Afghanistan is a country of dramatic landscapes, but life can be harsh for communities living in its remote mountain regions. Floods, landslides, avalanches, and droughts frequently devastate farmlands, destroy homes, harm livestock, and cause loss of life. These risks are exacerbated by decades of political instability and armed conflict that have weakened Afghanistan’s national institutions, damaged infrastructure, encouraged unsustainable agricultural practices, and fueled conflict and competition over scarce natural resources.
With dwindling natural assets, infrastructure, and services available, these mountain communities bear a heavy burden when hazards strike. Considering the challenges facing Afghanistan’s rural mountain communities, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) have partnered with the Government of Afghanistan and local communities to pilot ecosystem-based approaches to reduce the vulnerability and increase the resilience of mountain societies to natural hazards.
The overall objective of this project is to create a replicable demonstration model for community-based ecosystem restoration of relatively small mountain torrent catchments and to improve livelihoods through rebuilding natural capital and optimizing ecosystem services to minimize the impacts of natural hazards.