© Sajal Sthapit/LI-BIRD

Winner International ReSource Award for Sustainable Watershed Management 2014

On the occasion of World Water Day, Swiss Re Foundation is pleased to announce the winner of the ReSource Award 2014 (worth US$ 150,000): “Mobilizing local institutions for sustainable management of watershed services in Nepal”, a project submitted by Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD). The winner was selected from a total of 273 project proposals in a three-stage evaluation process.

About the organisation

LI-BIRD is a non-governmental organisation based in Pokhara, Nepal which aims to improve the livelihoods of marginalised farmers by capitalizing on local initiatives for sustainable management of renewable natural resources. It promotes local innovations and demonstrates working models with high scale-up potential. Furthermore, it contributes to the development of innovative approaches in biodiversity conservation, sustainable natural resources and watershed management.

Project region, objective and major activities

Water conflicts between people living within and people living outside Nepal’s watershed are increasing in number and intensity. More than 17,000 community forest user groups and organizations could potentially adopt PWS (“payments for watershed services”) schemes to address such conflicts. The project aims to implement such a scheme in the Begnas and Rupa lake watersheds in central Nepal, an area encompassing more than 10,000 households.

The main objective of the project is to scale up a PWS system for sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources in order to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor in the mid-hills of Nepal. Major activities include a context and stakeholder analysis in the Begnas watershed to facilitate the formation of a PWS management mechanism. Furthermore, an outreach strategy is planned for communicating ecological cause-and-effect linkages in a watershed, thus raising awareness of development-ecology interdependencies as well as opportunities for upstream and downstream users to manage watershed services amongst themselves.


The ReSource Award Jury elected this project because of its convincing integration of well-established concepts and proven practices. The PWS scheme, which is very well designed, has been tested successfully in the region. The measures are focused and aim for visible results with respect not only to the environment but also to economic development (e.g. organic production). The jury further acknowledged the project’s solid and professional risk analysis and promising implementation plan. The required contributions are well distributed and based on a strong engagement with stakeholders and government institutions.

About the ReSource Award

The International ReSource Award for Sustainable Watershed Management is an internationally recognized prize acknowledging leadership in the implementation of the principles of sustainability in watershed management. Every year, US$ 150,000 is awarded by an international jury to either one, or across several projects. The Award acknowledges initiatives which are dedicated to raising public awareness of the ecological, social and economic significance of water sources and watersheds in developing and emerging countries. The award is a result of Swiss Re Foundation’s commitment to water protection projects in the face of a grave need for sustainable access to clean water supplies in developing and emerging countries.

The application for the ReSource Award 2015 is open! Please apply until 30 April 2014 at www.resourceaward.org.