Improved Livelihoods and Governance through Natural Resource Management (ILGNRM)


Three decades of war and civil unrest have wreaked havoc on both Afghanistan‟s environment and the lives of its people. Since over 80 percent of the population live in rural areas and depend economically on the country‟s natural resource base, effective management of these resources is absolutely critical. The most urgent threats to the Afghan environment include over-hunting, deforestation, dry land farming, water diversion, over-grazing, land encroachment, and climate change, and an ever-growing population that puts additional pressure on essential natural resources. After decades of conflict that destroyed both government institutions and local management structures and left an entire generation of Afghans without appropriate education or experience, there is little to no technical capacity to implement sustainable resource management at either the community or government level. This situation threatens to undermine the entire reconstruction effort in Afghanistan – if people cannot feed and shelter themselves or their families, efforts at improving governance, infrastructure, and overall security will have little chance of long-term success.


The Improving Livelihoods and Governance through Natural Resource Management (ILGNRM) contributed to Afghanistan’s capacity to conserve and sustainably manage its natural resources and improve the livelihoods of the rural communities in Bamyan and Badakhshan provinces. The program included a national capacity building component involving the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL) and the National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA). The program also improved governance by strengthening linkages between local communities and regional and national government bodies.

Activity Description

Through its main activities the program promoted tourism and created jobs in the process for the Band-e-Amir National Park as well as in Ishkashim and Wakhan. Activities also included training of park and protected area rangers, development of ranger stations, environmental education programs (e.g. an environmental education program in schools and a community conservation outreach program), and implementation of park conservation activities. The program also supported the MAIL and NEPA to create the Afghanistan Parks and Wildlife Authority.

Expected Outcomes

  • Build Afghanistan’s capacity to conserve and sustainably manage its natural resources;
  • Improve the livelihoods of the rural poor in and near targeted protected areas;
  • Strengthen subnational governance related to natural resources management, as well as linkages between communities, provincial and national government institutions.

Actual Outcomes

  • Improved tourism and other facilities in northeastern Badakhshan Province, for example foot trails, footbridges, a taxi service ranger station and tourist center as well as establishing communal watershed and woodlots for responsible and managed use by residents.
  • Trained more than 23,000 (including more than 10,700 women) people in natural resource management and biodiversity conservation.
  • Established 26 school-based environmental education programs.
  • Benefited more than 8,000 people from 3,956 households (including 221 women) in agriculture and alternative development interventions.
  • Set aside over 1,300,000 hectares of land for improved management and biodiversity conservation.
  • Distributed more than 5,000 fuel-efficient stoves and solar lanterns to encourage residence to conserve natural resources, and installed two solar power systems in two schools in Bamyan province.
  • Involved over 80 communities in improving, natural resource management.
  • Designed and established an online portal for the NEPA to provide the public information on conservation efforts.
  • Provided an environmental assessment for more than 300,000 of land, including Wakhan Corridor, which has been officially declared as the second national park of Afghanistan.
  • Vaccinated more than 26,400 livestock animals and constructed several predator-proof corrals for their protection.
  • Trained 227 members of Afghan Veterinary Associations on principles of ecosystem health, wildlife diseases, and wildlife toxicology.