Socio-economic aspects

In countries where the majority of the population live below the poverty line, soil and water conservation measures must be accompanied by measures to alleviate poverty in order that soil and water conservation may be successful and the goals of Watershed Management can be achieved. Poverty is an essential cause of mismanagement and resulting degradation of natural resources in many places [1; 2]. An increasing degradation of natural resources in turn aggravates poverty. WM addresses all aspects of this vicious circle [3]. Poverty reduction involves several sectors in which suitable measures are to be implemented: measures to encourage education and health (including measures to combat HIV/AIDS), for instance. Participation of local people in planning, implementing and monitoring of these actions is decisive for sustainable outcomes.

The economic interests and opportunities of the resource users are to be considered and improved in all intended measures [4]. Costs of all measures must lie within the available budget of the project. Furthermore, the measures have to be economically viable.

Also crucial in WM is to strengthen gender and minority representation in institutions and decision-making processes.