Afghanistan is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A high proportion of Afghans rely on climate-sensitive sectors, particularly agriculture and animal husbandry. Uncertain and extreme climatic conditions such as droughts, floods and erratic rainfall patterns impact on the productivity of these sectors. Climate change therefore poses a direct threat to marginalised, vulnerable communities and sustainable economic development in the country.
Action on Climate Today (ACT) is supporting the Government of Afghanistan in developing climate-sensitive policies and finance frameworks through planning and budgeting processes.
ACT realises that the effects of climate change are experienced locally by communities and local institutions and that these stakeholders are best placed to address them. For this reason, ACT believes it is important to ensure the active cooperation of local institutions and government stakeholders in building their capacity for climate-resilient development. ACT is therefore building on existing local networks and engaging a wide variety of stakeholders in bringing the climate change agenda to the fore. These stakeholders include the local media, academics, civil societies, development partners and government officials.
ACT aims to strengthen national policy and the institutional framework to identify and minimise the impacts of climate change risks on economic development in Afghanistan. It focuses on mainstreaming climate change into national programmes and policies through the following measures:
Building capacity to understand climate change
ACT is developing an evidence-based economic case for mainstreaming climate change into development planning. Through economic impact assessments, ACT is demonstrating the impact of climate change, building understanding and strengthening political will for action. More widely, ACT is strengthening the knowledge of climate change by integrating the topic into the curriculum of the Environmental Science of Kabul University.
ACT’s work at Kabul University includes assessing the existing capacity of the Environmental Science Faculty, and strengthening it further for in-depth research and teaching expertise. The programme is also identifying avenues for leveraging donor support to ensure the long-term sustainability of research. This objective will help develop a knowledge base and a firm foundation for disseminating information on climate risks, responsive mechanisms and resilience strategies.
Strengthening the national policy framework for adaptation
ACT is strengthening the national policy framework for adaptation by integrating climate change concerns into key national policies and programmes. To do this, the programme is identifying key risks of climate change for natural resources, food, water and livelihood security. Building on the economic impact assessments, ACT is engaging with critical line ministries to identify adaptation strategies and to climate proof existing national programmes such as the Natural Resource Strategy, the National Environment Strategy, the National Forest Management Plan and the Strategic Policy Framework for the Water Sector.
Accessing climate finance
Climate finance is critical for implementing climate-resilient policies and plans in Afghanistan. ACT is therefore supporting the Government of Afghanistan in identifying and accessing climate finance opportunities for the country. This includes setting up accreditation mechanisms for key climate funds (such as the Green Climate Fund), developing frameworks for accessing finance, and assisting the Ministry of Finance in integrating climate change into development budgets.
In its efforts to build climate resilience in Afghanistan, ACT is working with a range of partners. These are: the National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA), the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL), the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Kabul University. Within MAIL, the National Resource Management department, which is responsible for forests, rangelands and protected areas, serves as the entry point for integrating climate change into development planning.
By taking this partnership approach, ACT will ensure that building climate resilience in Afghanistan is a truly integrated process. Only by incorporating climate resilience into all relevant aspects of Afghan policy can the country ensure that rural livelihoods are viable and sustainable.
Ahmad Zubair Fattahi, Team Leader
T: +93 7882 54141