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02KATHMANDU685 2002-04-05 04:03:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

DROUGHT ASSESSMENT/MITIGATION IN WESTERN S ASIA

Tags:   SENV EAID EAGR ECON SOCI PK IN AF XD REO 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 KATHMANDU 000685 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SA, SA/PAB, SA/INS, SA/RA AND OES/PCI (SALZBERG)
DEPT PLEASE PASS AID/ANE (J WILSON) AND OFDA (G HAVENS)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAID EAGR ECON SOCI PK IN AF XD REO
SUBJECT: DROUGHT ASSESSMENT/MITIGATION IN WESTERN S ASIA

REFS: A) ISLAMABAD 2069 B) KATHMANDU 371 C) STATE 31622



1. In response to ref a, the Regional Environment Office
(REO) for South Asia in Kathmandu offers the following
proposal on drought assessment and mitigation for selected
regions of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. While we
have used the format prescribed by ref c, REO would also
like to submit this proposal to the South Asia Bureau for
funding consideration under FY02 ESF (in addition to the
proposals contained in ref b), as well as to AID/ANE and
OFDA. This proposal will include a rapid drought
assessment and identification of short-to-medium term
mitigation measures for the ongoing drought in Western
South Asia. It is intended to complement the Adaptive
Strategies study, which has recently been approved for
funding under FY01 South Asia Bureau ESF. The implementing
agency would be the International Water management
Institute (IMWI), with headquarters in Colombo, a regional
office in Lahore, and project office in Vidhyanagar,
Gujarat.



2. IWMI's proposal as elaborated in collaboration with
the Regional Environment Office for South Asia:



A. Project Title: Drought Assessment and Potential for
Mitigation in Western South Asia



B. Department Strategic Objective:

The project addresses several Department strategic
objectives:

-- To render humanitarian assistance where needed
-- To foster regional stability
-- To safeguard the environment
-- To promote sustainable economic development and
livelihoods in developing countries.

This project aims to promote greater political, economic
and social stability in drought-ravaged and politically
volatile western parts of South Asia (Afghanistan,
Pakistan and western India). A collaborative assessment
of current drought conditions will be followed by
identification of tangible solutions and strategies for:
-- Addressing immediate needs/alleviating severe impacts
-- Addressing long term needs for mitigative measures,
drought preparedness and sustainable water resources
planning and management.




C. Problem/Issue:

South and Southwest Asia has been affected by a persistent
multi-year drought. From a global perspective, this
represents the largest region of persistent precipitation
deficits over the last four years. More than 100 million
people have been affected in the region, with severe
impacts being felt in Gujarat and Rajasthan states in
India, Pakistan's Sind and Baluchistan provinces, and in
large swaths of Afghanistan and Iran. Political
instability, war and economic isolation have further
exacerbated the effects of drought.

Afghanistan is particularly vulnerable, having witnessed
over two decades of war and civil strife that has been
further complicated by the operations of entrenched
terrorist groups inside Afghanistan and the international
action against them, as well as the recent earthquake in
northern Afghanistan. Pakistan has also been experiencing
economic and social disruptions that pose difficulties for
the Government's fight against international terrorism and
domestic religious extremism. In India, drought and flood-
prone Gujarat has recently seen the worst communal
violence in a decade.

The severity and persistence of the drought has produced a
wide range of impacts across the region. In many areas,
there is widespread scarcity of potable water as well as
depleted supplies for irrigation, industry and sanitation.
Agricultural production has been severely affected, and
there has been a significant reduction in the livestock
populations that are the mainstay of subsistence
livelihoods, especially in Afghanistan. Large population
movements due to the combination of drought and civil
strife have aggravated and compounded these miseries for
communities, often with disproportionate impacts on women
and children.

Given the magnitude and persistence of this drought,
severe impacts such as degradation of soil and vegetation,
increased vulnerability to flooding, and depletion in
groundwater stocks will likely persist even after a return
to normal precipitation. Reduction of seed stocks may
also impact agricultural communities' capacity to recover
once the drought ends. The continuing political
instability in the region and social and economic
pressures may exacerbate these impacts even further. With
increasing population, these regions face serious problems
of overall water shortages and scarcity that must be
addressed immediately, because failure to act now will
greatly compound the cost and complexity of later remedial
efforts.

The ability of governments in the region and international
relief agencies to deal with this situation is constrained
by the absence of reliable data, information networks, and
professional and institutional capacities. There is an
urgent need for a full assessment of the drought situation
and possible relief efforts, and a longer-term need to
address the problem of overall water scarcity through
improved and sustainable management of available water
resources.

