Managing natural resources


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: MGNREGA

Mains level: Paper 3- Managing natural resources


A project in Meghalaya empowers communities to take informed action pertaining to their environment.

Depletion of natural resources in Meghalaya

  • In recent years, many parts of Meghalaya have witnessed the loss of forest cover and natural resources have rapidly deteriorated.
  • The State, known to have spots designated as the ‘wettest places’ on earth, is now facing a severe water crisis.
  • Natural resource management becomes critical in this context.

Challenges in natural resource management

  • Traditional practices on sustainable use of natural resources have been passed down from one generation to another.
  • Overexploitation: This indigenous knowledge began to slowly fade, however, owing to population growth,  the quest for unsustainable developmental activities, and indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources.
  • Inaccessibility of knowledge: Another roadblock to natural resource management was knowledge inaccessibility among rural communities.

Providing knowledge: Landscape Management Project

  • The government wanted to see if, when provided with the correct knowledge, solutions to problems can be devised and even implemented by community members themselves.
  • The World Bank-supported Meghalaya Community-Led Landscape Management Project seeks to reactivating the community’s connection to natural resources and enabling them to tackle the resource crisis.
  • How the project worked: cross-functional teams with diverse expertise were set up.
  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme became the main scheme channelizing resources to impact poor households so that there was systematic convergence of all line departments such as agriculture, horticulture, soil, and water conservation.
  • The programme leverages technology and the youth population.
  • Leveraging technology, more than 2,000 village community facilitators have already been trained and are working towards climate change reversal.
  • Autonomy: To build autonomy, simple tools are used.
  • They have been designed keeping in mind many things: creating community agency, building the capacities of all persons in the programme, and ensuring frequent interactions among them.
  • Leveraging technology: Technology empowers them with real-time data, which in turn results in better programme governance, transparency, and accountability.
  • Communities are now able to articulate the complexities of their problems through a scientific lens and create their own natural resource management plans.
  • To carry forward this momentum, there is a plan to launch a Centre of Excellence in Meghalaya, a one-stop centre for natural resources management.


The project intends to empower thousands of village community facilitators and enable them to articulate the complexities of their problems through a scientific lens and create their own natural resource management plans.

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