Kabul (Afghanistan), 1 May 2014 - The Government of Afghanistan takes vital steps to protect the country’s biodiversity and preserve its unique landscapes with the release of its first ever National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

As years of warfare, drought, and new settlements have taken a toll on the nation’s biodiversity resources, UNEP has partnered with the Government of Afghanistan to assess the status of these precious ecosystems and determine how best to promote their sustainable conservation. 

Afghanistan boasts a wide range of wildlife, plants, and environmental services vital to daily life. Farmers depend on the variety of crops and livestock to withstand disease and variable rainfall. Reduced biodiversity means that local communities are under direct threat of losing access to fresh water and food supply, as it becomes more vulnerable to pests and disease.

Accelerating decline and loss in biodiversity in the country have already decreased the capacity of many ecosystems to provide indispensable services, and have limited the opportunities for sustainable development. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has estimated the value of ecosystem services, such as provision of food, water, fuel, or soil, pollution absorption, coastal protection, and recovery from natural disasters, to USD 33 trillion a year.

The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Afghanistan (NBSAP) which covers a three year period (2014-2017), aims to reduce biodiversity degradation and protect the goods and services gained from ecosystems. The strategy and action plan will monitor Afghanistan’s flora and fauna, protect ecosystems by expanding protected areas, and promote a better understanding of Afghanistan’s biodiversity. To achieve this, the strategy includes assessments and overviews of available information such as previous field work, status reporting and analysis undertaken by various organizations, as well as unpublished information from UNEP and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on Afghanistan’s biodiversity and its current status.

The NBSAP also seeks to clarify the boundaries and legal status of each of the protected areas. It will facilitate the management of these protected by encouraging accession to the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty that represents the member countries’ commitment to protect wetlands located on their territories, and support internationally important waterbird populations.

Years of conflict have resulted in biodiversity loss and degradation in this large and ecologically diverse country. While much still remains to be documented in remote areas, monitoring efforts, additional survey work, and continuous support are necessary to ensure a sustainable conservation of Afghanistan’s biodiversity.

Notes to Editors:

The NBSAP is a result of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) developed in response to growing threats to species and ecosystems. The CBD is part of a world-wide commitment to sustainable development.

Afghanistan’s NBSAP has been produced by the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) in compliance with the Environment Law (2007) requirements, and with the technical guidance of a Biodiversity Working Group comprising 19 members such as senior representatives from Kabul University, NEPA, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAIL).

This work has been made possible with support from the Global Environmental Facility, the UK Department for International Development and the Government of Estonia.

For further information please contact:

Cassidy Travis, Communications Adviser, UNEP Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, Tel. +41 22 917 8839, email: Cassidy.travis@unep.org

UNEP Newsdesk (Nairobi) on Tel. +254 207623088, email: unepnewsdesk@unep.org

Download the Afghanistan's National Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan

English PDF

- Go to the Afghanistan publication page