This report provides a summary of outcomes from a process of extended interaction with primary and key stakeholders associated with natural resources management in the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW). These wetlands encompass a mosaic of inter-connected land-use and hydrological zones covering ~12,500 ha and providing livelihoods (directly & indirectly) to 60,000 people. The project started in March 2004 and finished in September 2005.
This report outlines the development of an action plan for water management in the EKW which addressed major issues that cross-cut aquaculture and farming interests and extends beyond the resource base to health issues. Three pilot-scale interventions for key actions were selected to demonstrate the commitment of primary and key stakeholders and the potential of PAP for future planning. The pilots require additional inputs of technical expertise for hydrological survey and assessment of possible impacts on certain communities and settlements. The PAP used here and subsequently promoted to others worked to highlight existing environmental and social (poverty related) concerns and the need to assess the impact of land-use and water management changes on the vulnerable. The plan operates as a stand-alone document for IESWM and the EKW Management Committee but other communications products included internal communications such as guidance materials and literature within the project team and external dialogue with the full range of stakeholders groups during key planning workshops and other dialogue.
The project built upon existing planning priorities, acknowledged ongoing planning activities, and worked to facilitate the application and adaptation of existing knowledge of participatory planning, notably PAPD, in a setting where such approaches were not being practiced. The approach adopted in applying this existing knowledge highlighted difficulties of working directly with the poorest groups (landless labourers, fish farm workers, possibly sharecroppers) and the benefits and limitations of facilitating the process through intermediaries (union representatives, association members and farm owners and managers) with greater influence and political connections. Findings also provide guidance for PUI planning more generally, in that there are benefits from applying existing knowledge and that this requires facilitation, possibly through intermediaries, but in doing so there are dangers that the process may not reach the poor/poorest, and that safeguards must be adopted.
Bunting, S. 2005. Evaluating action planning for enhanced NR management in PU Kolkata. Final Technical Report for project R8365. Stirling, UK: Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling. 27 pp.