Watershed Management in Action

Lessons Learned from FAO Field Projects

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This study reviewed the achievements, and also the shortcomings, of 12 watershed management projects technically supported by FAO over the past decade, with a view to learning from experience. Unlike sectoral development approaches, watershed management involves examining the interactions among various natural processes and land uses and managing land, water and the wider ecosystem of the watershed in an integrated way. Watershed management is best carried out as a stepwise multistakeholder process. The review identified a sequence of steps that watershed management projects or programmes should ideally follow. The approach has demonstrated its effectiveness for responding to global challenges of water supply, land restoration, climate change adaptation, disaster risk management and fighting hunger. To meet these challenges, the next generation of watershed management projects and programmes must be implemented over longer time frames, and they require sustained and coordinated investment from the public and private sectors. The review identified the following areas for moving forward: institutional strengthening for improved watershed governance; watershed monitoring; capitalizing on increased data availability; knowledge sharing and learning; and strategic partnerships for joint action on the ground.




This publication was prepared by Petra Wolter under the overall guidance and technical supervision of Thomas Hofer, Team Leader, Water and Mountains, in the FAO Forestry Department. The report benefited greatly from the technical contributions of Luca Fè d’Ostiani and the supporting work of Tomás Gonzáles Ginestet and Robert Nylander. A number of other FAO experts across technical departments and regions reviewed drafts of the report and provided technical inputs throughout the preparation process: Samantha Abear, Nabil Assaf, Faizul Bari, Paul Boettcher, Turi Fileccia, Johanna Flores, Simon Funge-Smith, Viorel Gutu, Li He, Fawzi Karajeh, Andrey Kushlin, Damiano Luchetti, Jorge Meza, Hivy Ortiz Chour, Catrin Promper, Marlos de Souza, Elaine Springgay and Ekrem Yazici.


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