Communities empowered to protect Afghanistan’s natural resources in the face of climate change

27 Apr 2014

imageUNDP Afghanistan: UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator for Afghanistan, Mr. Mark Bowden, and Director-General of the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of Afghanistan, Mr. Mostapha Zaher, exchanging the project documents.

Kabul: Two projects supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to help local communities manage natural resources and protect livelihoods in the face of climate change, were launched today in the presence of top-level Afghan Government and United Nations representatives.

The projects are funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) which provides US$ 15.4 million to protect biodiversity, adapt to climate change and support livelihoods in the provinces of Badakhshan, Balkh, Bamyan, Herat, Panjshir and Uruzgan. UNDP is adding $2 million to support these initiatives.

The projects will help Afghan communities withstand the effects of climate change and manage natural resources, including water. Although 60 percent of the Afghan workforce is employed in agriculture, most cultivable land receives less than 400mm of precipitation per year. As the climate changes, Afghanistan is facing prolonged drought, erratic rainfall and extreme temperatures which are negatively affecting agricultural productivity. The poorest Afghans are the most vulnerable to these changing conditions.

One project, “Strengthening the Resilience of Rural Livelihood Options for Afghan Communities”, will respond to the disaster risks of climate change by building awareness and planning capacity, demonstrating adaptation activities, and promoting appropriate policy measures. The second project, “Establishing integrated models for protected areas and their co-management”, will establish a strong framework for a nation-wide system of Protected Areas, and promote Sustainable Land Management practices to manage natural resources and protect biodiversity, with particular emphasis on the economic empowerment of women.

Both projects will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and will run for five years from 2014 to 2018.

Today’s signing ceremony was attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), Mr. Mohammad Asif Rahimi; the Director-General of the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of Afghanistan, Mr. Mostapha Zaher; the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), Mr. Tariq Ismati; the UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator for Afghanistan, Mr. Mark Bowden; and the UNDP Country Director for Afghanistan, Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez.

Contact Information

Contact Information: Sayeed Farhad Zalmai, Communications Associate, UNDP Afghanistan. Phone:0790509133, Email:fahad.zalmai@undp.org

About the Global Environmental Facility (GEF):
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international organizations, civil society organizations, and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. The GEF provides funding for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, sustainable forest management, land degradation, international waters and elimination of harmful chemicals. Since 1991, the GEF has achieved a strong track record providing $12.5 billion in grants and leveraging $58 billion in co-financing for over 3,690 projects in over 165 countries.