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Online Platform on Sustainable and Resilient Recovery from COVID-19

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Afghanistan

Director General, National Environmental Protection Agency

Schah-Zaman Maiwandi

In the name of God
The Merciful – The Compassionate


Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to thank the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and the UNFCCC Secretariat for the invitation to participate in the online Platform on Sustainable and Resilient Recovery form COVID-19, in order to share our experiences and views on climate action and environmental protection measures that are being considered or implemented, in the context of the response to and recovery from COVID-19.

The COVID-19 and climate crises are monumental global challenges that, when tackled in tandem through the prism of sustainable and resilient development, can create opportunities for policymakers, the public sector and civil society to use climate action to support rapid and inclusive recovery from COVID-19, framed around the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The decade of climate action and delivery for sustainable development therefore provides a key opportunity for countries to lay the groundwork for a brighter, low-carbon future.

Afghanistan has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to its weak health system and limited capacities to deal with this disease outbreak. This situation is worsened by the impacts of the ongoing conflict, instability and insecurity that result in internal displacement of Afghan communities and weak healthcare, water provision and sanitation systems. For example, approximately 30 percent of Afghanistan’s population only has limited access to basic healthcare services and adequate water, while access to sanitation facilities, coverage of vaccinations that strengthen immune systems and prevailing levels of hygiene remain low in the country. All of these factors constrain the ability to control various viral and bacterial infections.

In addition, loss of livelihoods is eroding communities’ resilience to shocks such as COVID-19 that overwhelm current coping mechanisms. More than 80 percent of Afghans are living below the international poverty line, leaving the munable to meet their needs and undermining their ability to maintain human dignity in their living conditions.

Currently, Afghanistan is in the respond and recover phases of dealing with COVID-19.The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has developed a master response plan for the health sector and established a High-Level Emergency Coordination Committee in the area of health with various technical working groups. These government bodies have the purpose of addressing the challenges raised by COVID-19, as well as overseeing the Emergency and National Aid Programs to provide an estimated 244 million US dollars of short-term economic relief impacted individuals and communities in Afghanistan. In addition, our Ministry of Finance allocated 25 million USD from the National Budget to table the COVID-19 outbreak across the country. The international community has committed 883 million worth of financial support, medical materials and food support to conduct the respond, recover and thrive phases in Afghanistan.

To address the challenges caused by COVID-19 in a manner that will also help to address the climate and environmental crises that the country is facing, the Government of Afghanistan already has plans to redesign policies and other measures to promote more sustainable and inclusive resilience. This includes actions such as:

・the revision of Afghanistan’s Nationally Determined Contributions and National
Adaptation Plan,

・preparation of the National Environmental Policy as well as the Third National Communications and Second Biennial Update Report under the UNFCCC,

・the implementation of projects for climate change adaptation and mitigation such as the Afghanistan Rural Energy Market Transformation Initiative, GCF Readiness II and Climate Change Resilient Livelihoods Advanced in Rural Afghanistan projects,

・establishment of a National Implementing Entity for the Adaptation Fund, and

・the 4rd annual celebration of the Global Climate Change Week across the country.

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is in close communication with bilateral and multilateral partners to actively engage Afghan citizens, civil society, the academic community, NGOs, and international partners in formulating and designing measures, plans and appropriate actions on both mitigation and adaptation to strengthen resilience against the climate and environmental crises. We thank these partners for their ongoing support for the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan towards addressing the growing threat of climate change. In line with this approach, the outcomes and follow-up actions resulting from our actions at both the global and national levels shall remain transparent as we continue to engage all Afghans –especially women, the youth and local communities–to address climate change.

To this end, we hope to maintain the current momentum of cooperation with bilateral and multilateral entities, sharing experiences and measures to build a sustainable and resilient society in the process of responding to, recovering from and thriving after the COVID-19 outbreak, and to increase international collaboration for high impact policy options to manage the multiple risks raised by COVID-19.

