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The Knowledge Exchange is part of a week-long Regional SDG Forum hosted by UNDP in Bangkok from 21 to 27 October. The Forum features also a conference on youth engagement in SDG implementation and a meeting on finance for development focused on how countries can mobilize the required financing for the envisioned transformation to sustainability.
23 October 2016, Jalalabad City, Nangarhar – In a very ordinary hostel in Jalalabad, something extraordinary is going on. A young woman is sitting on her hostel bed, bent over a textbook.
This is Abida and she is training to be a nurse in a country where most women haven’t even finished primary school.
Abida has just finished a long day of classwork and on-the-job training. She’s exhausted, but determined to carry on because nurses are hard to find in her home village, more than 100 kilometres away in Nuristan. In this isolated province, woman commonly die because basic healthcare is unavailable – either because there are no doctors or because women are not allowed to be treated by a man. Thinking about this situation keeps Abida going when her eyes are heavy and her brain numb.
Human security remains Afghanistan’s major challenge to development. However, Afghans are more optimistic about their future than in the past. You can see that optimism in our bustling, energetic cities.
UNDP supports the people of Afghanistan as they face old challenges and work to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
See these 17 inspiring ways Afghans are improving their cities and contributing to the SDGs, with a little help from UNDP.
Afghanistan is one of the most vulnerable countries for climate change; even here, in beautiful, mountainous Panjshir province.
The Panjshir valley starts about 2 hours’ drive from Kabul and winds north into the Hindu Kush. Isolated and poor, its 140,000 people, mostly farmers, get by on a string of small-scale farms by the side of the river or hacked into the mountainsides. Their lives have always been hard, but they are made even more difficult by desertification and regular floods.
Bamyan, 9 October 2016 – Bamyan, in central Afghanistan, is a province of snow-capped mountains and difficult travel. But it’s not just the rugged terrain that keeps girls from going to school and taking part in sports. The mind also has mountains that girls need to climb if they want to get equal treatment.
“At first, the villagers were really annoying, telling me that a girl in sports clothes is against Islam and our culture,” says 18-year-old Masooma, who just wanted to go skiing. “They said, ‘Girls don’t have the right to ski – only boys can do sport. Girls are born to learn household chores, like cooking and cleaning.’”
21 September 2016, Dara Noor, Jalalabad – For most rural Afghans, having a cup of tea, or a bath, or a warm house means you have to cut down some trees. With mains power covering only 35% of the countryside, wood remains the primary source of heat and fuel.
15 August 2016, Jalalabad – The Gamberi Desert, on the outskirts of Jalalabad, is home to 1,000 families. It’s a land of extremes: harsh, dry, sandy, and hot, making life a struggle for the people who live there.
Many years ago, it was different. The Gamberi Desert was a forest of indigenous bushes that held the soil together and allowed life to grow. But decades of conflict and poverty forced communities to cut down the bushes and use the wood cooking and heating. Deforestation led to desertification, sand storms and the erosion of agricultural fields.
6 September 2016 – Haoliang Xu, UNDP Administrator and Chair of the UN Development Group, has concluded a five-day visit to Afghanistan where he met with the CEO Abdullah Abdullah, other senior government officials, development partners, UNDP Staff, and ongoing UNDP projects.
September 5 2016, Kabul – Yesterday, on the occasion of the visit to Kabul of UNDP Regional Director in Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Haoliang Xu, the Ministry of Economy (MoEC) of the Government of Afghanistan hosted a roundtable discussion on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
August 2016, Kabul – This week, UNDP and the Australian Government kicked off several new projects to improve life and job prospects for the 300 residents of Alice Ghan, a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) about an hour’s drive from Kabul.
Nangarhar University, on the outskirts of Jalalabad, is the second largest University in Afghanistan. Covering a whopping 40 hectares of land and serving 15,000 students, its tree-lined avenues stretch on for miles. But at night, they are pitch black, leaving both students and professors feeling unsafe in the dark. Public spaces are empty and no one spends much time outside.
Fifty-year-old Musa Khan Panahi wears a smile of hope because he’s reclaiming a life he nearly lost. Meanwhile, Muhammad Rustam, an emaciated bedridden teenager, struggles with his health at a hospital on the western outskirts of Kabul.
25 July 2016, Mazar-e-Sharif – Last week, we were in Mazar-e-Sharif, where, thanks to generous support from the Republic of Korea, UNDP has helped to improve local governance and support local women as they build successful businesses.
Kabul, 10 July 2016 – Afghanistan is one of the most challenging countries in the world to be a woman – and for a woman to get an decent education. According to World Bank data, net enrollment at the end of the Taliban regime in 2001 was 43% for boys but a miserable 3% for girls.
In March 2014, UNDP Afghanistan made a 2-minute video called “Choices”. The short film captures how UNDP’s programmes have given more options for a better quality of life to the Afghan people.
The film was mostly shot in the scenic valley of Panjshir, about two hours drive north of Kabul. Here, in Ghozo Omerz village, UNDP has built a 40-meter bridge built that’s used by 120 families.
5 June 2016, Kabul – Today is World Environment Day and here in Afghanistan we celebrated with the country’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest.
Organized by UNDP in partnership with Saba TV and the National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA), the contest aimed to raise awareness and encourage action to tackle environmental challenges facing Afghanistan
The report, entitled “Shaping the Future: How Changing Demographics Can Power Human Development”, notes that Asia-Pacific countries now have more working-aged people and fewer dependents than at any point in history, providing a springboard for growth. Region-wide, 68 percent of people are of working age and only 32 percent are dependents.
Panjshir, 19 April 2015 — Before 2015, Pyawasht village in Panjshir had no electricity. Doctors stumbled over mountain roads to reach their patients, kids couldn’t study after sundown, and women gave birth in the dark.
14 April 2016 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced today that it will launch its new human development report “Shaping the Future: How Changing Demographics Can Power Human Development,” on April 26 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
17 March 2016, Kabul – Daud killed his first ibex when he was only 12 years old. His father would wake him up in the middle of the night to go hunting, and they’d set out together in the dark, Daud so afraid that his hands would shake. Later on, he’d learn to kill with calm efficiency.
Nangarhar, 6 March 2016 – At 19 years of age, Gul Bashra had completed school, finished two years of midwifery training, and was all set to realize her lifelong dream of bringing better healthcare to her fellow Afghans in Nangarhar. There was just one problem. As a child, she’d been engaged to one of her cousins....
24 February 2016, Kabul — Farida Alam is UNDP Afghanistan’s longest-serving member of staff. She’s been with us for 25 years – a period in which Afghanistan and UNDP have seen astonishing changes. Born in 1966 – one year after Afghanistan changed from an absolute monarchy into a democracy – Farida was in...
Herat, 15 February 2016 — Twenty-three-year-old Noor Ahmad drives a motorbike in Herat to support his family. His father has two wives and two sets of children, which is common in parts of Afghanistan. One day, rivalries between these two sides of the one family boiled over. It nearly pulled his life apart. “I got a...
10 February 2016, Kabul — UNDP’s Human Development Report 2015 launch kicked of Tuesday afternoon at the American University of Afghanistan with an impressive turnout—over two hundred civil society activists, government officials, private sector representatives, journalists, students and UN staff, with one third...
Our focus is helping Afghanistan build and share solutions to the challenges of: