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Jon's Blog

My Work With UNEP in Afghanistan

from 2009 to 2013 Update


November 2013


UNEP Photos 2013


United Nations Environment Programme:

I left mid-September for Dubai and Kabul, where I completed a 24day UNEP mission (my second this year, fifth with UNEP and seventh overall). These were 12-14 hour days advising and assisting the UNEP Afghanistan country team expand their 2009-2o12 program for one province (Bamyan) with 18 villages to six provinces and perhaps 50 villages. The work remains about the same, a) supporting line ministries such as National Environmental Protection Agency, Agriculture, Rural Development and others at national and district levels, including policy development and capacity building, b) Environmental planning at landscape and village scales, c) sustainable rural development and appropriate village technology, d) eco-based disaster risk reduction and e) developing climate change resilience. Importantly, all of these initiatives support each other, one reason for UNEP’s success in attracting international development funds. And this success leads to the need for rapid expansion and the long work hours.

In addition I helped with overall communication strategies and ‘knowledge products’,  a steady stream of project briefs, handbooks, manuals and policy papers needed to share and spread information and experience locally, regionally and globally.  My contribution, while valuable as an experienced greybeard and innovator, is modest compared to the full time efforts and dedication and the UNEP staff, nationals and expats alike. It is especially exciting to see the growth and dedication of several of the younger Afghan staff who will eventually inherit these opportunities responsibilities, creating their own future with their countrymen and women.

While working in Kabul is not nearly as dangerous as the global press would have us believe, it is still a difficult post. One of the real benefits of such posts is the people you meet and work with, extraordinary people with amazing stories, self-selected to take risks for what they believe in, yet with a healthy sense of humour.

Here are some photos of these people:

Hindu Kush at Sundset

INCARDA Badab Baghi H Akbery and A Manan at Dry Lands Test Plots

LCDF Climate Change Workshop 21 September 13 with speaker Abdula Manan

LCDF Climate Change Workshop 21 September 13 with speaker Abdula Manan

Lunch Meeting

UNEP office lunch meeting

Dr Dian Spear Sara Hodges at work

Dr Dian Spear Sara Hodges at work


Return to webpage Afghanistan 2009-2013


Last updated: December 2013