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Policies, measures and actions on climate change and
environmental protection in the context of COVID-19 recovery.

Afghanistan Afghanistan

Last update11 Sept. 2020

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Full text

Director General, National Environmental Protection Agency

Schah-Zaman Maiwandi

Categories

Response
Emergency measures in the short term (a few months to one year) to address concerns that have directly emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and may include forced action.
Recovery
Socioeconomic measures in the medium term (one to a few years) with an environmental and climate focus to “build back better” from COVID-19, and usually involves planned, intentional action.
Redesign
Paradigm shifts and measures in the long term (more than a few years to a few decades) toward redesigning current socioeconomic and sociocultural systems to be sustainable and resilient.

1.Climate mitigation measures

  • Transition to renewable energy

    Redesign
    Transition to renewable engery:
    The Governement of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has taken some actions and developed a series of projects and programs to explore the mitigation actions that will contribute for the reduction of GHG emissions. A project of 2000 MW solar power is under design in 5 provinces and is planned to start from 2020, a cross cutting project (Community based forest and land management) planned to be implemented in 5 provinces until 2024, and Technology Need Assessment project that will help in identifying the pathways how to reach the set targeted under the Paris agreement and meet the country maximizing sustainability outcome particularly reduction of GHG emissions.
    Referencehttps://documents.worldbank.org › curated › pdf › Afghanistan-Renewable
    ContactNational Water Affairs Regulation Authority and NEPA, Afghanistan
  • Sustainable transportation

    Redesign
    Sustainable Transportation:
    The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan prepared the Kabul City Transport system; this will not only help us to achieve the goal of SDG but also considerably reduce GHG emission, and is supposed to be conducted in three phases in 4 years to be completed.
    ContactMinistry of Transport

2.Climate adaptation measures

  • Adaptation planning

    Redesign
    Plans & Policies on Climate Change Adaptation:
    The Natonal Ebvrinmental Protection Agecny of the Islamic Republic of Afghnsitan as a part of its commitments to the UNFCCC and in order to strengthen climate protection measures has prepared two national communications, Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan ( ACCSAP), and having the plan to redesign in order to revise the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plan (NAP) as climate change adaptation measures on the context of COVID -19. Despite the country’s many competing development needs, Afghanistan has made steady progress towards mainstreaming climate change adaptation into national planning mechanisms and approaches. The premiere inter-ministerial coordination body for climate change is the National Climate Change Emergency Committee (NCCEC) that come together in order to provide valuable points for addressing climate in the areas of agriculture, biodiversity, forests and rangeland, energy, disaster preparedness, and water.
    ContactNational Environmrntal Protection Agency
  • Water

    Recovery
    Policies, measures and regulations on water sector:
    As mountains are the major sources of water in Afghanistan, the imapct of climate change on hydrology is likely to have significant repercussions not only in the mountains, but also in populated and lawland regions that depend on mountain water resources for domistic, agriculture, and industrial purposes as well as hydrology generation. Current climate change projection developed show that precipitation levels will remain relatviely stable up to 2100, but the overall increase in temperature across the country will lead to an increase in evaporation and evapotranspiration that will not be compensated by a sufficient increase in precipitation. The sectoral Inter-Ministerial Coordination Mechanisms are existence to work and address the climate change adaptation in water secor and redesign the policies and measures that address to water secor in Afghanistan. In addation to, the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghnaistan summarizes some policies, planning and legislation on water sector such as estabilishment of super council for water affairs management, high council on water and land, policy framework for the water sector, water sector strategy , national water master plan and regulation on control and safeguarding water quality to consider and address the climate change adaptation.
    ContactNational Water Affairs Regulation Authority and NEPA, Afghanistan
  • ResponseRecovery
    Policies, Plans and Measures on Agriculture Sector:
    As agriculture is the foundation of the country’s rural livelihoods and supports the majority of the country’s population. Climate Change has negative impacts on agricultural productivity and has myriad affects on the economy and food security of the country. The Government has taken some measures such as estabilishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on food security, sector-wide coordination mechanism in agriculture, resources management strategy, national biodiversity strategy and action plan, national forestry management plan and food management policy and strategy to ensure the food security and climate change adaptation.
    ContactMinistry of Agriculture, livestock and Irrigation, NEPA and its key stakeholders
  • Redesign
    Vunerability Assessement:
    The National Envrionmental Proetcion Agecny of the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan redesigned and developed the concept of the vulnerability assessement to condcut it in 34 provinces of Afghanistan to identtify the impacts of cliamte change on agriculture, water and forestry sectros to provide the adaptation guideline in the targated areas.
    ContactNEPA

