Support to the climate change response strategy, Kingdom of Lesotho

At a glance

2013-06-01 to 2017-10-01
Completed programmes
Min. of Finance and Development Planning, Lesotho Meteorological Services and Department of Energy (under the Min. of Natural Resources), Min. of Agriculture and Food Security, National University of Lesotho
Total budget
900,00 k€
GCCA priority area(s)

Lesotho experiences frequent droughts that result in poor harvests and large livestock losses. Heavy snowfalls, strong winds and floods also affect the country, entailing adverse social impacts. Lesotho's high vulnerability to climate risks, which are likely to be exacerbated by climate change, and its limited adaptive capacity, pose a direct threat to sectors such as agriculture, forestry and infrastructure.


The objectives of the Lesotho National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2012-2016 require development goals to be delivered in a climate resilient manner. Taking action in relation to environment and climate change is one of its five strategic axes. Concerns with regard to climate change notably relate to its potential impacts on agriculture, water availability, soil erosion, mountain livelihoods, biodiversity and disaster risks.

Climate adaptation measures are implemented across government and do not fall under one sector. As the general conditions for the existing general budget support programme were being fulfilled, budget support was an appropriate modality for the GCCA intervention.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Country groups
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
4,000,000.00 €

Overall objective

Contribute to Lesotho’s efforts to address poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

Specific objective

Contribute to setting up the policy and institutional framework required to reverse environmental degradation through the finalisation of a national climate change policy and strategy and a national sustainable energy strategy, and to support their implementation.


Policy dialogue takes place on the implementation of the National Strategic Development Plan in relation to climate change. A greater consistency between government policies and climate change policy-making is achieved through mainstreaming climate change into the National Strategic Development Plan, with a focus on agriculture and food security. Energy security (defined in terms of access, efficiency and use of renewable energies) is ensured in support of climate change adaptation and mitigation.


GCCA+ Support to Lesotho's climate change strategy consistes of two component; the fixed tranches and a complementary support through a service contract.

Budget support is provided in the form of two fixed tranches. The disbursement of the first tranche is linked to completion of the "zero draft" of the implementation strategy for environment and climate change and the related public sector investment programme, and their endorsement by Cabinet; holding the first meeting of the 'sector' coordination group and nominating a working group to draft terms of reference for this coordination group; and finalising terms of reference for technical assistance to assist the government in the development of a national policy on climate change.

The disbursement of the second tranche is linked to the preparation of a national climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy and a national renewable energy strategy, including estimates of their implementation costs; it is also expected that the climate change and environment coordination group meets regularly; and that a climate change and environment monitoring and evaluation framework is in place.

The National Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy is notably expected to involve improving soil and nutrient management, water harvesting and retention, water use efficiency, and the management of eroded lands and wetlands. Planned actions in support of agricultural adaptation and increased food security also may include improving genetic resources to adapt livestock and crops to more extreme climate conditions; and improving harvesting techniques, processing and supply chains to reduce post-harvest losses. In addition, the early warning and disaster preparedness system on climate change and food security should be upgraded.

Planned activities also include the development of the National Renewable Energy Strategy in the context of the National Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Policy and the National Strategic Development Plan, with a view to meeting the main needs (including lighting, cooking heating and community needs). The strategy aims to improve access to sustainable sources of clean, reliable and affordable energy through the extension of rural electrification, improved equity in access to energy and the development of renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power, biomass energy and small-scale hydropower.

Complementary support through capacity building is also planned for government and non-state actors. Technical assistance is designed to help develop the new strategies, and to support the strengthening of sector-level coordination and the monitoring and evaluation of policy and strategy implementation.

Achievements to date

The Government has been working towards meeting the set of special conditions for Budget Support. The first tranche has been distributed. However the country did not meet all the conditions for the second tranche to be disbursed resulting to EUR 3 280 250 de-commitment.

The complementary support through capacity building was implemented from April 2016 to October 2017.

GCCA+ project achieved the following results:

  • Fourteen meetings of the National Climate Change Committee took place. Terms of reference for this body were adopted, and the NCCC met in addition numerous stakeholder consultation meetings, among others, preparing for the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Indicative Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
  • The GCCA+ programme supported Lesotho in defining a Climate Change Response Strategy and a national Sustainable Energy Strategy. Support was also given in the definition of institutional frameworks to support implementation of these policies and strategies.
  • The programme had been in June 2014 part of the 2nd GCCA study - review and analysis of EU (and GCCA) experience, best practices and lessons learned in the field of environment and climate change.
  • The team completed subsequently in October 2017 the following documents:
    • Lesotho National Climate Change Policy 2017-2027 (LNCCP);
    • National Climate Change Policy Implementation Strategy (CCPIS, including action plan);
    • National Sustainable Energy Strategy (including action plan);
    • LNCCP and SES capacity assessment and capacity development plan for Lesotho Meteorological Services and Department of Energy;
    • M&E Framework for the NCC Policy, Implementation Strategy and Action Plan;
    • Activity report on costing of all plans;
  • The Lesotho National Climate Change Policy was approved by Cabinet of the Government of Lesotho on 12th December 2017.

Challenges and lessons learned

The lessons which can be drawn from the design of the Support to the Climate Change Response Strategy are the following:

  • Budget Support modality has provided a useful entry point to support climate change policy making process with a specific focus on inter-ministerial coordination mechanism, adoption and budgeting of a climate change strategy, and development of credible monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system. The choice of a general budget support programme (GGDC) was consistent with the objective to promote climate change mainstreaming into an existing national development and poverty reduction strategy;
  • The high level of institutional fragmentation that characterises Lesotho with regards to responsibilities for climate change policy makes the inter-ministerial coordination a valuable but challenging process that requires strong political commitment and leadership to ensure sustainable impact of the BS Programme;
  • Delays in the tendering procedures for the Technical Assistance highlighted the difficulty of an appropriate sequencing of TA with the provision of Budget Support programmes. In the case of Lesotho, this advocates for a more detailed identification of planned capacity development activities and a better anticipation of procurement procedures during the formulation stage;
  • With climate change being a new area of EU intervention in Lesotho the Budget Support programme has been conceived as a first step to assist the national authorities in setting up/strengthening the required climate change related institutional and policy framework
  • More structured exchange between African countries with similar challenges with regard to Climate Change is seen as desirable and useful.