The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), Afghanistan, organized a consultation workshop to develop a system for characterizing watersheds and monitoring rangelands in Afghanistan. The activity was carried out under its SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) initiative. The systems aim to help users assess and understand watershed processes at a broad scale and provide decision support in managing rangelands in Afghanistan.
Mohammad Rafi Qazizada—Director General, Natural Resource Management, Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock and ICIMOD board member—welcomes participants to the day-long workshop (Photo: Utsav Maden/ICIMOD)
Mohammad Rafi Qazizada—Director General, Natural Resource Management, Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock and ICIMOD board member—welcomes participants to the day-long workshop (Photo: Utsav Maden/ICIMOD) Welcoming representatives from different line departments and stakeholders working in natural resource management in Afghanistan to the day-long workshop at MAIL, Mohammad Rafi Qazizada, Director General—Natural Resource Management at the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock and ICIMOD board member—said that the proposed system will provide comprehensive knowledge and information on watersheds and rangelands in Afghanistan. This, he noted, would help line departments and partners working in natural resource management in Afghanistan.
He said, “ICIMOD, and SERVIR-HKH in particular, agreed to develop a system for watershed characterization, and rangeland management and monitoring based on a request from the Natural Resource Management directorate.” He added that the consultation was organized to update relevant stakeholders on current progress and to receive input for creating a full-fledged web-based system.
The proposed system will provide information on the unique characteristics particular to each watershed, thus enabling evidence-based decision-making at multiple levels—community, regional, and national. ICIMOD has built in-house expertise on rangelands from research carried out in five protected areas under the Hindu Kush Karakoram Pamir Landscape (HKPL) initiative.
The research team is investigating climate, physiography, land use and land cover, water availability, run-off, soil and geology, disasters, and socioeconomic parameters for each macro-watershed in Afghanistan. By quantifying such parameters, the information generated will help decision-makers prioritize management of natural resources, undertake restoration or protection measures, and minimize the risks of floods, droughts, and landslides. Birendra Bajracharya, Regional Programme Manager, MENRIS, and Chief of Party for SERVIR-HKH, said that the stakeholder consultations helped ICIMOD map user requirements, and also carry out data audits, “what data is available with whom and at what scale”. He added, “Bringing relevant partners on board under a co-development model ensures ownership among stakeholders and future sustainability of the system. On-the-ground information and expertise provided by partners can be overlaid against remotely sensed data from satellites to further validate generated datasets and functions, while adding value to the system.”
At the workshop, ICIMOD experts shared updates on the watershed characterization study and the rapid assessment protocol for rangelands, and solicited feedback on the system from representatives from different line agencies working in natural resource management in Afghanistan. Over moderated discussions and group exercises, ICIMOD experts worked to identify information needs and data/information availability across the participating institutions.
Mohammad Sharif Jalalzai, GIS specialist at ICIMOD, shares updates on the watershed characterization study carried out by ICIMOD. (Photo: Utsav Maden/ICIMOD)
Yi Shaoliang, Programme Coordinator, Landscape Initiative for the Far Eastern Himalaya (HI-LIFE) at ICIMOD, presented on the protocol developed to facilitate rapid information collection on rangeland resources and rangeland use for monitoring purposes. (Photo: Utsav Maden/ICIMOD)