Issue 1 November/December 2004
In this issue
strategy for the Asia and the Pacific Region
Millennium Development Goals guide IFADs work, as reflected in its strategic framework for
2002-2006. The frameworks strategic objectives for Asia
and the Pacific are:
- changing unequal gender
relations to increase womens ownership and control of assets
and their effective participation in community management
- enhancing the productivity
of staple foods in less favoured areas
- reforming property and
tenure rights of marginalized minorities and indigenous peoples
- expanding the capabilities
of the poor and vulnerable through greater access to self-help, local
accumulation, new skills and technologies
Back to top
highlights: Leases on degraded forests help reduce poverty in Nepal
Leasehold Forestry and Forage Development Project was
launched by the Government of Nepal in 1989. Its goal was to reduce poverty
and restore degraded environments in the Middle Hills by leasing small
blocks of degraded, public forest land exclusively to the poorest rural
households for 40 years. The long-term lease provides poor people with
long-term security of tenure and the incentive to regenerate, protect and
manage degraded forest areas under their use, while offering them benefits.
The US$ 20.4 million project was financed by an IFAD loan of US$ 12.8
million, a US$ 3.4 million grant from the Government of The Netherlands,
and contributions of US$ 2.7 million from the Government of Nepal and US$
1.5 million from project participants. When the project ended in 2003, a
total of 7,457 hectares of degraded forest land had been handed over to
12,028 poorest rural households for regeneration.
Back to top
evaluation mission in 2003 and impact studies by the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) found that the
leasehold forestry project has contributed considerably to improving the
livelihoods of rural poor people, especially women, and to improving the
condition of degraded forests.
There has been significant impact in the following areas:
- Annual household income
increased from leasehold-forest sources.
- Increased income translated
into greater food security and improved diet for children.
- The number of goats in leasehold
- Availability of animal feed
and forage self-sufficiency increased significantly.
- After five years, women
spent fewer hours collecting forage and firewood.
- Womens self esteem
and confidence rose because they had more time for income-earning
activities and to attend meetings, training and literacy classes.
- School attendance
increased, because there was less need for children to herd grazing
- Environmental degradation
reversed at most sites.
- Biodiversity increased significantly.
The projects impact on poverty was also highlighted in a case
study presented at the May 2004 conference in Shanghai,
China, on Scaling
Up Poverty Reduction: A Global Learning Process.
Back to top
Learning and innovation
project took a genuinely new approach to pro-poor forestry in Nepal
. It was particularly innovative in these areas:
- It was one of the first
forestry and livestock projects in Nepal to focus exclusively on
- There was a strong
partnership between the Department of Forests and the Department of
Livestock Services, which enabled forestry and livestock activities to
- Systematic gender and
development training for project staff and participants focused on
both men and women. This gender approach was presented as a
best practice at the 12th World
Forestry Congress held in Quebec in September 2003
Once the leasehold forestry approach was successfully piloted and its
impact proven, the Government scaled up the approach from the initial ten
districts to 27 priority districts in the hills of Nepal
It has also been found that leasehold forestry can be complementary to Nepal
s well-established and successful community forestry programme. The
programme now addresses specific poverty dimensions, such as allocation of
land to the poorest members of community-forestry user groups.
One of the most important aspects of ensuring successful innovation is
the incorporation of learning and experimentation. Some of the most
important changes in design as a result of learning and experimentation
during project implementation included the following:
- There was a shift in focus
from credit access to land access.
- The formation of informal
organizations of user groups, called inter-groups, as
well as cooperatives to provide services in areas such as microfinance
and marketing, enabled leasehold members to resist expropriation of
resources by local elites. This was important, because local power
structures can be challenged when secure land tenure is granted to
poor groups, and this can result in conflict.
- Women group promoters were
recruited to network and mobilize people to become involved in user
groups, and to support and train leasehold forestry groups. Funds were
directed to capacity-building of inter-groups and cooperatives. ( The
need for capacity-building and networking had been underestimated in
the original project design.)
- The regenerative capacity
of the natural vegetation, underestimated in the original project
design, reduced dependency on the planting of trees, legumes and
grasses to regenerate the productivity of leasehold sites.
Back to top
result of the project's impressive impact on poverty, the Government adopted
a Leasehold Forest Policy in 2002. Leasehold forestry was identified by the
Government as a priority programme in the Poverty-Reduction Strategy Paper
(PRSP)/10th Plan 2002-2007. The PRSP noted, Given its high success,
the leasehold programmes would be further expanded.
In 2002, the Government began expanding leasehold forestry into a
national poverty programme using its own resources. To assist the
Government in implementing this national programme, IFAD has designed a
follow-up to the Hills Leasehold Forestry and Forage Development Project.
The Leasehold Forestry and Livestock Programme will be submitted to IFAD's
Executive Board for approval in December 2004. To ensure enhanced
coordination and harmonization of forest programmes in Nepal
, the Government is supporting the establishment of district forest
coordination committees. This should allow community forestry and leasehold
forestry to be mutually supportive programmes at the district level.
Partnership building in Central Asia
Through its country programme
development in central Asia , IFAD is involved in
the multi-donor Strategic Partnership Agreement for the Implementation of
the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in central Asia
. The partnership includes the following agencies:
- Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA)
- Global Mechanism of the
Convention to Combat Desertification (GM)
- German Agency for Technical
- Swiss Agency for
Development and Cooperation (SDC)
- Asian Development Bank
- International Center for Agricultural Research
in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
The Central Asian Countries Initiative on Sustainable Land Management
(CACILM) goes even further in developing a programmatic country framework
approach for sustainable land management.
CACILM is a ten-year programme of country-driven action and resource
mobilization that aims to achieve:
- strengthened policy,
legislative and institutional frameworks, creating conditions for
sustainable land management
- increased capacity of key
institutions responsible for planning and implementing land-management
- improved land management
through the combination of appropriate enabling policies and targeted
The progress already made in forming partnerships provides the basis for
launching a multi-country, donor partnership to apply a long-term,
programmatic, comprehensive and integrated approach to land degradation.
This framework provides opportunities to develop complementarities with the
sustainable land-management programmes of members of the CACILM taskforce
and other stakeholders. Such complementarities are in line with the Global
Environment Facility (GEF) framework on sustainable land management, which
is supported by AsDB and other partners, including IFAD.
Back to top