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Forestry and the environment: Nepal case study

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 09:10 AM
Contributors: Phillip Church

This USAID evaluation document examines USAID/Nepal's support of the Rapti Development Project (phases I and II) and the Resource Conservation and Utilization (RCU) Project for forest and watershed management on public lands, improvement of livestock management, and community-based reforestation and watershed management. From 1980-90, USAID invested approximately $77 million in these and five other NRM programs in support of farm-level research, extension, institution building, and training. RCU's integrated approach to conservation focused on protecting watersheds and complementing existing farming activities. This approach followed three strategies: 1) focus on problems within the immediate catchment of a river; 2) villages and farmers associations helped identify problems and organize farmers; and 3) simple, low-cost technologies were introduced to curb soil erosion and conserve water resources. The initial multisectoral project design of RCU was too complex to be effectively managed by AID/Nepal and GOM. The reorientation of projects to appropriate technologies and local capacity-building initiatives generated greater participation and success. USAID's long-term investments in the two projects and several years of collaboration with other donors enabled the mission to raise policy issues and advocate policy changes favoring local management and private enterprise in the forestry sector. The author suggests that low-cost, small-scale activities that can be undertaken and sustained with private and local initiatives to address specific problems in a watershed are key to successful implementation. Implementation of large-scale projects involving technologies that exceed the host country's capabilities is inappropriate. He insists that the process of devolving management of forestry resources should not stop at the level of local government authorities. Local communities and groups should be actively involved in planning and implementation. The author recommends that missions with limited resources should not start with institution-building or policy reform. Moreover, project-by-project approaches may not be cost-effective given the investment required in the design phase. Initial programs should focus on resource conservation activities that can be integrated into existing rural development programs. Drawing government attention to inadequacies in forestry development policy and long-term investment in integrating reforestation and CBNFM in development policy is critical and most effective under multi-donor collaboration.

Author(s): Phillip Church

Publication Date: 1995

Location: Nepal

Download File from Portal: PNABS509 Nepal.pdf — PDF document, 18 kB (19,126 bytes)

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