Director-General Ambassador Haidari Meets the Honorable First Lady Ghani, Discusses Afghan Women’s Vulnerability to Climate Change

Kabul: - Director-General Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met with Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister for Women Economic Empowerment Nazira Rahman on May 19, 2021. She hosted the Director-General to speak with a group of Afghan women in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, who work on a range of environmental issues to help Afghanistan mitigate and adapt to climate change. “I am grateful to the Honorable First Lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani for facilitating our meeting today to discuss the impact of climate change on women as one of the most vulnerable groups in Afghanistan,” said the Director-General. He also thanked Deputy Minister Rahman for her Ministry’s cross-cutting work, mainstreaming environmental protection and climate change in the Ministry’s policies and programs.

In this regard, she highlighted the key female stakeholders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, based on which her Office organized a meeting at the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs where the Director-General had a productive meeting with women leaders working on environmental issues. Moreover, the Honorable First Lady Ghani pointed out that although much attention had been paid to greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on public health and environment, the use of weapons, including exploded or unexploded ordnances, has received scant attention from major international stakeholders in the environment community. “In our Kabul house’s backyard, whose soil is contaminated with chemicals from exploded rocket shells or other ammunition, the trees we have repeatedly planted, have dried up,” said the First Lady.

Director-General Haidari agreed with the First Lady on the deadly pollutants from weapons, whose overall impact in contexts like that of war-ravaged Afghanistan must be thoroughly studied for an appropriate response from the Afghan government and its international partners. “I look forward to discussing this very legitimate concern within SACEP, as well as with our bilateral and multilateral partners for an effective response,” the Director-General assured the First Lady.

Moreover, he thanked the Honorable First Lady Ghani for her firm commitment to continued advocacy for increased attention to the impact of climate change on Afghan women and women in general across the world. He also appreciated her assistance with facilitating a female-stakeholders meeting at the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs and said that SACEP would build on its collaboration with the First Lady’s Office and similar institutions across South Asia to further strengthen regional efforts to address together the challenge of climate change and environmental degradation.