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PROJECT OVERVIEW 

     

The PUCD project originated from growing interest in the sustainable development of upland and mountain areas that resulted from the discussions and actions related to Chapter 13 of UNCED's Agenda 21 ("Sustainable Mountain Development") and its follow-up (the "Mountain Forum"). 

The project consisted of three phases. The first phase (1992-1994) was conducted in Bolivia, Burundi, Nepal, Pakistan and Rwanda; the second phase (1995-1997) covered all first-phase countries, except for Rwanda, which, due to prevailing security conditions, was replaced by a new field component in Tunisia; the third phase (1998-2000) has been conducted in Bolivia, Nepal and Tunisia (the three countries with the greatest potential for effectively institutionalising the project approach and experience). PUCD experience in Burundi is being continued and expanded through UNDP and will probably be funded also by IFAD. In Pakistan, the PUCD project terminated in October 1999; however, the experience is expected to continue through CIDA and UNDP funding. 

The overall objective of the PUCD project has been to promote participatory and integrated watershed management (PIWM) as a means of ensuring the sustainable development of upland and mountain areas. Its immediate objectives were: 

  • to start-up and consolidate a cluster of PIWM pilot field experiences in specific upland areas of Bolivia, Burundi, Nepal, Pakistan and Tunisia;

  • to progressively incorporate lessons learned through these field experiences into decentralised local planning systems and into national policies for rural development and natural resource conservation; and

  • to disseminate at the global level information on the methods, techniques and tools validated by field experience, through technical publications, training and communication materials. 

The project was conceived as a pilot, process-oriented initiative aimed at extracting methodological lessons on integrated and participatory watershed management from practical experience. At the field level, management has been, to the greatest extent possible, based on the principles of action-learning. Within the framework of a flexible project document, yearly workplans for each of the five national field components have been prepared through participatory assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation and re-planning exercises, which have involved a variety of local stakeholders (i.e. communities, grassroots organizations, government line-agencies, local authorities, NGOs and other development agencies). The role of each National Field Team (NFT) has essentially been to facilitate this process and to ensure that lessons learned could also be applied outside project areas. The small budget available for directly supporting field activities (ranging from 50,000 to 80,000 US$ annually for each field component), has mainly been used to catalyse the mobilisation of local resources (including local materials and labour from the communities and regular programme resources from concerned line-agencies), NGOs or other national and international projects and programmes. 

Due to the diversity of the environmental, socio-economic, and institutional settings in which the project has been implemented, each national field component has been autonomously managed by the NFT. The interregional nature of the project was meant to validate, on a comparative basis, the PIWM approach. To this end, and to harmonise action, a small Coordination Unit (currently based at FAO Headquarters in Rome) has promoted exchanges among field teams, links with FAO technical units, and networking with other projects, concerned international organisations and NGOs. 

In addition to the specific results to be produced in the field, each national field component has been expected to contribute to developing and validating a methodological itinerary for PIWM, which during the first phase and the first half of the second phase mainly focused on fieldwork at the grassroots level, including:

  • identifying and testing methods, techniques and tools for participatory action-research and decision-making that allow local people to better analyse their environmental and social situation and to prepare yearly workplans to be implemented in partnership with the project and/or other concerned local institutions;

  • developing a comprehensive and participatory implementation strategy covering the wide range of development and conservation issues identified through participatory planning exercises; and

  • establishing a participatory process for project monitoring, evaluation and re-planning that allows participants to draw lessons from the project's implementation and to apply them to further decision-making.

During the last year of the second phase and during the third phase, the PUCD project's strategy has been expanded to promote the collaborative dimension of PIWM (i.e. to facilitate the development of legally acknowledged partnership schemes among local communities, NGOs and institutions). This has entailed scaling-up the focus of project activities from the community level to an intermediate administrative level (i.e. district, province, municipality) and to national-level policy-making. This shift was deemed necessary to ensure the continuity of project experience after withdrawal of international support. This has included:

  • identifying and testing measures that would enable local institutions to continue providing effective support to the local participatory development process;

  • promoting, within decentralised local planning systems, forums for discussion and decision-making that would facilitate the coordination of initiatives for natural resource management and development undertaken by local communities and institutions at the entire sub-watershed level (and/or district/municipality level); and

  • assisting in the progressive incorporation of the PIWM approach into national policies and legislation.
     

Home Project
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