The proposed project will review and update information on
the drought situation in western parts of South Asia
(Afghanistan, Pakistan and western India) by analyzing
hydrological and human factors, and recommend concrete and
tangible steps for future management of droughts: short,
medium and long-term measures.

However, effective use of climate information in drought
management and response will require a sustained
interaction between climate analysts, impact specialists,
local planners and humanitarian relief agencies. There is
also an urgent need to improve the climate observation
network in the region, as well as to develop mechanisms to
make such data available for timely input into climate
forecasting models.




D. Anticipated Results:

The project will result in the following outputs:

-- A report assessing the drought situation in western
parts of South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan and western
India) and identifying potential solutions to alleviate
drought stress in the short, medium, and long term.

-- An interim "action strategy" for regional governments,
relief agencies and local communities to manage and
mitigate severe effects of drought. This will include
developing effective drought management guidelines and
promoting appropriate land and water management
technologies and systems to mitigate the impact of future
droughts.

-- An analysis of present coping strategies for droughts
in the respective countries chosen, and lessons learned.

-- Development of a Decision Support Tool for planning
drought mitigation and to map out drought vulnerability
regions, using Remote Sensing and GIS.

-- Identification of institutional and policy gaps in
drought management and mitigation and, with stakeholders'
participation, suggesting ways and means to improve
mitigation efforts.

-- Development of a project proposal intended to lead to a
detailed, long-term program of action involving key
players in drought management and mitigation.

The project will be conducted in a collaborative and
participatory manner involving national government
agencies, the local public and other stakeholders affected
by the drought. The project intends to promote a sense of
unity and goodwill in the region as a whole and generate
motivation to work together to fight against the common
enemy, drought. In particular, we expect the following
longer-term outcomes:
-- Improved regional coordination in assessing and
addressing drought.

-- Greater trust and cooperation among the three countries
to address critical transboundary environmental
conditions.




E. How this project will advance U.S. interests:

The U.S. Government's top priority is to defeat terrorism
in all its forms. Linked to this a vital U.S. interest in
fostering stability in South Asia. U.S. strategic goals
in the region include helping to rebuild Afghanistan and
its institutions, promoting political stability and
democracy in Pakistan and encouraging peaceful dialogue
between India and Pakistan.

The knowledge, tools and information networks that this
project will produce will further these objectives. In
the short term, regional governments and the international
relief agencies will be able to take cost-effective
measures to deal with the severe effects of drought. In
the medium term, timely collection, analysis and sharing
of data, and the development and application of decision
support tools will result in improved predictability and
preparedness for droughts, reducing the financial and
political costs of mitigation to society. In the long
term, improved and sustainable planning and management of
water resources will contribute to a reduction of
conflicts within societies and lessen tensions over water
between countries.




F. Contribution to political and economic stability:

Senior U.S. policy makers and analysts have described
South Asia as one of the most dangerous places in the
contemporary world. The long-standing dispute over
Kashmir has dogged the two nuclear-armed rivals, India and
Pakistan, for the greater part of the last 53 years,
sending the two countries repeatedly into war. At this
moment, the bulk of the armies of the two countries are
amassed on either side of their common border.

In the wake of the September 11 tragedy, the global nature
of instability in South Asia and its links to U.S.
security have become ever more clear. Despite the defeat
of the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, threats of terrorist
attacks against American interests remain. Religious
extremists continue to pose a danger to Pakistan's secular
order.

In the long run, however, the countries of the region are
bound to each other by shared space and common interests,
which cannot be addressed without a degree of cooperation.
Fortunately, the scientific community and many civil
society organizations in both India and Pakistan are
willing to engage each other in a constructive dialogue to
begin to address issues of vital importance to people
living in both countries. The impact of the current
drought constitutes an opportunity for professional and
scientific circles to collaborate in dealing with this
common problem. At a recent conference of the South Asian
Water Forum (SAWAF) in Katmandu, Nepal, delegates from all
South Asian countries underlined the need for regional
experts to work in concert to address non-political cross-
border issues, such as water and drought management.

For reasons of recent history, relations between Pakistan
and the new interim government in Afghanistan are at best
tenuous, despite the declaration of a new beginning by
both governments. The best way to translate good
intentions into good practice is through confidence-
building measures, starting with important and non-
contentious issues such as drought management. The
present proposal is intended to build vital bridges of
confidence between these neighbors whose long-term social,
economic and environmental interest are inter-linked by
rivers, mountains and other vital ecological systems. The
project will also contribute to reducing political and
military tensions by engaging scientists, practitioners
and policymakers from all three countries to use their
knowledge and skills in resolving issues of common long-
term interest to the whole region.




