Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Multidisciplinary team on water management for smallholder farming and rural livelihoods

Team leader :   Zhijun Chen

The Asia-Pacific region is vulnerable to water-related disasters, especially draughts and floods.  In recent years this situation has been further compounded by water scarcity, water degradation and extreme weather events induced by population growth, economic development and adverse impacts of climate change in recent years. Water constraints are the root cause of food insecurity and poverty to many smallholder farmers, especially those living in fragile ecosystem areas. Actions are urgently needed to improve their water management and utilization.

Unblocking water constraints for smallholder farmers requires a comprehensive strategy, an integrated approach and multidisciplinary cooperation to combine policy, institutional, technical and financing options to deploy suitable water interventions for different agro-ecosystems and social economic conditions. Some good practices identified in this region deserve special attention, including water harvesting and storage, farm ponds, tube wells, irrigation and drainage improvement, and agriculture water management.

The multidisciplinary team on water for smallholder farming and rural livelihoods is working on: mapping and describing major livelihood-zones in the region; analyzing water constraints to each of the livelihood-zones; identifying suitable water interventions for different livelihood-zones; proposing suitable options and investment frameworks at regional and national levels; and facilitating their mainstreaming and implementation, through the implementation of regional studies and field programmes/projects.