This paper identifies key development issues relating to land and water management in the less developed countries of the Himalayan and South East Asian (SEA) regions, and how these are likely to be affected by long-term climate change. The authors link the issues of poverty reduction, land and water resource management, and climate adaptation in practice. They also review some of the many innovative efforts underway to support land and water management and poverty reduction at local, national and regional levels.
The authors argue that problems of land and water management are well recognised, and are closely linked to poverty reduction in less developed countries. They further note that while there is an obvious need for more integrated planning and coordinated resource management responses, these problems cannot be resolved by prescriptive management measures because local conditions, especially in marginal areas, are highly variable.
With high uncertainty about the localised effects of climate change, the authors argue that it is impossible to predict and plan for specific conditions. This requires building adaptive capacity, both among individual actors and decision-makers, but also in institutional networks that link them to be prepared for unexpected and consequences and suprises. In order to work towards this, the document makes the following recommendations to the governments in the Himalayan and SEA region:
develop policy reforms with regards to decentralisation and devolution to foster increased stakeholder involvement in planning at the local level
promote effective governance and decision-making to ensure that new institutional structures and intermediate level organisations are suitably accountable both to decision-makers and resource users and stakeholders
build professional and fiscal capacity at the local level to help improve implementation capability for land and water management and support climate adaptation
build stronger platforms for shared knowledge, learning and innovation in resource management and climate adaptation through research and capacity-building networks