The United Nations’ environment arm and the government of Afghanistan have teamed up to reduce the landlocked country’s vulnerability to climate change.
The U.N. Environment Program will implement a $6 million climate initiative the Afghan government launched Thursday (Oct. 11). The initiative is the first of its kind in the largely agriculture-dependent country, according to UNEP. Afghanistan, whose major source of livelihood is agriculture, was among the countries most vulnerable to climate change, according to the Global Adaptation Institute’s ranking in 2011.
Improved water management will be among the projects under the initiative. Activities will include tree planting and gathering of wild seeds to be planted in overgrazed mountainsides, according to a press release. Other projects are community-based watershed management; improved terracing, agroforestry and agrosilvo pastoral systems; climate-related research and early warning systems; improved food security; and rangeland management.
The initiative will be carried out in the provinces of Badakhshan and Balkh, and several areas in the country’s central highlands region, including Koh-e Baba, Bamyan and Daikundi. Funding will mainly come from the Global Environment Facility, an organization that finances environment-related projects.
Through its National Environmental Protection Agency, the government and UNEP will be working with the Biodiversity Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society — funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development — and local Afghan organizations. Other key U.N. partners include the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.N. World Food Program and the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
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