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close this bookDisasters and Development (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - United Nations Development Programme , 1994, 55 p.)
close this folderPART 2 - Understanding and exploiting disaster/development linkages
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe impact of disasters on development programs
View the documentLoss of resources
View the documentShifting resources
View the documentImpact on investment climate
View the documentImpact on the non-formal sector
View the documentCASE STUDY
View the documentDevelopment programs can increase vulnerability
View the documentCASE STUDY
View the documentDevelopment programs can decrease vulnerability
View the documentCASE STUDY
View the documentDisasters as opportunities for development initiatives
View the documentCASE STUDY
View the documentSUMMARY


Forestry Project in Nepal Combines Development and Mitigation Strategies

The deforestation of Nepal has occurred at an alarming rate, with 50,000 hectares of forest cover (or 2% of total forest land) lost each year. This loss of soil protection has resulted in serious erosion in the mountainous region. There, population density has increased to more than 500 people per square kilometer of cultivated land. An estimated 80% of Nepal’s energy use comes from fuelwood, and forests contribute more than 33% of fodder needs. In addition, increasing numbers of livestock have led to overgrazing, which significantly contributes to environmental degradation.

During the 1980s, the government of Nepal began implementation of a community forestry program to counteract these trends. This ongoing project is intended to stimulate increased production of such forest products as fuelwood, fodder and timber, to simultaneously improve rural welfare and forest conditions. The strategy involves the decentralization of the existing Forestry Department’s control, and a transformation of its Community Forestry and Afforestation Division from a custodial to a collaborative role, with communities assuming responsibility for planning and implementing their own forestry projects.

With deforestation, the dangers of environmental degradation, flooding and drought are increased. The Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, together with funding from the United Nations Development Programme, is pursuing a project to increase community involvement in conservation and disaster mitigation practices. Activities being promoted include fodder tree planting, land use management, training, inclusion of people at the local and district levels in the planning process, and coordination of forestry activities of all community projects.

By giving rural farmers the commercial rights to forest products and providing them with information concerning forest conservation, it is hoped that they will have more of an economic interest in protecting forest land and increasing its productivity. Special emphasis is placed on training and extension activities for women, who perform most of the work related to forest products in Nepal.

Working at the grass roots level, Nepal’s community forestry program is an innovative attempt to improve the productivity of the land and reduce potential disasters by linking increased production with protection of forest resources. *

* Adapted from UNDP Project document # NEP/85/017/B/01/12-Project of the government of Nepal

The application of building codes, associated training programs, and more extensive use of zoning regulations in urban development decreases the population at risk, and the likelihood of damage to industrial facilities.

Second, there are usually many opportunities to incorporate hazard-resistant building techniques in housing and other construction programs. These opportunities are usually specific to the type of housing used in the region and the nature of local hazards. Such measures can substantially reduce earthquake and tropical storm deaths and injuries. In addition, these programs can protect high value economic resources, reducing the total costs of damage and improving the chances of more rapid recovery.

On a wider scale, the application of building codes, associated training programs, and more extensive use of zoning regulations in urban development decreases the population at risk, and the likelihood of damage to industrial facilities. Improved drainage systems and flood protection measures can further protect people and facilities in hazardous areas.

Third, investments in improving administration and strengthening the resource-base of public institutions will have a general positive impact on the effectiveness of preparedness arrangements, emergency responses and the quality of longer-term recovery planning. Training programs in general, and especially those with a management or technical focus, can be expected to improve the implementation of mitigation and response measures.

Lastly, agricultural and forestry programs provide a range of opportunities for mitigation. Reforestation programs reduce risks of erosion, landslides and flash flooding. Changes in cropping patterns can also ameliorate erosion problems and losses due to floods and drought. Introduction of pest-resistant crops reduces the economic and other impacts of infestations. Programs for soil conservation, water harvesting and improved on-farm storage mitigate the effects of drought.

Each of the examples above represents an opportunity for mitigation. Each also requires investment of scarce resources.

Q. Identify the goals of a specific mitigation project currently in progress, perhaps as part of a regular development project. How was funding obtained for the mitigation component? How might success be measured? Describe your answer below.