Country Profiles

Lesotho - Country Profile

Status and Trends of Biodiversity


Although less than 1% of the country is currently under protection, a few protected areas exist, which are the Sehlabathebe National Park, the Tsehlanyane National Park, the Bokong Nature Reserve and the Masitise Nature Reserve. Lesotho has listed the Letsa-la-Letsie wetland in the Quthing district as a wetland of international significance. This wetland is the source of the Quthing River, which is a major tributary of Senqu or the Orange River, one of the largest in southern Africa. The Maloti minnow, an endemic species of fish, can be found in selected highland rivers and is considered to be a good indicator of water quality. Rangelands present the biggest challenge to Lesotho and a serious loss to biodiversity. Lesotho is experiencing a high erosion rate as a result of poor range management practices.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

Lesotho mentions that many objectives related to the 2010 target are included in the NBSAP, notably in regard to invasive alien species. Efforts are under way to increase the protected area coverage through ongoing conservation programmes. In regard to specific work programmes, Lesotho intends, for example, to promote diversification of agriculture to help ensure food security. The promotion of sustainable use of natural resources has been integrated into national plans as well as some sectoral activities, notably forestry. Lesotho and South Africa established a transfrontier management project of biodiversity hot spots in the mountains. In addition, Lesotho intends to create a pollution control division and assess the likely causes of pollution in the country. The country is also committed to restoring degraded wetlands to enable them to perform their function of filtering and discharging clean water for down stream communities. Community participation in many aspects, such as forestry and ecotourism, constitutes another of the State’s commitments.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

The Government has taken measures to strengthen the capacity of indigenous and local communities and to enhance their involvement in decision-making processes, notably through assistance for the formation of interest groups such as Traditional Healers, Initiators, Herders and Artisans Associations. Also, the Environment Act 2001 and Environment policy have provisions that foster and promote effective participation of indigenous and local communities in decision-making processes. Assisted by the Department of Environment, the owners of traditional initiation schools undertake field studies to exchange experiences and learn other approaches to tackling current trends threatening indigenous knowledge. There is a provision of a 30% quota for women in local Government community development councils, which are in charge of all developmental issues including land management and conservation. There is a Department established specifically to address gender issues, with the priority of female participation in all structures of development.