Project Description

Project Number 44214-024
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 0357-NEP: Building Climate Resilience of Watersheds in Mountain Eco-Regions
Strategic Climate Fund US$ 23.54 million
Nordic Development Fund US$ 4.63 million
Govt. of Nepal US$ 1.94 million

The Government's Strategic Program for Climate Resilience  (SPCR) interventions aim to provide lessons on how best to approach building climate resilience in vulnerable mountain regions. The SPCR will support, strengthen, and facilitate the scaling up of interventions that will build long-term climate resilience in Nepal. In a country where the impacts to water resources constitute the principal climate change risk and the majority of the population derives considerable benefit and livelihood from such resources, SPCR support is a critical entry point to improve the resilience of water resources and associated mountain ecosystems. While different development partners have stepped in to support the Government to implement climate change adaptation measures that focus on short term (urgent and immediate) measures, the SPCR will focus on longer term interventions aimed at enhancing climate resilience in Nepal.

SPCR components: Building Climate Resilience of Watersheds in Mountain Eco-Regions (PPCR 1), Building Resilience to Climate-Related Hazards (to be administered by World Bank, PPCR 2), Mainstreaming Climate Change Risk Management in Development (capacity building technical assistance to be administered by ADB, PPCR 3), Building Climate Resilient Communities through Private Sector Participation (3 small projects implemented by IFC, PPCR 4).

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The Project supports the implementation of the SPCR developed by the Government of Nepal in partnership with Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank and was endorsed by the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience sub-committee of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) on 28 June 2011. Within the overall framework of the SPCR, the Project will enable communities in mountainous ecosystems that are significantly vulnerable to climate change impacts to have improved access to and reliability of watershed and water resources.

Nepal is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world. To achieve the country's overriding goal of reducing poverty, Nepal will need to manage its substantial climate risks and chart a climate resilient growth path. Moreover, as a mountainous country belonging to the Himalaya region, also known as the 'third pole' or the 'water tower of Asia', Nepal faces unique challenges. Temperatures are rising fastest at the highest altitudes, affecting glaciers, snow and ice, and threatening the generally poor and isolated communities that depend upon them. Retreating glaciers and changes in seasonal snow fall and melt will lead to greater uncertainty about water discharge patterns and, in the long run, diminished water availability. This results either in floods that destroy agricultural crops, displace people, kill livestock, and cause sediment deposits on agricultural lands, or in droughts that also destroy crops and affect livestock, and result in insufficient water for drinking and sanitation. In both cases, women's vulnerability increases more than men's as their traditional roles of fetching water, firewood and fodder, and working on agricultural lands will be severely affected with floods and droughts. Furthermore, the coping and adaptive capacities of communities to climate change depends on their knowledge and awareness of climate change risks and appropriate mechanisms to address these risks, and their access to and control over resources, which, oftentimes, the disadvantaged groups do not have.

In recent years the Government has given a much stronger emphasis to issues related to the environment and now to climate resilience as well. The Government prepared the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA, 2010) through a broad-based consultative process. The NAPA includes 43 adaptation options that have been clustered into 9 priority profiles, several of which call for interventions in watershed management, soil and water conservation, scaling up multiple-use water systems, enhanced water storage, and ecosystem management.

The Department of Forests and Soil Conservation (DoFSC) under the Ministry of Forests and Environment (MoFE) is the lead government institution for watershed management, and its field offices implement small projects to protect and improve water resources and their catchment areas. 

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome

Communities in selected climate-vulnerable mountain watersheds have access to more reliable water resources

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

1. Participating communities have improved catchment management and new or improved water storage infrastructure

2. Communities and government manage water and land in an integrated and inclusive manner within watersheds

3. Knowledge-based approaches for integrated water and land management and improved water reliability and accessibility in the wake of climate change adopted by government

4. Project management support provided