Afghanistan's State of Environment - 2008

Report / Paper

Afghanistan's State of Environment - 2008

ORGANISER: National Environmental Protection Agency of Afghanistan and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


September 2008



This report provides readers with an overview of the key environmental issues, factors and drivers of environmental change in Afghanistan, and highlights the latest achievements and prospects ahead. It is the First State of Environment (SOE) Report for Afghanistan, produced by the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) with assistance from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in accordance with section 9 (12) of the Environment Law, 2007. It is designed for both a national audience (Government officials, community leaders, and natural resource policy-makers at a central and local level) and the broader international community: donors and international organizations, policymakers n neighboring countries, people and institutes interested in Afghanistan. It provides in a consolidated format the best available information and also identifies gaps in data on the state of the environment.

Each chapter of the report gives an overview of the context, importance and use of natural resources, what is known about their current conditions, trends and linkages to regional or global factors. The report also reveals how Afghanistan’s natural resources – if managed in an efficient and sustainable manner – could provide the basis for future economic growth and stability.


Afghanistan, with its rich natural resources, will gain substantially from mainstreaming environmental protection into the reconstruction agenda and the national budget. This will help the country to meet the basic prerequisites for sustainable development. If the current environmental problems in Afghanistan are not fully addressed, they will have dramatic impacts on the people and the economy. In Afghanistan, as in many developing countries, environmental degradation and sustainable development are inextricably linked to livelihoods, poverty reduction and human health. In other words, for the people of Afghanistan conservation and sustainable use of natural resources holds the key to their quality of life, and in many cases, to life over death.

Environmental management in Afghanistan has come a long way during the last 5 years. With the establishment of NEPA and the promulgation of Afghanistan’s first Environment Law in 2005, the country took two major steps towards sustainable development and the integration of environmental issues into development strategies. But much more needs to be done to secure a safe and productive environment for our people and the generations to come.