Open translate

Lesotho Environment - 2024


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Environment - current issues

population pressure forcing settlement in marginal areas results in overgrazing, severe soil erosion, and soil exhaustion; desertification; Highlands Water Project controls, stores, and redirects water to South Africa

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers

Land use

agricultural land: 76.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 10.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 65.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 1.5% (2018 est.)

other: 22.4% (2018 est.)


urban population: 30.4% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.77% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity:due to poor harvests and increased food prices - according to the latest national food security assessment, 22% of the rural population are expected to face acute food insecurity between October 2022 and March 2023, compared to 15% between July and September 2022; the forecasted proportion translates into 320,000 people in rural areas, while an additional 201,000 people in urban areas are foreseen to also need assistance; the foreseen increase of acute food insecurity levels is primarily due to the reduced harvest, high food prices in basic food and non‑food commodities and a slow recovery of households’ income reflecting a downturn in economic growth; harvesting of the 2022 main-season summer cereal crops, mostly maize and sorghum, is complete; production of maize, the main cereal staple, is about one‑third of the average, while the sorghum output is almost negligible; the poor harvest was primarily due to torrential rainfalls during January and February 2022, which caused localized flooding and resulted in crop losses (2022)

Revenue from forest resources

3.34% of GDP (2018 est.)

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 17.6 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 2.51 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 2.56 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 73,457 tons (2006 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Orange river source (shared with South Africa and Namibia [m]) - 2,092 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Orange (941,351 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 20 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 20 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 3.8 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

3.02 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Lesotho on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Lesotho 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Lesotho 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.