A major goal for WCS throughout its work in Afghanistan is to help the government extend its reach and rule of law to all corners of the country. The results obtained from WCS’s ecological research form the basis of recommendations made when assisting with drafting management plans, policies and legislation. Through the work of the government, WCS, and many partners, wildlife in Afghanistan now have significantly more legislation on which to base protection than 10 years ago. Some highlights include:
- Established new legislation to protect wildlife and habitat: Facilitated the formation of a legislative drafting group that included government officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), and individuals from several national and international organizations such as the Lawyer’s Union of Afghanistan, local community members in Band-e- Amir and the Wakhan, UNEP, FAO, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit. The group was instrumental in drafting and reviewing national legislation such as the Environment and Forestry Laws.
- Established new legislation to protect wildlife and habitat: Helped draft or provided technical input into various laws and policies, including the Environment Law (2007), Forestry Law (2012), draft Rangeland Law, draft Hunting Law, draft CITES regulation, Interim Tarzulamal on Protected Areas (2009), Protected Species List, National Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection plan (2013), draft National Bird Policy.
- Developed Protected Area Planning: Led the development of the Afghan Government’s National Protected Area System Plan in 2010, a comprehensive plan to conserve a balanced representation of Afghanistan’s ecosystems, flora and fauna.
- Increased knowledge of Afghanistan’s environmental laws: Trained the Afghan Lawyers Union (ALU), legislators, the judiciary, and key members of the government on environmental law and regulations in Afghanistan.
- Increased cross-border conservation collaboration: Initiated discussions at agency and ministry level in Afghanistan and co-sponsored the region’s first international trans-boundary conference on wildlife and habitat conservation in the Wakhan’s Pamir region, in Urumqi, China. This conference was attended by high-level government officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and Tajikistan and served to increase cross-border conservation collaboration and communication.