3.Cross-cutting measures

  • Response
    Approval of Climate Change Adaptation Project:
    Recently, Afghansiatn receiced the approval of the Climate Change Resilient Livelihoods Advanced in Rural Afghanistan from Adaptation Fund to conduct this important project in the country in order to increase the resilience of the Afghan coomunity to the impacts of climate change which is designed project to overcome the climate change impcts and COVID-19 outbreak.
    ContactMRRD + NEPA
  • ResponseRecovery
    Approval of Climate Change Projects by GCF:
    The National Envrionmental Proetcion Agecny of the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan designed and recived the aproval of climate change adaptation and mitigation such as the Afghanistan Rural Energy Market Transformation Initiative, GCF Readiness II and Climate Change Resilient Livelihoods Advanced in Rural Afghanistan from Adaptation Fund to address the challenges of climate changes caused in a manner that will also help to address the climate and environmental crises to promote more sustainable and inclusive resilience raised by COVID-19.
    ContactMRRD + NEPA, and the national key stakeholders
  • Redesign
    Preparartion of the National Climate Change Reports:
    The National Envrionemntal Proection Agecny of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan redesigned the proposal of the preparation of the Third National Communications and Second Biennial Update Report under the UNFCCC with the collaboration of UNEP, and received the approval both projects from GEF to conduct them soon. These two national plans could be a cross -cutting measures at the national level that we can assess and include the mitigation, adapataion and finance prospectives in the context of these two plans to overcome climate changes impacts and response and recover the COVID-19 outbreak.
    ContactNEPA+UNEP
  • Redesign
    Celebration of Global Climate Change Week:
    The National Environmnetal Protection Agecny of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is going to celebrate the 4rd annual celebration of the Global Climate Change Week across the country in order to promote the awareness due to climate change, encourage the policy makers and integrate the climate change issues into national policies and planning.
    ContactNEPA

4.Other environmental measures

  • ResponseRecovery
    Preparation of Environmental Policies:
    The National Envrironmental Protection Agecny of the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is working to design the preparation of the following policies in the context of COVID-19 such as Envrionmental, Clean Transport , and Plastic policies.
    ContactNEPA

5.International Cooperation

  • Redesign
    International Supports:
    As a low income country, Afghanistan needs continued international support to fight the pandemic COVID19. According to UNDP GTAP model (A-GTAP-CGE) for Afghanistan, estimated the short term impact of COVID19, needs short to medium term funding to tackle COVID 19. International community committed to help to overcome this pandemic through multiple channel. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is in close communication with bilateral and multilateral partners to actively engage Afghan citizens, civil society, the academic community, NGOs, and international partners in formulating and designing measures, plans and appropriate actions on both mitigation and adaptation to strengthen resilience against the climate and environmental crises. For insstance: The NDC is the national document which core focus is on adaptation and mitigation, and finance. It emphasized to reduce 13.6 reduction in GHG emission by 2030 based on conditional support to implement its projected programs and projects. It is required to redesign to update the major gaps and integrate the health sector to response the unpredicted health issues such as COVID-19.
    ContactMultiple Agencies