This study reviewed the achievements, and also the shortcomings, of 12 watershed management projects technically supported by FAO over the past decade, with a view to learning from experience. Unlike sectoral development approaches, watershed management involves examining the interactions among various natural processes and land uses and managing land, water and the wider ecosystem of the watershed in an integrated way. Watershed management is best carried out as a stepwise multistakeholder process. The review identified a sequence of steps that watershed management projects or programmes should ideally follow. The approach has demonstrated its effectiveness for responding to global challenges of water supply, land restoration, climate change adaptation, disaster risk management and fighting hunger. To meet these challenges, the next generation of watershed management projects and programmes must be implemented over longer time frames, and they require sustained and coordinated investment from the public and private sectors. The review identified the following areas for moving forward: institutional strengthening for improved watershed governance; watershed monitoring; capitalizing on increased data availability; knowledge sharing and learning; and strategic partnerships for joint action on the ground.