Afghanistan is experiencing the most devastating impacts of climate change, according to the country's envoy at the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting.
Speaking at the 15th meeting of the UN Human Rights Council on the issues of climate change and its impact on human rights, Mohibullah Taib, Counsellor of Human Rights at the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Geneva, said hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan face the possibility of being displaced due to climate change, and that natural disasters in the country's north and northeast have also created a number of difficulties.
“In Afghanistan, the most vulnerable continue to remain at the highest risk from the devastating impacts of climate change. Afghanistan is prone to seasonal flooding, landslides, avalanches, droughts, other extreme weather events and earthquakes, leaving hundreds of thousands vulnerable to displacement. These natural disasters risk severe distractions, particularly in the north and northeast of the country,” said Mohibullah Taib, Counsellor of Human Rights at the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Geneva.
In the meantime, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report that climate projections available for Afghanistan suggest a future of higher temperatures, reduced rainfall, higher evapotranspiration and increased frequency of extreme events such as droughts, storms, floods, landslides and avalanches.
“Afghanistan is facing a complex crisis in which natural disasters and climate-related shocks affect communities already reeling from decades of protracted conflict and compounding crises. Afghanistan is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, ranked the 8th most vulnerable country in the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index due to its high sensitivity and low adaptive capacity,” the report reads.
"The lack of water or unseasonal rains can have an unfortunate effect on the citizens and farmers of Afghanistan. They are forced to move to other cities,” said Kazem Homayoun, an environmentalist.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock noted that last year's droughts in Afghanistan's northern parts resulted in a decrease in the quantity of crops collected there.
"This year, due to drought in the northern provinces, agriculture has been affected, but in the provinces where we have rain, there have been good crops compared to last year,” said Mesbahuddin Mostain, the ministry’s spokesperson.
OCHA noted in the report that located in one of the most seismically active regions in the world, Afghanistan has a long history of earthquakes – particularly in the mountainous Hindu Kush Region bordering Pakistan.
According to the report, in 2022, the number of recorded sudden-onset disasters, such as floods and earthquakes, was higher than preceding years and it is anticipated that this pattern may become the norm moving ahead.