G. Proposed recipients of funds:

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) will
be the recipient of the funds. The proposed vehicle for
obligating the funds is a grant to the Headquarters of
IWMI, located in Colombo, Sri Lanka. IWMI - HQ will
manage and account for the funds and implement the project
through its regional office in Lahore, Pakistan and
project office in Vidhyanagar, Gujarat, India.




H. Detailed project Description:

Purpose and Objectives:

The purpose of the project is to carry out a rapid
scientific assessment of the drought situation in the
region and recommend concrete and tangible solutions:
immediate, medium and long-term measures to address the
problem. The project will also be an effort to prepare
the groundwork for a larger initiative, linking local and
regional efforts in drought management to global networks
in climate forecasting and improving disaster relief
planning and operations.

The project has two specific objectives:

(1) Develop an interim "action strategy" for managing and
mitigating the severe effects of drought for regional
governments, relief agencies and local communities. This
will include developing effective drought management
guidelines and promoting appropriate land and water
management technology and management systems to mitigate
the impacts of future droughts, and

(2) Develop a detailed proposal for a regional initiative.
With support from donors, international research
organizations, and development banks, this would bring
together expertise from several related fields, bridge
gaps in current knowledge, and establish a framework for
researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to develop
and implement an effective drought management plan in the
region. Especially in Afghanistan, capacity-building is
an important need not yet built-in as a specific objective
for this project, but to be included in the larger
initiative.

Research sites:

The project will focus on three typical provinces of the
chosen countries where drought occurs frequently. The
possible candidate sites are Kutch or Saurashtra region in
Gujarat, India; Baluchistan or Sind in Pakistan; and Balkh
or Faryab provinces in Afghanistan.

Research Methodology and activities:

Many quantitative measures of drought have been developed,
of which the most frequently used are those developed by
Wayne Palmer of U.S.A. in the 1960s. These include the
Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), the Palmer
Hydrological Drought Index (PHDI), the Palmer Z-index and
the Crop Moisture Index (CMI). Among these, the PDSI is
superior in that it accounts not only for precipitation
totals, but also for temperature, evapotranspiration,
surface run off and soil recharge. The CMI measures short-
term agricultural drought on a weekly scale. The project
will use these and other advanced techniques to measure
the severity of the drought situation in the region. The
project will:

-- Review long term hydrological, meteorological and human-
related factors affecting drought, and will carry out an
analysis of drought characteristics, frequency of
occurrence, severity, and management- institutional- and
policy-related gaps in drought mitigation programs.

-- Study the coping strategies adopted by various
stakeholders in mitigating the drought and document what
happens during a drought, as this is the time people learn
(or don't learn) how to adapt to shortages. Such research-
based information would be useful in facing future
droughts.

-- Assess hot spots through the use of remote sensing and
field surveys to study crop failure, the variety of means
adopted to relieve water shortages, out-migration
(including movement of cattle and livestock), and coping
strategies for meeting drinking water requirements.

-- Document successful innovative procedures adopted by
people, NGOs, government agencies and aid-agencies in
mitigating drought and disseminate this information
through cross-border exchanges.

-- Rely mainly on secondary data collected from various
sources, in addition to carrying out selected field survey
using techniques such as process documentation,
questionnaire surveys, and focus group discussions with
actors involved in the process at all levels. Data will
also be collected using remote sensing techniques. All
collected data will be put into a GIS format to develop a
Decision Support Tool.

IMWI will conduct a final workshop during which national
government agencies, international experts, donor
representatives, and national and international disaster
relief organizations will discuss suggestions advanced,
exchange information and chart out a "Way Forward."




I. Performance targets and period of performance:

Preparation:
(1) Identification and consultation with key players and
stakeholders: 2 months
(2) Final selection of the research sites: 3 months
(3) Fine-tune research methodology, research questions and
computer models: 3 months

Implementation:
(1) Data collection and analysis: 6 months
(2) Draft report on the assessment of the drought
situation: 9 months
(3) Draft report on coping strategies, assessing the
capacity and effectiveness of respective agencies as well
as community efforts: 12 months

Completion and dissemination:
(1) Development of a Decision Support Tool for planning
drought mitigation and mapping out drought vulnerability
regions, using Remote Sensing and GIS: 18 months
(2) Identification of institutional and policy gaps in
drought management and mitigation and, with stakeholders'
participation, suggesting ways and means to improve
mitigation efforts: 18 months
(3) Development of a project proposal intended to lead to
a detailed action program for long-term drought management
in the region: 18 months




J. Assumptions:

The security situation inside Afghanistan will improve
sufficiently in the coming months for scientific personnel
to travel and to collect relevant data.

