Gender and development People

Posted February 1999

Afghanistan | Bolivia, Burundi, Nepal, Pakistan, Tunisia | Costa Rica | Gambia | Honduras | Indonesia | Nepal | Namibia | Niger (1) | Niger (2) | Pakistan | Sikkim (India)

Good practices in gender mainstreaming and implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action

FAO Project sheet: Bolivia, Burundi, Nepal, Pakistan, Tunisia

Project title: "Inter-Regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation"
Project duration: 5 years (1992-1997)
Executing agency/agencies: FAO
Implementing or co-operating agency/agencies: Inter-regional (Bolivia, Burundi, Nepal, Pakistan, Tunisia)
Project cost: US $ 2,058,860 (Government of Italy)


"The Inter-Regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation" is funded by the Italian Government and executed through FAO. Its aim is to identify, through field-testing and documenting strategies, methods and techniques for the promotion and consolidation of people's participation in the conservation and development of upland watersheds. The project has taken inspiration from the 1992 Rio Conference UNCED Agenda 21, chapter 13, "Managing fragile ecosystems: sustainable mountain development".

Operational since 1992, "The Inter-Regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation" is currently in its third phase and includes four national field components in Asia (Nepal and Pakistan), Africa (Tunisia) and Latin America (Bolivia), assisted by a small Co-ordination Unit located at FAO Headquarters, in Rome. Direct links are also maintained with Burundi, where, after the completion of the project in 1997, the activities are on-going and consolidated on a larger scale through a new UNDP/FAO initiative.

This inter-regional project is designed to be a pilot, process-oriented, learning experience, focused on local capacity building, analysis and dissemination of lessons learned at the field-level and, following a bottom-up approach, aimed at offering policy advice. A participatory approach centred on promoting the empowerment of the rural population, through the formation of village-level associations be developed in all project sites.

The areas selected for field implementation are small (approximately 10,000 ha each). The budget for each field project is essentially limited to staff and human resource development, and provides methodological support. It also acts as a catalyst in mobilising local institutions, NGOs and other projects to convey external know-how.

The exchange of experience among national components, and their dissemination in the wide international development forum is ensured by the Co-ordination Unit.

Taking into account the variety of socio-cultural, economic and environmental situations among the different countries involved, the adaptation and application of participatory methods and the promotion of an integrated approach to watershed management within concerned partner institutions, are the central elements of this on-going experience.

Specific changes resulting from the project

What was planned

  • Refinement and institutionalisation of participatory development process aimed at a progressive, sustainable and integrated management of project areas within the participating countries.
  • Development and progressive institutionalisation of an improved concept of integrated participatory watershed management within the participating countries.
  • Information exchange and dissemination of approaches, methods and techniques on participatory and integrated management of mountain areas.

    What was the strategy

    Who was involved

    "The Inter-Regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation" is funded by the Italian Government and executed through FAO. Within FAO "The Inter-Regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation" is operated by the field Operations Division (TCO) and technically backstopped by the Forestry Department (FORC and FONP). This Department has the multidisciplinary technical background required to oversee the activities of the project. Government agencies, NGOs and professionals working in watershed management such as those involved in the Latin American Technical Co-operation Network on Watershed Management and the Asia and Pacific Regional Watershed Management network are also closely associated to the project.

    Replication/spin effects

    Based on the very positive results obtained by "The Inter-Regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation", the replication of the project in several other countries is under consideration.

    What was learned, factors contributing to success

    A participatory methodology was developed that centred on promoting the empowerement of rural women through the formation of women's associations at village level. Women's associations progressively became forums through which rural women had the opportunity to directly express their opinions and contribute to the decision making. The impact of this methodology reveals that the full participation of women is vital to the success of the project. Furthermore, this methodology centred on promoting the empowerement of rural women, stressed the importance of women's roles in natural and resource management, both as part of the project team and as active members of the communities.

    For more information, contact:
    Mr. Luca Fé d'Ostiani
    Co-ordinator, Inter-regional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation, GCP/INT/542/ITA
    Coordination Unit c/o TCOC, Room C-176
    Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy
    Tel: 00 3906 57055905; Fax: 00 3906 57053169

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