Phase 1 (January 2009-June 2010) of the HighARCS Project involved a rapid interdisciplinary situation analysis in the five research sites: Guangdong, China; Uttarakhand, India; West Bengal, India; Northern Vietnam and Central Vietnam. Phase 2 (June 2011-June 2012) facilitated an assessment of ecosystem functioning and livelihoods dependent on highland aquatic resources and associated social and institutional issues. From the outcomes of Phase 2, Integrated Action Plans (IAPs) explicitly addressing conservation, livelihood and policy concerns were developed and formulated in conjunction with all stakeholder groups including men, women, boys and girls associated with aquatic resources in the Beijiang River Watershed, Guangdong; Nainital, Uttarakhand; Buxa,West Bengal; Phu Yen, Son La; and Dakrong, Quang Tri.
Phase 3 of the project (March 2012-December 2013) will monitor and evaluate implementation of these IAPs by stakeholders by assessing impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity, livelihoods and institutional indicators. One or two cases will be pursued in each site for: a) short-term actions that should be feasible within the remaining project period; b) medium-term actions that could be initiated during the project, with protocols and processes set in place to monitor and evaluate outcomes; and c) ongoing policy or actions of government or other institutions and stakeholder groups, where knowledge from the HighARCS project could potentially lead to more effective or equitable highland aquatic resources planning and management.
The HighARCS Project will come up with Better Management Practices (BMPs) aimed at reconciling multiple demands placed on highland aquatic resources, whilst conserving biodiversity, ecosystem functionality and sustaining supplies of ecosystem services. Appropriate communication pathways and media will be developed to promote uptake and enhanced policy formulation.