Strengthening environmental coordination and supporting the development of institutions that oversee environmental management has been a central focus of UNEP’s work in Afghanistan.
In 2003, UNEP helped to establish Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), the country’s leading environmental policy-making and regulatory institution. Since its inception in 2004, and formal recognition under national legislation in 2007, UNEP has worked to strengthen and grow NEPA by providing technical assistance and facilitating coordination and consultations among key stakeholders. This support has helped to ensure environmental considerations are included in key government and development strategies.
At the provincial level, UNEP is supporting environmental planning and institutional development through NEPA and key line ministries dealing with water, energy, and rural development. This has included assistance with drafting national strategy documents on environmental conservation, rangeland and forest management, watershed management, agriculture and climate change. UNEP also provides curriculum development training and guidance to enable NEPA to train its staff in 32 provinces across Afghanistan and building the capacity of provincial environmental councils.
Within the international community, UNEP serves a key technical advisor to the United Nations, donor community and international NGOs on environmental policy and best practice on environmental issues in Afghanistan. This includes policy support on crosscutting environmental issues as well as technical guidance notes to UN partners for large joint projects.
Other achievements include:
- Development of the National Environmental Strategy of Afghanistan and integration of environmental considerations into relevant ministry and sector strategies within the development process of Afghanistan's National Development Strategy.
- Establishment of the inter-ministerial Committee for Environmental Coordination and the National Environmental Advisory Council, fora to ensure national participation and inter-ministerial coordination with regard to the implementation of NEPA's mandate and the effective integration of environmental considerations into government policies and public life.