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Afghanistan launches US$71 million initiative to prepare rural communities for climate change

Enhancing gender-sensitive disaster risk reduction in, and by, vulnerable communities, is a key pillar of the LDCF2 project. Credit: UNDP Afghanistan / S. Omer Sadaat

December 13 2017, Kabul – The Government of Afghanistan, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Least Developed Countries Fund, has launched a new multi-million dollar project aimed at insulating vulnerable Afghan communities from the worst impacts of climate change.

With a particular focus on women and marginalized groups, the new $US71.1 million project – financed with a $5.6 million grant from the GEF Least Developed Countries Fund and co-financing from the Government of Afghanistan ($5 million), Asian Development Bank ($57 million), World Bank ($2.5 million), and UNDP ($1 million) – will promote community-based preparedness and adaptation in the highly vulnerable provinces of Jawzjan and Nangarhar.

“Climate change is a real and present threat affecting Afghanistan” said H.E Nasir Ahmad Durrani, Minister for Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), opening the launch event. “While we have been taking steps to build resilience, under the National Adaptation Programme of Action, this new project represents a leap forward, helping build public awareness of climate change risks, strengthen institutional capacities to respond to the challenges, and critically, involving local communities in decision-making.”

Over the next five years, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock will lead implementation of the project, with a focus on four main pillars: enhancing gender-sensitive disaster risk reduction in, and by, vulnerable communities; establishing community-based early warning systems; promoting climate-resilient agricultural practices and livelihoods; and working with national, provincial and district-level government institutions to better integrate climate change into planning.

The project will work closely with a range of local institutions, including men and women’s shuras and cooperatives, community-based organizations, civil society organizations and NGOs, to maximize the voice of women, youth and others in decision-making.

Increased frequency and severity of droughts, as well as changes in rainfall, glacial lake outflows and increased flash flood risk, are already evident in Afghanistan. The human and economic impacts are devastating.

In 2012, more than 380 disaster incidents – including flooding – were recorded in 195 districts and resulted in 479 deaths and damage to almost 30,000 homes. In 2014, heavy, sustained rainfall in April caused flash floods in 27 districts which resulted in more than 150 deaths and the displacement of approximately 16,000 people.

It is estimated that 80% of Afghanistan’s economic losses are caused by climate-induced disasters, in combination with extreme winters.

“Around three quarters of Afghans are reliant on agriculture for their income and livelihoods. This renders communities highly vulnerable to climate-driven disasters affecting crops and livestock,” said the Project Manager. “The provinces of Jawzjan and Nangarhar are considered especially vulnerable due to a dependence on rain-fed agriculture, widespread poverty and limited resources to invest in adaptation and risk reduction. Projections indicate that annual rainfall will continue to decrease, with greater variability between seasons – we must be prepared.”

“With no escape from climate change, building the resilience of local governments and communities is an urgent priority,” said UNDP Country Director, Jocelyn Mason. “This project will help reduce losses and damages resulting from climate-driven disasters; facilitate recovery from climate-shocks; and underpin progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals in Afghanistan.”

For more information on the project ‘Adapting Afghan Communities to Climate-Induced Disaster Risks’, please visit

The project begins implementation this week.


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Photos are available upon request.


Ms. Kate Jean Smith, Communications Specialist, Climate Change Adaptation, Bangkok Regional Hub M. +66 9 5002 5120

Mr. Reis Lopez Rello, Regional Technical Advisor, Climate Change Adaptation, Bangkok Regional Hub, Tel: +66 2304 9100 ext. 5286