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.



Assessment of the state and trends in the watershed

This chapter considers the methodological concepts and tools applied to assess the state of the watershed. It examines which actors were involved; what type of information was collected, at what level of detail and for what purpose; and how the results were presented for use during the subsequent steps of the project. Whether the objective of an intervention is to protect an undisturbed watershed from degradation or to restore an already degraded one, it is important to start by assessing and describing the current state and trends in the watershed. This baseline survey should include the biophysical features and resources in the watershed, the socio-economic conditions that determine the livelihoods of the watershed population and the institutions that operate in the watershed.


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