Watershed management and mountains
Project to assist the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority and its partners in restoring livelihoods in the earthquake-affected areas of Pakistan
Project symbol: OSRO/PAK/701/SWE
On 8 October 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck parts of Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir (PAK) in the northeast of Pakistan. In total, some 3 to 4 million people were affected, and the estimated death toll exceeds 80 000. An FAO damage assessment survey in November 2006 estimated the total cost of damage and losses in the agricultural and livestock sectors at US$409 million: US$279 million in PAK and US$130 million in NWFP. The earthquake also had major impacts on the delivery of support services to rural populations and triggered an outmigration that seriously affected the social cohesion of villages.
Photo © Paolo Ceci/ FAO
In addition, the earthquake magnified the impact of environmental degradation, causing significant land destabilization and damage to the natural capital assets of rural people. Seismic shifts resulted in several major landslides and thousands of minor landslips, affecting about 10 percent of hillside arable land, forests and rangelands. Many natural springs feeding irrigation and rural water supply schemes dried up as a result of these landslides and landslips. In downstream areas, major water channels, roads and paths were blocked by rocks and debris thrown down by the earthquake. Flash floods and mudslides destroyed agricultural land and fruit tree plantations, and altered runoff routes on hillsides and in valley lowlands.
A massive relief effort was mounted. The Government of Pakistan initiated action on many fronts, including establishing the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA), providing relief goods and shelter, and clearing roads blocked by landslides. Recognizing the need to prepare a comprehensive damage and needs assessment as the basis for planning future interventions in the agriculture and livestock sectors, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL) requested FAO’s support to complement its own capacity with lessons learned from similar assessments in other countries.
Early on in the process, FAO supported the development of a livelihood component for ERRA’s post-emergency rehabilitation plan. Following initial appraisal and negotiations, this livelihood rehabilitation strategy was presented to the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), which agreed to support its implementation within the framework of project OSRO/PAK/701/SWE. This intersectoral initiative had a three-fold focus on local livelihoods improvement/diversification, institutional capacity building, and control of hydrogeological hazards through collaborative watershed management at the village level. The project was implemented by ERRA in collaboration with FAO, jointly backstopped by the Agriculture Department, for livelihood improvement/diversification and capacity building activities, and the Forestry Department, for collaborative watershed management activities. The project started in March 2007 and after an extension with no budget increase, this project finished in June 2011. Its total budget was US$ 6 491 712.
Photo © GothPhil / Flickr
The overall objective of project OSRO/PAK/607/SWE was to contribute significantly to ERRA’s livelihoods rehabilitation programme in the earthquake-affected areas of PAK and NWFP. Its anticipated impact is a reduction in the long-term vulnerability of the rural population affected by the October 2005 earthquake, through enhancing coordination among the implementing partners of ERRA’s livelihood rehabilitation strategy, improving access to rural support services, and establishing collaborative watershed management processes. The effectiveness and impact of the project was enhanced by integration with a project funded by the European Community (EC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and operated by FAO in the earthquake areas, and with a third project supported by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Strengthening the capacity of ERRA and its partners to implement the livelihoods rehabilitation strategy had three medium-term outcomes of: (i) at least restoring the livelihoods of earthquake-affected people to pre-earthquake levels, through a community-based development approach that is gender-sensitive and environmentally friendly; (ii) sustaining the implementing partners’ rural support services beyond the three-year lifetime of ERRA; (iii) and demonstrating how a collaborative watershed management approach can protect the environment and strengthen households’ natural capital assets in steeply sloping areas, where livelihoods have been seriously affected by soil erosion following decades of deforestation and overgrazing , as well as the landslides and landslips caused by the October 2005 earthquake.