Case-Study Details

Main Information
Title Afghanistan: Case study on the integration of biodiversity into national environmental assessment procedures
Type of Information Other
Description In Afghanistan there is a growing recognition of the need for protection of biodiversity 
and the associated benefits from conservation and sustainable utilization of these 
resources. Unfortunately, many human factors cause loss of biodiversity and many 
people even among the authorities are unaware about the values that can be associated 
with biodiversity. The general trend is toward decreasing number of species of both wild 
plants and animals. In poor countries (and Afghanistan is not an exception) where the 
minimum daily subsistence caloric intake is an issue; it is hardly surprising that concern 
over the longer-term conservation of species is a low priority. This has catastrophic 
effects, especially for edible species. 
The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity "depends fundamentally on 
integrating biodiversity concerns into decisions made in every facet of our lives" (Bagri 
et al, 1998). While the continuum of human decision-making is vast, EIA is widely 
recognized as an important mechanism for systematically considering the likely impacts 
of development proposals before decisions are made, and has been widely adopted in 
approval processes for development applications. 
While EIA has always tackled impacts on flora and fauna, and endangered habitats and 
species, it was only recently that biodiversity has received explicit attention in 
Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), particularly in terms of impacts expressed at the 
level of genomes or, at the other extreme, ecosystem. Its treatment in EIA has paralleled 
the wider community's growing understanding of the range of variation encompassed by 
the term 'biodiversity' and of the steady diminution of habitat resulting from the 
cumulative effects of human development. 
No example can be cited where biodiversity has been considered during any assessments 
in Afghanistan. Biodiversity concerns are not reflected and managed through any 
screening or regulatory including EIA for the following reasons: 
- No comprehensive EIA procedure so far exists in the country to include biodiversity. 
- Appreciation of and information about the values of biodiversity among the public 
and government authorities are almost non-existent. 
- There is no an authorized framework to follow closely the developmental planning.There is no screening mechanism to check whether a proposed action could culminate 
in biodiversity loss in the country. 
- There is very little or no conservation education to inculcate the value and benefits of 
biodiversity among the general public for the prosperity of present and future 
- Information about biodiversity is not sufficient and in most cases is non-existent. 
Some information that was gathered before the war is still used in the scientific 
circles. Even this information is hardly available now due to destruction of 
institutions and their libraries. 
- Conditions of War for over two decades now and the conditions this has created in 
the form of abject poverty and lack of basic amenities make many people less careful 
about the future. 
- Every action other than relief is considered luxurious even among the donor 
communities. There is no outlet for helping Afghanistan save its resources and ensure 
their wiser utilization even among the UN Agencies that naturally should have been 
concerned about the present devastating trend in the country. Unfortunately, the UN 
has been entangled in the policies and influenced by the affluent countries to impose a 
ban on the country already being devastated by war. The ban has severely affected 
the drive toward revitalization of its institutions and the economy thus deteriorating 
the life of Afghans and making them even less well disposed towards preservation of 
natural resources, biodiversity included.
Web Link /impact/case-studies/cs-impact-ibneap-af-en.pdf
Additional Information
Reference / Citation UNDP/UNEP/GEF-BPSP “The Integration of Biodiversity into National Environmental Assessment Procedures - National Case Studies – India”, September 2001.
Programme Areas Impact Assessment
Ecosystem Approach
Countries Afghanistan
Keywords Environmental impact assessment
National biodiversity strategy and action plan
EIA system