“Green Culture” launched
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) Tajikistan and its partners are implementing a robust set of land use interventions in Tajikistan, including Eco Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR) and Natural Resource Management (NRM) programmes, in order to combat climate change in the highly fragile ecosystems of Tajikistan.
With 40% of Tajikistan’s water systems thought to be at risk, and a decline of forest cover to only 3%, AKAH is integrating Eco-DRR and NRM across most of its programming to help build climate resilience and reduce carbon emissions.
Programme Manager Manzura Bakhdavlatova explains: “Our activities include a vigorous scheme to decrease climate risks through comprehensive land use planning, which will also improve agriculture and livelihoods. With community members taking ownership of these activities, we expect a more responsible use of land going forward.”
Additionally, AKAH’s bathymetric assessment of glacial lakes in Tajikistan – the first of its kind – contributes vital data that enables the management of flood risks and informs conservation of critical water bodies.
AKAH also aims to plant thousands of trees in at-risk areas across the country through its forestation programmes, including a new partnership with Caritas Switzerland launched in March 2020. As part of this project with Caritas, funded by the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment (PSAKFE), AKAH will introduce a forest plantation model that integrates income generation opportunities with DRR benefits. The multipurpose plantation approach combines leguminous crops and shrubs for fodder as well as trees for fuel and slope stabilisation. The diverse vegetation cover provides protection against avalanche, landslide and flash flood risks and promotes economic development. Through the project, AKAH will also pursue a Gold Standard accreditation to enable carbon credit offsets.
Internally, AKAH Tajikistan has launched an environmental responsibility campaign this year with its staff. Among other activities, AKAH staff, together with their family and friends, will clean up the surroundings of key public areas, such as Victory Park in Dushanbe and the Botanical Gardens in Khorog, to mark national Victory Day in May. Gulnigor Khudoyorova, who initiated the Green Office/Environment Campaign as part of her leadership training programme, is excited about what it can achieve, “My intention was to introduce a culture of caring for the environment among all staff, so we can lead by example as we implement a number of activities all over Tajikistan which seek to preserve the earth. With our friends and family joining in this essential exercise, my dream is for this not to be a one-off. I want to see this campaign institutionalised, where all AKAH staff enthusiastically join every year on various innovative ideas to conserve the earth.”
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), which merges the capabilities of Focus Humanitarian Assistance, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, and the Aga Khan Development Network’s Disaster Risk Management Initiative, focuses on preparing for both sudden and slow-onset disasters. AKAH works to ensure that poor people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters; that residents who do live in high-risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response; and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunity and a better quality of life. Initially, priority areas of AKAH will include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and India. Read more about the agency at http://www.akdn.org/our-agencies/aga-khan-agency-habitat
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