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Home > Basin > Indo-Ganges > Community-based water and forest management in the Indus-Ganges River Basin (PN23)

Full Project Title: Linking community-based water and forest management for sustainable livelihoods of the poor in fragile upper catchments of the Indus-Ganges Basin (PN23)


In marginal upper catchments of the Nepal and Indian Himalayas, Poor rural women and men face critical food security and livelihoods challenges. Restricted access to often degraded water, land, and forest resources, combined with low productivity of open-access resources forces many to seasonally or permanently seek economic opportunities elsewhere.

The project aimed at contributing to enhanced livelihood opportunities and reduced vulnerability for poor rural people in upper catchments, through understanding of legal, policy and institutional provisions for resource management in Nepal and India, resource assessment and livelihood analysis in the study area, exploring expanded mandates for the existing resource users’ groups and possibility for scaling up their activities.

Research Highlights

Research highlights

  • A comprehensive land and water use planning and management policy is fundamental to conservation and regeneration of forest areas in the State, and thus an integrated management approach is of critical need.
  • The ownership and management of common property resources (CPRs), especially for lakes, forests and water (including canals) is not well defined. This condition has hindered equitable access to benefits from the resource use and its management in an integrated way.
  • The users involvement in the management of natural resources is a function of the livelihood opportunity associated with it, as indicated by the fisher and irrigation users group compared to the community forest users group.
  • There exists inequity in benefit sharing among and across the users. In India, the class- and caste-based inequities are prominent in terms of assets, resource gaps and livelihoods availabilities.
Project Outcomes

Project outcomes

  • The project established a network between different users groups, government agencies, nongovernment organizations and other stakeholders to better manage natural resources in Nepal and India. The committees created at the basin level help users to more effectively address natural resource problems in an integrated manner.
  • The field studies provided opportunities for the communities of both the watersheds to identify their problems in the current resource management practices and identify opportunities to strengthen livelihoods based on forest and water resources. The communities have suggested various land and water based interventions along with institutional mechanisms to strengthen livelihoods.
  • The recommendation for devolution of power to village level institutions (like Gram Panchayats in India) for resources management was accepted in principle by the policy makers in India and Nepal.
Publications and Outputs

To view all outputs from project PN23 visit our document repository.

Selected publications and outputs

Research papers

  1. Institutional Context of Resource Management: Stakeholder Perspective in Begnas Watershed area in Nepal. February 2007 (Dhruba Pant, Umesh Nath Parajuli, Sabita Thapa, Khem Raj Sharma, Binod Bhatta and Pratima Shrestha).
  2. Multi-stakeholder Perspective in Catchment Management –Case from Nepal”. August, 2007. Dhruba Pant, Umesh Nath Parajuli, Khem Raj Sharma, Binod Bhatt, Sabita Thapa, John Soussan. 10th River Symposium. Australia.
  3. Community based integrated natural resource management: Policy options and areas of intervention. October 2007. Sabita Thapa, John Soussan, Dhruba Pant, Umesh Nath Parajuli, Khem Raj Sharma, Binod Bhatt. Himalayan Policy Research Conference, University of Wisconsin.
  4. “Livelihood Transitions in Hilaungad Watershed”, June 2008, R. Chopra, D. Sen, S. Bharadwaj and H. Bharti, People’s Science Institute, Dehra Doon.
  5. “Disowned Institutions in Hilaungad watershed”, June 2008, D. Sen, R.Chopra, S. Bharadwaj & D. Negi, People’s Science Institute, Dehra Doon.
  6. “Resource Availabilities and Gaps in Hilaungad Watershed”, July 2008, D. Sen, R. Chopra, S. Bhardwaj, A. Sharmaa and S.N. Goswami


  1. A Review of Policy, Legal and Institutional Provisions for the Management of Natural Resources (of Nepal and India).
  2. Community Based Integrated Natural Resource Management: An Introductory review of literature. (By Dr. Sabita Thapa, SEI)
  3. Rights of Access and the Management of Irrigation Systems: Two Case Studies Examining Social Equity in Begnas Watershed, Kaski District (By Joe Hill, Ph.D Intern from East Anglia University, UK)
  4. Institutional Study of Begnas Catchment. (By Dhruba Pant and Pratima Shrestha, IWMI-Nepal).
Project Partners

Project partners


Project Lead

Project lead


For more information on Phase 1 outputs please contact Udana Ariyawansa.