Watershed Management Division is one of the six functional divisions under Department of Forests and Park Services with primary responsibility of managing watersheds throughout the Country. The concept of managing watersheds in a holistic manner means that multiple actors are involved, from private farmers through various government ministries, departments and agencies to corporate entities, all with their own agendas. Devising an approach of working with these multiple actors to achieve a whole-of-catchment outcome is inherently challenging. To meet these challenges a Watershed Management Division was proposed for creation in the Department of Forests in January 2009.
Following on this proposal, the Division was created through executive order in 25 May 2009 as a functional division under Department of Forests and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. Besides the primary mandate in implementing watershed management program, it is also charged by the Ministry to function as the sector’s focal point for environment, climate change, rangeland and wetlands.
The Division’s functions and responsibilities fall within the purview of several environmental and natural resource policies and acts, and deemed as an integrative force across legislations and sectors.
Mandate and Functions
Vision: Ensure effective and integrated watershed management to maintain and improve water & watershed conditions and contribute to sustainable livelihoods through provision of watershed services.
- Plan, coordinate, monitor and report nation-wide watershed management activities
- Coordinate RNR sectoral roles and responsibilities related to environment, climate change including enhancement of information and research to support policy implementation and development
- Pursue innovative financial and institutional mechanisms for participatory and integrated watershed management, including the options for payment of ecosystem services (PES) and develop appropriate modalities
- Watershed assessment country-wide to assess vulnerability and indentify critical watersheds for management interventions at desired local level of aggregation
- Monitor and evaluate performance of watershed activities and their impacts in terms of development, conservation and resource management
- Institutionalize, develop and operationalize a PES framework beginning with water for hydropower generation. Subsequently, explore prospectus for rewarding other ecosystem services emanating from the watersheds
- Partnerships with relevant agencies to identify and prioritize, negotiate, engage, interface and collaborate in activities contributing to watershed management objectives initially focusing on critical areas
- Adopt participatory approach to planning and implementation of such activities within the geog planning framework and other management plans bringing together key actors for joint operation on common issues
- Education and awareness on the watersheds, their management, national significance and program of government interventions, and institutional mechanisms for implementation
- Training, networking , participation for capacity building in watershed management
- Documentation, communication, dissemination of process, progress, achievements, impacts, future directions, follow-ups, guidelines.
Rangeland and Farming Section
The Rangeland and Farming Systems Section (R&FSS) will aim to focus on R&FSS activities of relevance to watershed management program and it is designed to contribute to a larger program vision, goal and objective of the National Watershed Management Program and provide technical and informational assistance to Watershed Management Division to strengthened institutional and organizational development of watershed management across the country.
Develop and maintain close working relationship with other sections of the division to ensure integrity and facilitate the integration of R&FSS activities of relevance to watershed management objectives into Geog and other relevant area based management plans with the view to support participatory planning by bringing together the relevant line agencies to ensure holistic and integrated planning at the geog level. Take lead in assessing impact of R&FSS activities of relevance to watershed management.
Core Functions of R&FSS:
- Facilitate coordination, collaboration, networking and establishment of partnerships with relevant agencies to ensure mainstreaming of rangeland, field crops and horticulture activities of relevance to watershed management objectives & plans into the regular planning and budgeting processes of central programmes of respective geogs in the dzongkhags.
- Carry out biophysical assessment and socio-economic survey pertinent to number of house hold and population using rapid appraisal system to determine farming systems/grazing patterns, identify land uses (e.g. satellite image, aerial photo interpretation); slope, vegetation; biodiversity, cadaster etc, of relevance to watershed management objectives within the given catchment areas.
- Provide Technical Backstopping to Support implementation of R&FSS activities of relevance to achieving watershed management objectives by other line agencies
- Provide Awareness Training and Education to local communities and other stakeholders on different aspects of watershed resources management, tools and techniques concerning to the sector.
- Assess the different types of environmental services being provided within different categories of watersheds and the value of those services (costs/benefits) through employment of appropriate PES tools
- Evaluate the current and potential demand and willingness to pay for services that contribute to sustainable use of land, water and vegetation, landscape management and improved household food security and nutrition
The Forest Section will aim to focus on forestry activities of relevance to watershed management program and it is designed to contribute to a larger program vision, goal and objective of the National Watershed Management Program and provide technical and informational assistance to Watershed Management Division to strengthened institutional and organizational development of watershed management across the country.
Develop and maintain close working relationship with other sections of the division to ensure integrity and facilitate the integration of forestry activities of relevance to watershed management objectives into Geog and other relevant area based management plans with the view to support participatory planning by bringing together the relevant line agencies to ensure holistic and integrated planning at the geog level. Take lead in assessing impact of forestry activities of relevance to watershed management and their contribution to achieving the WSM objectives. Support implementation of prioritized forestry activities of relevance to watershed management objectives in Government Reserved Forests and pursue payment for environmental services options as alternative financing mechanism through development of appropriate modalities including carbon sequestration credits.
- Facilitate coordination, collaboration, networking and establishment of partnerships with relevant agencies to ensure mainstreaming of forestry activities of relevance to watershed management objectives & plans into the regular planning and budgeting processes of central programmes, dzongkhags and geogs
- Facilitate planning, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of forestry activities of relevance to achieving watershed management objectives that are implemented by different line agencies and work closely with all relevant agencies interest in carrying out activities designed to improve watershed conditions within the county to avoid duplication of efforts.
- Carry out biophysical assessment and socio-economic survey pertinent to no. of house hold and population using rapid appraisal system to determine demography, forest condition, forest-used types, land-used types and terrain condition of relevance to watershed management objectives within the given watersheds.
- Assist dzongkhag watershed management committee in all dzongkhags with the relevant technical information and funding where necessary for development of plan and programs designed to achieve watershed management objectives.
- Identify critical watersheds for environmental conservation, poverty reduction, food security, important rural landscape values and where the pilot project could be implemented.
Water and Climate Section
In coordination with the other sections in WMD, staff in this section focuses its work on monitoring water resources. Recent work focuses on building a basis for negotiation for Payments for Environmental Services.
Linkages with other Divisions within the Department of Forest allows this team to follow issues related to climate change and carbon sequestration and storage. REDD + is another mechanism being explored to support forest conservation in Bhutan. Among many forest management systems that are potential for REDD + implementation in the country, community forestry (CF) program could be one of the most relevant programs in the REDD + context in relation with the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks and community forestry management group (CFMG) can benefit from carbon trade due to high success of community forestry in Bhutan. With the Bali action plan from COP13 on REDD +, Bhutan has the opportunity to gain from an international REDD + mechanism and will adopt a phased program of implementing REDD + in securing its ecological and economic benefits while being mindful of the safeguards in minimizing collateral damages of related policy and program externalities.
- Support to the overall functions of the Division
- Research in collaboration with RNR research centre on watershed management practices, climate change and other environmental aspects pertaining to RNR sector.(lead role)
- Pilot studies on carbon sequestration and sink/stock enhancement.(lead role)
- Mainstreaming and updating watershed management data within a national watershed database.
- Education and awareness & capacity building on watershed management and provision of technical backstopping.
- Documentation, communication and dissemination of watershed knowledge, experiences, lessons learnt and information.
- Development of climate change action plan for RNR sector.(lead role)
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