This climate risk profile is intended to serve as a public goods to facilitate upstream country diagnostics, policy dialogue, and strategic planning by providing comprehensive overviews of trends and projected changes in key climate parameters, sector-specific implications, relevant policies and programs, adaptation priorities and opportunities for further actions. Lesotho is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa, surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. Lesotho’s topography and location influences its temperate climate, characterized with alpine characteristics. This increases the country’s vulnerability to climate variability and long-term climate change. Lesotho submitted its Second National Communication in 2013 and its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2017. The NDC outlines the country’s efforts to realize its development goals and increase its adaptive capacity to climate change. Lesotho is focused on implementing adaption mechanisms to improve and diversify livelihoods in view of current and future climate risks.
Lesotho has fragile ecosystems because of its topography, type and pattern of rainfall, erodibility of soils, land use patterns and other habitats such as bogs and sponges. Increased temperatures are expected for the region, mean monthly temperature changes expected to increase by more than 2.0°C for the 2050s and by 4.4°C by end of the century, under a high-emission scenario. Temperature increases are expected throughout the country, although slightly lower degrees of temperature increases are expected to occur in the mountain zones. Water resources are likely to be increasingly strained across Lesotho as well as across southern Africa; warmer temperatures are expected to accelerate the rate of evapotranspiration for the country. With more frequent and severe droughts, the region will likely experience negative impacts on water supply and agriculture. A potentially simultaneous increase in flooding events poses a serious water pollution threat, affecting health of wetland ecosystems and agriculture and livestock communities.