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    Afghanistan ratifies Kyoto Protocol

    KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement linked to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change -- a move that makes it the 192nd country or regional economic integration organisation to sign to the treaty.


    In Afghanistan, the treaty will come into force on June 23 this year, says Responding To Climate Change (RTCC) that has been produced in association with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, profiling technological responses to climate change.


    Afghanistan will not have to adopt any binding emission targets, but will be required to draw up plans to develop a low-carbon energy and transport system.


    Joining Kyoto allows Afghanistan to take part in UN’s international emissions trading programmes; raising the prospect of richer nations investing in renewable energy and similar low-carbon schemes.


    Adaptation rather than mitigation is likely to be the biggest challenge for Afghan policymakers over the coming years. The World Bank reports Afghanistan’s per capita emissions as 0.2 tonnes per person; compared to 0.9 in Pakistan and 17.3 in the USA.


    Afghanistan has suffered more than three decades of varying degrees of conflict, dramatically reducing its resilience to decreasing rainfall and other climatic changes.


    Climate change and drought are especially serious for the country since 80 percent of the population relies on natural resources for their livelihoods.


    In October 2012, the government launched a USD $6 million initiative largely funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to build resilience amongst vulnerable communities.


    Ghulam Malikyar, Deputy Director General of National Environment Protection Agency, told RTCC desertification and deforestation were already having profound effects on the country.


    “Climate change is not just an environmental issue in Afghanistan, it will also contribute to instability,” he said. “The loss of ecosystem productivity forces people from rural areas to urban areas, and we have the problem then of sheltering them. This is the main issue we are suffering now."


    ma/mud