The government of Afghanistan will develop adequate
capacity to participate meaningfully in the final workshop
and subsequent multi-party initiative.

Diplomatic approaches can overcome barriers to travel
between India and Pakistan, in order to permit the
meaningful participation of Indian and Pakistani partners.
Alternatively, a neutral venue such as Kathmandu could be
selected.




K. Total proposed cost: USD 343,600.




L. Funding request:


Item Unit Cost Quantity Total



1. Senior research
personnel Day 650 150 97,500



2. Mid-level research
personnel Day 450 90 40,500



3. Travel/per diem Trip 1000 30 30,000



4. Consumables,
satellite images, etc L/S 5,000 5,000



5. Workshop Number 30,000 1 30,000



6. Sub-total 203,000



7. Administrative Cost (15 percent of Subtotal) 30,450



8. Contingencies (5 percent of Subtotal) 10,150



9. Contract research through partners 100,000


10. Total 343,600

Schedule of disbursement

Two equal installments, disbursed at the start and middle
of the 18-month project period.




M. Principal Partners

-- International Water Management Institute
-- Global Water Partnership
-- Care International
-- Disaster relief and water resources affiliated agencies
of respective governments
-- International relief agencies such as OFDA, Red Cross
and others
-- Multilateral/bilateral donors
-- USGS
-- NOAA
-- Institute for Social and Environmental Transition




N. Roles and resources partners will contribute:

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) will
be the lead agency for implementing this project. IWMI is
an international non-profit research organization
specialized in water and land management. IWMI is part of
a global coalition of 16 international agricultural
research centers, collectively known as the Consultative
Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), or
Future Harvest Centers. IWMI has extensive experience in
finding and promoting integrated and sustainable solutions
to water problems, with a bias for river basins as
appropriate units of water management. With its head
offices located in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and regional and
country offices in over 15 locations in Asia and Africa,
IWMI has a team of over 150 scientists, making it the
largest international organization scientific in the
developing world in the field of water management. IWMI
has strong professional presence in Pakistan and India,
and is part of a new CGIAR initiative for the agricultural
revival of Afghanistan.

Other partners:

The project will be implemented in collaboration with
disaster prevention and water management agencies in all
three countries. International research, development and
relief agencies will also cooperate, including the Global
Water Partnership (GWP) and its regional and country
chapters in South Asia, the Aga Khan Rural Support Program
(AKRSP) India and CARE International.

Global Water Partnership (GWP) is a global initiative
dedicated to promoting best policies and practices in
integrated water resource management. With a small
secretariat in Stockholm, and three resource centers, of

SIPDIS
which IWMI is one, GWP is a decentralized network of
independent stakeholders, including national governments,
research and non-profit organizations, NGOs, UN agencies,
multilateral banks, private companies, and other
institutional stakeholders involved in water resource
management. The GWP facilitates the exchange of
knowledge, experience and the practice of integrated water
resource management. GWP has active country water
partnerships in both India and Pakistan.

AKRSP (I) is a community-based rural development
initiative in Gujarat state with extensive experience in
developing and promoting cost-effective water management
techniques and technologies.

CARE International has an on-going agreement with IWMI to
collaborate on projects designed to serve smallholders in
water-stressed areas. The major focus of this partnership
is on developing and promoting cost-effective technologies
and management methods, such as water harvesting, storage
and application. The two organizations plan to join hands
in assessing the needs and developing appropriate
responses to water and agricultural problems in
Afghanistan.

Multilateral and bilateral donors and investment banks
will be presented with project proposal for a larger
initiative required to address chronic drought conditions
in the region. We expect that some of these donors will
be interested in funding elements identified in the
proposal which address their priorities, such as poverty
alleviation and environmental management.

In addition, the project will seek to develop close links
with international, regional and national players in the
fields of climate and drought monitoring,
mitigation/relief, and water management. The project will
also seek technical cooperation from USG agencies involved
in drought assessment, including OFDA, USAID, NOAA, and
USGS. The project will coordinate closely with ISET's
Adaptive Strategies study (funded through South Asia
Bureau ESF) to share results and experience, and to avoid
duplication of effort.




O. OES sponsoring Office: OES/PCI

MALINOWSKI