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63 mini dams constructed under LPRP in Lachi: UNDP
Wednesday, November-24-2004

PESHAWAR (November 24 2004): President Representative United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan, Onder Yucer has said that 63 various natures of mini-dams with a storage capacity of 620 million gallons have been constructed in Tehsil Lachi of District Kohat under Lachi Poverty Reduction Project (LPRP) in the area. The UNDP representative was addressing the inaugural session the three-day National Workshop on Community Based Water Conservation-Lachi Experience held here in a local hotel.

He said that these multipurpose dams entail many benefits for the community and are likely to have very positive impact on the livelihoods of the local population.

He said that as a specialised development agency of the UN system, UNDP aims to encourage a comprehensive approach to water resources management. The need for such a comprehensive plan is of paramount importance in the case of Southern NWFP, Balochistan, Southern Punjab and tribal belt of Pakistan, which experience repeated cycles of drought and water scarcity. One consideration is the identification of small to medium size water reservoirs, including potable water supply for human beings and livestock.

By developing principles and methods to manage this resource efficiently and an effectively, while respecting related ecosystem, he said that the agency moving a step closer to the goals of sustainable development. The Millennium Goal on water, which he said has been pledged by the world leaders at the millennium summit in 2000, is to "halve, by 2015, the proportion of the world's people unable to reach or afford safe-drinking water" and end "to stop sustainable exploitation of water resources".

Giving background of the Lachi Poverty Reduction Project (LPRP), Onder Youcer said that it is one of UNDP's project, jointly financed by UNDP Pakistan and DFID (Department for International Development), being implemented by the Sarhad Rural Support Programme in Tehsil Lachi, District Kohat of NWFP.

He said that the project is the continuation of UNDP's Regional Project: South Asia Poverty Alleviation Programme (SAPAP) started in January 1997 in Pakistan. The main objective of LPRP is to develop and demonstrate poverty reduction models based on the concept of social mobilisation that would be of help to organisations with similar objectives.

"Its strategy in this regard is to have close networking with similar organisations to identify issues, discuss them and come up with possible solutions along with sharing its experiences.

The project aims to bring sustainable improvements in the livelihoods of poor people living in Tehsil Lachi, district Kohat by focussing on the poverty targeting, development of Arid Zone Natural Resource Management Model, support to government's devolution plan 2000 and village organisations based self-sustaining micro-credit programme leading to union council level federation.

In pursuit of providing sustainable financial resources to the poor, he said that LPRP is trying to develop a self-sustaining programme at village level first and then federating to the union council level and keeping in view the intensive social mobilisation, Union Council, Shakardara was selected as the first unit for this activity, which would be replicated in the remaining 8 union councils of the tehsil also.

Lachi Tehsil in Kohat district is located in one of the most drought-prone and poorest areas in the NWFP, which is spread over an area of 1161 square kilometers and due to limited potential for agriculture farming in view of water scarcity, around 40 percent of the local working population is employed outside the area and, therefore, a majority of the households are dependent upon insecure remittances for their survival.

The NRM section of the project, the UNDP representative said, has been making consistent efforts to enhance the crop and livestock production of the local area through improved and proven technologies in all sub-sectors and to develop an arid zone natural resource management model that could be replicated in areas with similar ecological conditions in and outside the country.

He said that the workshop is being organised as a follow up of the International Symposium on Community based Integrated Water Resource Management held in February this year, by LPRP in collaboration with a group of National and International Organisations.

During that workshop the experts recommended the need for holding a focused workshop on the Lachi experience.

The UNDP official stressed the need for community based water management programme in the rain-fed areas of NWFP such as Kohat, Karak, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, D.I.Khan, and federally administered tribal areas. He assured that UNDP is willing to work in partnership with the provincial and federal governments and other donor agencies including DFID, to address this basic need of the target population, which ultimately contributes to poverty reduction.

Courtesy Business Recorder
 

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