One of Afghanistan's most beautiful and important landscapes, Shah Foladi was declared Afghanistan's third nationally protected area.

Bamyan, 05 June 2015 – Today, on World Environment Day, the National Environmental Protection Agency of Afghanistan declared the Shah Foladi region the country’s newest protected area. Located in the Hindu Kush, one of Afghanistan’s most beautiful and fascinating landscapes, the Shah Foladi Valley spans over 700 km2. The area is not only of natural significance but cultural too, situated near the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bamyan city. More than 5,000 people live in the area, which is part of the larger Koh-e Baba Mountain Range in the Central Highlands and is crowned by the impressive Shah Foladi peak that rises 5,050 meters above sea level. 

Since 2002, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has supported the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conserve and protect its environment and natural heritage. In the Central Highlands, UNEP and the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) have worked closely together on the establishment of the Shah Foladi area as the country’s third nationally protected area, home to a diverse range of endemic plant and animal species. The area is of recognized importance globally as a key area for more than 270 species of migratory birds. 

In the midst of an arid country, the Shah Foladi area is covered with snow throughout most of the year and is a nationally important watershed that feeds nearly all of Afghanistan’s major river systems, including the Harirud, Helmand, Kabul, Kunduz, and Balkh rivers. Much of the area also consists of high elevation rangelands that support diverse wild plant and animal species, and provide the local population with vital plant species for fuel, food, and medicine, and the means for animal production. 

“It is my great pleasure to launch Shah Foladi as a national protected area as part of World Environment Week celebrations in Afghanistan.” stated  H.E. Mostapha Zaher, the Director-General of NEPA, on the occasion of the official declaration of the Shah Foladi protected area. 

The declaration of the Shah Foladi area as a protected zone represents the latest in a series of measures to conserve Afghanistan’s natural heritage and build national understanding of environmental issues. With growing capacity to manage and protect these areas, Afghanistan is taking major steps towards ensuring future generations will benefit from these beautiful landscapes. 

For more information, please contact:

Andrew Scanlon
Country Programme Manager
UNEP Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch

Sophie Brown
Communications Advisor
UNEP Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch

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