Reducing Environmental Degradation: Provincial Conference on Environmental Protection in Badakhshan

31.01.2018
Yesterday, 120 community members and elders, civil society representatives and governmental employees attended the provincial feedback dialogue conference on reducing environmental degradation. In recent years, environmental protection has become a crucial topic in Afghanistan. The conference aimed at evaluating recent activities in this field, considering some for next year’s provincial strategy. The Legal Service in Afghanistan Organisation (LSAO) implemented the event, supported by the Afghan-German Cooperation’s programme for promoting the rule of law in Afghanistan (RoL).

At the event, one conference attendee, Ms Kanan Gul, emphasised, ‘Today is special; I have the unique chance to share my ideas for improving environmental protection in our province with the responsible authorities.’ The head of Badakhshan’s National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), Mr Ghulm Nabi Sarfaraz, added, ‘NEPA will consider the participants’ feedback and suggestions for improving environmental protection in next year’s provincial development plan.’

Environmental degradation is an important problem in Afghanistan. Even though environmental destruction can have direct consequences for people, public awareness is little. For example, uncontrolled deforestation increases the risk for draughts and floods. Environmental education programmes, voluntary community groups and strengthened capacities of environmental protection agencies are effective tools to fight this problem.

Thus, a series of events took place in Badakhshan throughout the last six months. They included various activities such as training sessions at governmental institutions, universities, and community development councils as well as awareness campaigns at schools. For example, LSAO conducted two six-day training activities in January, familiarising participants from various backgrounds with the national strategy on environmental protection and related laws. Yesterday’s provincial feedback dialogue conference was the final activity.

In addition, Deputy Governor Office, Mr. Abdul Basheir Tawhidy, inaugurated the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) new building in Balkh’s provincial capital Mazar-e Sharif. The department’s former building burned down in 2015. Afterwards, the DoJ moved to an inadequately equipped rental house. The Afghan-German Cooperation’s programme to promote the rule of law in Afghanistan (RoL) funded the new building’s construction to help ensuring the population’s access to justice. The German Consul General to Northern Afghanistan, Dr Robert Klinke, highlighted, ‘May this new building be a place to ensure both, the stability of the law and legal realtions and the sound administration of justice for all, individuals and communities alike.’

The programme Promotion of the Rule of Law in Afghanistan (RoL) is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The programme aims at ensuring the rule of law, a well-functioning judicial system and legal security in Afghanistan. To ensure legal security for all citizens, RoL has been supporting so-called Huquq bureaus which handled more than 77,000 civil cases since 2013. In the same time, to support higher legal education, RoL provided more than 30,000 books to Law and Sharia faculties, organised more than 150 courses on legal topics for students and lecturers and awarded more than 60 students with scholarships. RoL further trained almost 13,000 police staff to carry out duties according to law. The programme also emphasises promoting women’s rights and strengthening their access to justice as well as the job market.

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