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New training courses on the Environment in Afghanistan

In a context where there has been chronic drought, recurring floods and more than three decades of conflict with devastating effects on the natural environment and natural resources, the integration of environmental considerations into humanitarian programmes seemed a very important topic to include in the courses provided to aid actors in Afghanistan. Two courses will be taking place in February.

Since July 2010, Groupe URD has been involved in a partnership with ACBAR – the agency which coordinates NGOs in Afghanistan – in connection with a project to improve the training courses on offer to Afghan civil society organisations.

On the strength of the success of the initial training sessions in Kabul, and taking into account the demand for new training courses, the project entered a second phase in October 2011.

After discussions with different actors from Afghan civil society to assess training needs, Groupe URD developed a new module on integrating environmental considerations into the design and implementation of humanitarian programmes in Afghanistan.

In a national context marked by chronic drought, recurring floods and, more generally, by more than three decades of conflict which have had a devastating effect on the natural environmental and its resources, the integration of environmental considerations in humanitarian programmes appeared to be an important issue to include in the courses provided to aid actors in Afghanistan.

In addition, though the environmental imperative is a major issue for all actors working towards the sustainable recovery of the country, it is particularly so for humanitarian organisations. Indeed, crises tend to cause a great deal of damage to the natural environment, increasing the vulnerability of the population, but the humanitarian operations which are implemented in response can themselves have a negative impact on the environment. Not taking environmental considerations into account in relief operations can therefore reduce their effectiveness and subsequently cause more damage and fragility.

The new training module – for which several interviews were carried out in Kabul with the Minister in charge of environmental affairs (NEPA), UNEP and different NGOs – aims to help aid actors understand the importance of integrating the environment into humanitarian action. The course will provide the participants with the theory and practical skills needed to achieve this objective. An initial session will be held in Kabul on 11-13 February, and a second on 17-19 February.

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