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World Wildlife Day celebrated in Afghanistan

For the first time ever, Afghanistan celebrated World Wildlife Day in an event organised by UNEP to raise awareness about the country’s wild diversity and the importance of protecting its species.


The celebration was held on 5 March together with the country’s National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, and marks an important step in raising awareness of wildlife conservation in the state.


The event was held at the Kol-e-Hashmat Khan Waterfowl Reserve in Kabul, a wetland of international importance as a stopping point for seasonal migratory bird species traveling between South Asia and Central Asia.


Afghanistan is home to a large variety of wildlife species, including snow leopards, Marco Polo sheep, ibex, markhor, black and brown bears, saker falcon, and more than 3,500 endemic plant species. However, years of conflict, illegal wildlife hunting and trading, habitat loss and climate change led to many of them being endangered.


“Afghanistan is one of the richest countries in the world in regards to biological diversity,” stated Mr. Mohebullah Fazli from NEPA. “Afghanistan has more flora species than the whole of Europe, but unregulated exploitation, conflict, and poverty have greatly impacted our country’s natural resources over recent years,” he explained.


UNEP's work in Afghanistan is supported by the operational hub of the Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, based in Geneva. The Afghanistan programme has received strong support over many years by European donors including the UK's DFID.


Since 2002, UNEP has supported the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conserve and protect its environment and natural heritage. This has included working hand-in-hand with the Government to develop its National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, an essential component to protecting the country’s wildlife for current and future generations.


Read more by clicking here or follow UNEP’s work in the country on Facebook here. Reports from global celebrations of World Wildlife Day can also be read here.


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