The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) Tajikistan has began implementing an initiative to undertake afforestation as risk reduction measures in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) region of Tajikistan.
Deforestation within fragile watersheds in Tajikistan has increased the risk of disasters such as landslides and flooding significantly, exacerbating the impact on communities in post-civil war GBAO. With anecdotal evidence suggesting that areas under tree cover have declined from 20 percent in 1991 to less than 3 percent today across the country, initiatives like this - which will see a total of 5000 trees planted - will significantly reverse this, particularly in the vulnerable GBAO area.
Nikkadam Nazarov, AKAH Programme Manager responsible for the project, noted that “this is the first programme of its kind in the GBAO/Pamir region. We are targeting nine villages that stand to benefit the most from the initiative. It is a holistic programme that will see us working towards attaining the Gold Standard Accreditation as regards the calculation of carbon credits, and contribute significantly to SDG goals such as economic growth, climate action, and life on land.”
With funds received from the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment (PSAKFE), the project will see the extension of the forestry initiatives undertaken in other parts of Tajikistan by sub-implementer Caritas Switzerland, to the highly vulnerable region of GBAO.
AKAH has a long-standing commitment to, and engagement with, enhancing the resiliency of communities to the impact of natural disasters. It is also committed to increasing their coping capacity through interventions that enhance economic and social resiliency. Aligned with this push for resiliency is a deep engagement with reducing the climate footprint of the AKDN through enabling carbon offsets. In 2019, as part of its activities and in preparation for this wider initiative, AKAH facilitated the planting of a total of 2,000 trees in risk-prone areas including the slopes of the Pamir mountain range in GBAO.