Afghanistan’s population is facing a growing array of environmental problems including unrelenting deforestation and land degradation, uncontrolled urbanization and solid waste disposal, worsening air and water pollution, depletion of groundwater, illegal wildlife hunting and timber trade, expanding mining footprint including informal artisanal quarrying, limited renewable energy alternatives, and more frequent and severe floods, droughts, and landslides. Insecurity in large parts of the country, poor infrastructure, and the accelerating impacts of climate change are seriously limiting efforts to get a better grip of the deteriorating situation and its effects on human well-being.
With a view to increasing the awareness and understanding of environmental threats and catalysing appropriate remedial solutions, the National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA) and UN Environment organized a three-day training and planning workshop in Kabul from 4-6 March 2019 to help build the foundations for an integrated State of the Environment Reporting system in Afghanistan. Over 60 experts from the central government, provincial and municipal authorities, academia, civil society and non-governmental organizations, media, and UN agencies participated in the event which sought to transfer the tools, best practices and lessons learned by UN Environment through its Global Environment Outlook (GEO) process to Afghanistan.
While two State of the Environment Reports on Afghanistan have already been published, this will be the first time that it will be prepared through the collaboration of various national partners coordinated by the National Environmental Protection Agency, with a longer-term view to ensure the sustainability of the process and not as a single standalone report.
UN Environment’s press release was published on the One UN for Afghanistan website, while NEPA widely publicised the meeting through its Facebook page. This training workshop, including the development of the action plan for Afghanistan’s State of the Environment report, was generously supported by the European Commission under the Opportunities for Mountain Area Integrated Development project which started in late 2018.