evaluation into LoCAL.
Adaptation measures and investments
The first cycle of planning, budgeting and transfer of funds will take place over the course of 2018. Implementation of identified investments captured in the community council’s approved annual work-plans 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