Watershed management and mountains
The Interregional Project for Poverty Alleviation and Combating Desertification through Collaborative Watershed Management is named for the three micro-watersheds where the project is implemented:
OuedOUTAT in Morocco,
Oued BARBARA in Mauritania and
Río MEMBRILLO in Ecuador
All three are already suffering from or are at risk of desertification. As a result of this process, local people are losing their natural capital assets and their living conditions are deteriorating.
The OUBAME project started in June 2010 and is supported by FAO’s Trust Fund Programme with the Government of Spain. The two-year pilot phase of the project aims to assess the feasibility of decreasing the negative impact of desertification on people’s livelihoods, by applying a collaborative and integrated approach to watershed management.
In particular, the OUBAME project seeks to identify ways to break the vicious circle of desertification and land degradation on the one hand, and poverty and food insecurity on the other, by merging indigenous and scientific knowledge and technology; raising awareness of upstream/downstream watershed linkages; building the capacity to deal with watershed management issues among local institutions and technical services; and mobilizing political and financial support at national and regional level. At each pilot site, the project is analysing hydrological, forestry and agro-ecological conditions and carrying out livelihoods and local needs assessments.
The project supports local interest groups in identifying their natural resource problems, systematizing related local knowledge, consulting with technical experts and implementing viable solutions for these problems. This hands-on learning process is expected to lead to tangible and visible interventions such as for example gully control, forestry and agroforestry activities, soil and water conservation and protection of riparian vegetation. The findings and experiences from these activities are disseminated by means of local media, in order to create a critical mass of concerned watershed stakeholders.
Cost-effectiveness analysis will also be carried out by the end of the project, to provide decision-makers with evidence of the advantages of investing in watershed management. Finally, a comprehensive and participatory watershed management plan will be designed at each project site for implementation in a possible second project phase.