Lesotho Environment - 2021


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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

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 27.78 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 2.51 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 2.56 megatons (2020 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 20 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 20 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 3.8 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

3.022 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


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.)

Revenue from forest resources

forest revenues: 3.34% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 127


urban population: 29.5% of total population (2021)

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

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity:

due to localized shortfalls in production and loss of income-generating activities -  a slow economic recovery in 2021 will continue to impose constraints on households’ incomes, impinging on their economic capacity to access food; overall, the number of food insecure people is expected to decline from the estimated 582,000 that faced acute food insecurity in the October 2020−March 2021 period; the possibility of a third wave of COVID‑19 cases in the country and neighboring South Africa, increases the risk for the enforcement of new containment measures, which could prolong the high levels of unemployment and cause further income losses among the most vulnerable households


Waste and recycling

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

NOTE: The information regarding Lesotho on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Lesotho 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Lesotho 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.