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Afghanistan: Building rural resilience to cope with climate change

A new consortium underway in Afghanistan seek to invest in local adaptive capacities to promote self-reliance and resilience of households and communities affected by climate shocks. The new project involves four local and three international NGOs and is called ‘Building Resilient Communities for Sustainable Development in Rural Afghanistan’.

Posted on 29 Sep 2023

Following a near half-century of protracted conflict and political instability, Afghanistan remains one of the most complex crises of our age. The recent years have deepened profound uncertainty for many rural Afghan communities, marked by recurring drought, large-scale conflict, the collapse of the former government, and the severe economic recession that followed.

It is estimated that 70 percent of the population in Afghanistan currently lives outside the mainstream market economy. Their vulnerability and reliance on external aid is further endangered by the current complex crisis.

We see tangible and strong evidence of how climate change is weakening the potential for agriculture to sustain Afghanistan’s economy and food security. This is then directly linked to an increase in both the number of food insecure people and the severity of food insecurity

/  Joyce Dalgliesh, Country Director for DRC in Afghanistan

The climate crisis is especially hard on subsistence smallholder farmers and agro-pastoralist communities who live on marginal land. An earlier DRC assessment confirmed that the food security and livelihoods of rural, agro-pastoralist communities have been severely affected by the recent conflict and environmental impacts.

Farming communities are also exposed to risks related to sudden onset events, such as largescale loss of assets in the wake of an earthquake. Contributing to communities’ exposure to climate-related risks and food insecurity is the widespread use of unsustainable agricultural practices and the mismanagement and degradation of natural resources. As a result, impoverished communities are unable to respond to the changes engendered by the climate crisis, eventually compounding its effects.

The latest project in Afghanistan is designed to enable individuals and households to move away from external reliance and towards meeting their basic needs independently and sustainably. The project will explore how to restore communities’ ability to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from future shocks – including natural hazards – and reduce their chronic vulnerability.

Starting in 2023, the three-year project will be implemented by a consortium of local and international NGOs that, among a range of interventions, will introduce climate-smart activities to address food security as well as mitigate risks arising from disputes over natural resources.

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