Afghanistan Establishes First National Park

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 23, 2009
Afghanistan National Park

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provides information about Afghanistan's first national park, designated by Afghanistan's National Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of Earth Day. U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan

In celebration of International Earth Day, the Director General of Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) declared Band-e-Amir as Afghanistan’s first national park. This official designation affords legal protection to the lakes and surrounding landscape, and will ensure sustainable environmental management for this area of great natural beauty.

Band-e-Amir is a series of six lakes in central Bamyan Province, and the national park covers 59,000 hectares of land. The lakes present a stunning visual landscape, with their clear, azure-blue color set against red-rock cliffs and dry grasslands. The lakes are held back by natural travertine dams, created by calcium deposits. Some of the dams are breathtaking: 30-foot rock walls stretching across the valley in long, graceful arcs. The combination of desert, water, and rock make for landscapes that rival those of national parks anywhere in the world.

Since 2006, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been working with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and local communities surrounding Band-e-Amir to establish the national park. To ensure the park’s long-term sustainability, USAID, through its implementing partner the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), founded a local institution to manage the proposed park and helped to prepare a park management plan. USAID also advised the government on the development of the legal framework for establishing protected areas. The official declaration enhances the Afghanistan’s ability to manage its natural resources, and will help bring international recognition to this area of great natural beauty.

The national park designation will also encourage economic development in the fifteen villages surrounding Band-e-Amir. Before the years of war and Taliban rule, Band-e-Amir was a popular tourist destination, and recently, tourism has begun to increase. With help from USAID and its implementing partners WCS, Ecodit, and the Agha Khan Network, local entrepreneurs are already building small shops, restaurants, and hotels – in accordance with the park’s environmental management plan – to serve the growing number of tourists. A campground is also planned. These improvements are expected to attract more Afghan and international tourists over the coming years, contributing to Afghanistan’s economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner.

Comments

Comments

Ron
|
New York, USA
April 23, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Please restore the Buddahs which were destroyed by Taliban

Mieke
|
Oregon, USA
April 23, 2009

Mieke in Oregon writes:

Good for them, what an absolutely beautiful spot.

Nancy
|
California, USA
April 24, 2009

Nancy in California writes:

Absolutely beautiful location. It's great to see that Afghanistan has a national park, however, the fact that the Taliban destroyed the largest Buddha (sculpture) in the world is disgusting and should never have happened. Clearly there are factions in their country that want to destroy anything that does not represent their own repressive culture. Therefore, enjoying a beautiful location like this or even a national park seems fruitless given the repressive regime operating within Afghanistan, the Taliban. It is not as if a woman is "Free" to come to this place and enjoy it -- she is not.

John
|
Greece
April 24, 2009

John in Greece writes:

QUOTE (from a past Eric's in NM post) Essentially it is an idea put to motion by people willing to plant the seeds of social change. END OF QUOTE!!!

http://www.moviesfoundonline.com/man_who_planted_trees.php

Not only you give us thinking power Eric (with your positive thoughts), but also, thank God, you are always absolutely correct with your analysis. The most important, though, is the vision you offer us to see life in Green and not (grin)! (chuckle)

I feel really lucky to have read your previous posts. Thank you very much for being here.

P.S. Congratulations U.S.A. once again. All these changes happening in Afghanistan really means a lot for all the western world. After all, we are encouraged to keep on trying for a better world. We can really do it!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 26, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Greece, Thank you bro, you are too kind. What is a nation without a national park or two? (grin) A parking lot? (chuckle).

To create one in the midst of all the various problems and threats Afghanistan faces is a testiment to its government's investment in the future and intent in creation of a vibrant society from the ashes of war.

It goes way beyond the ecological in nature. It becomes a process of healing the soul of a nation as well.

As a Buddhist, I too would like to see the statues restored, as they are part of Afghanistan's cultural legacy. However, the engineering involved will take much time and money that at present would be better spent on building and improving the infrastructure of a modern society.

All good things will be, in their proper time.

John
|
Greece
April 26, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@Eric in New Mexico -- Buddhist? (LOL)! Have you seen a Buddhist splitting his COFFEE on the keyboard? I thought "you Buddha guys" drink tea. And you certainly, do not eat tortillas or "tacos" -- Right?

Which I love (tortillas and tacos)! no matter the recent virus crisis concerning pigs. After all Mexican kitchen is based on chicken, not pigs. Of course, you know me, I don't have any problem with your religion or what you feel like believing in, but let me humour -- is this Eric from the City of Buda which is located 17 miles south of Austin/TX -- which I LOVE -- along the I-35 corridor in beautiful Hays County -- or somebody else?

I am JOKING! Best Regards!

And now back to topic: 1, 2 or 3 parks is a great start for such a region. Parks themselves, though, are not the only point. People there, who start believing that they can create a civilized, positive new "world" for their lives is: the name of the "game".

After decades, they have started dreaming again! And these parks, among many other ventures will create jobs, beside dreams. Many of the Taliban do not "fight" because of a religion reason -- although some idiots do --, but for money, which can be explained as a dream for a better life. At this point I wouldn't care about the statues or the religion status of the area. I would emphasize on making them believe in LIFE again. And I think that U.S.A. and the Alliance are doing a great job so far.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 27, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John, I have some bad habits. LOL!

Actually I eat just about anything , except anything with suckers, and being a thousand miles from an ocean it's better that I don't eat seafood in general.

you are right, in practice, tea is served in the Zendo. caffineand meditation are not very compatible, but falling asleep and falling off the tan is not acceptable form either. (chuckle)

As a cook, you'd find the food ( strictly vegan) to be purposefully bland, but remember formal training is about non attachment, like putting one's self into a sensory deprivation tank for a week at a time.

I don't have the words to describe the clarity which one steps back into "the world" with, after.

it's like taking out the mental trash and leaving it for curbside pickup.

Which as I think of it, might be a good thing for the taliban to do.

Seems they blew up any chance of enlightenment to date.

.

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