The Heinrich Böll Stiftung has been active in Afghanistan since 2002 working in different fields: in the first years the work focused on media development, women empowerment and strengthening of local civil society organisations. Due to changing situations, the program changed in the course of time and concentrated on environmental issues, the role of youth in the democratisation process and on Foreign, Peace and Security Policies.

This page presents some of the results of the work in the past on the above-mentioned topics. There are a number of publications, articles and reports about events conducted by Heinrich Böll Stiftung and its partner organisations. The page presents as well the current work in Afghanistan on Resource Governance and environmental issues.

Environment and Resource Equity

Afghanistan: Desert view

Ecology and sustainable development are central areas for securing the future of humanity.
It is to the credit of the green movement within and outside parliaments that ecology has become one of the main arenas of politics. There is hardly another subject which, within the last 30 years, has been thus transformed from the concern of a few scientists, activists into a topic of world conferences.

Ecology is not recognized as a primary concern for Afghanistan – even though every year many more people in Afghanistan die and are harmed by the effects of air and water pollution than are killed by military operations or insurgents. Every citizen can notice the negative impact environmental problems have on his or her daily life. There are already conflicts about the distribution of resources, about fertile lands, grazing grounds and water today. These are likely to increase the more affected Afghanistan will become by the effects of climate change.

Publications

Psycho-physical Effects of Environment Pollution on the Health of Kabul Citizens

This research is conducted with collaboration of a team of researchers who are expert in the field of environment and laboratory sciences, and psychology with a high degree of expertise. This is the first organized study in Afghanistan that has tried to examine environmental pollution and its impacts on public health. It also provides a platform for environmental advocacy activities in Afghanistan. It is hoped that this research will be able to pave the way for activities that can improve the mental and physical health of Afghan society.

Climate Change in Afghanistan: Perspectives and Opportunities

Afghanistan is not short of policy documents that provide a framework to tackle issues related to climate change, even though a national development strategy on climate change is missing. What is most problematic is an overarching lack of capacity that limits progress when it comes to the actual  application of the policies and implementation of plans.

Towards Green Future

The manual is the updated version of the “environment manual” developed by hbs in 2011 and has been enriched by certain contents on natural resources, green economy and sustainable development which gives the readers not only the broad perspective of the issues but also could be used as an advocacy tool while tackling the existing environmental problems in the country.

Resource Politics for a Fair Future

Publication Series on Ecology 38: How could a just and democratic resource politics look like that respects both planetary boundaries and human rights? The Memorandum “Resource Politics for a Fair Future” is the outcome of a two-year international dialogue process of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Manual on Environment

The aim of publishing the manual on environment is raising public awareness on environment and its protection measures.

Democratization and Youth

Women in computer classA computer class is conducted at the Female Experimental High School

Power should be in the hands of the people – and everybody should have the same chance to participate in it. Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBS) is committed to securing equal access for all members of society to participate in shaping politics in their country. That can be achieved only through a democratic system.

Democratization is a chief tenet of green politics and a central issue in political education which aims to promote a better understanding of democratization – defined as the way democratic norms, institutions and practices evolve and are disseminated both within and across national and cultural boundaries. Still it is often far from clear how to translate the general notion of democratization into concrete projects, campaigns, or educational programmes. "Civil society" is one such concept which, while widely embraced, is very contentious when it comes to questions of implementation.

Publications

An Electoral Guide for Young Candidates

Afghan youth participation in politics is limited in terms of opportunities for candidates to run for public offices. When young people get involved in politics, they often remain passive supporters rather than active decision-makers.  There seems to be two main factors where young people are often unable to exercise its rights and fulfill its responsibilities regarding involvement in decision making.

Strategy Plan: Youth’s Political Participation

The democratic environment over the last decade provided a crucial opportunity for civil and political activities in Afghanistan in which not only political parties but also civil society organizations, youth groups and networks were founded to consolidate democracy and endeavor to push forward their participation in politics and society.

“It is not Charity, it is a Chair of Power” - Moving Beyond Symbolic Representation in Afghanistan’s Transition Politics?

In this action research project, experiences with quota designs, challenges and achievements of quota parliamentarians, in terms of substantive representation, are reviewed in Afghanistan. The focus lies on the concept of political patriarchy, that is, an androcentric to sometimes even misogynist political configuration in relation to (i) power relations, (ii) socio-political culture and gender roles prescriptions, (iii) institutional setups, practices and discourses.

Unmaking Political Patriarchy Through Gender Quotas?

In this study the authors, Farzana Bari and Andrea Fleschenberg, are identifying commonalities and differences of Gender Quotas in the parliaments in Afghanistan and Pakistan and contextualize women’s political participation and gender democracy worldwide. From the findings of the country studies, they are drawing concrete recommendations for practice.

Ethnic Politics and Youth Political Participation in Afghanistan

Afghan educated youth, mainly have a dense presence within the civil society organizations, which acts more or less as a reactionary force and voices the social protests but fail short to translate it into political actions. Political parties, except a few youth-centric ones, are dominated by the traditional elites within a paternal political context.

Youth Political Activism in Afghanistan

Although the country is unlikely to face any revolution in the immediate future, with 68% of its total population under the age of 25, Afghanistan is currently witnessing a serious growth in its youth population, and it has resulted in socio-cultural and political consequences that have been previously unheard of in Afghan political culture and conventions.

Afghan Women Vision 2024

On March 8th, 2014 the Afghan Women's Network (AWN) in Kabul and in all 34 provinces has launched the "Women Vision 2024" paper. The paper has been developed through consultation meetings of leading women rights activists and has been consulted with women in all 34 provinces of the country.

Policy Brief: Afghanistan's Parliament in the Making

After more than a decade of an international intervention and close to the proclaimed second post-2014 transition phase, women's political participation remains precarious and volatile in Afghanistan despite inroads made. Women activists and lawmakers demand due diligence for promises made, inroads built, spaces carved out and steps to be taken to ensure a more peaceful post-2014 Afghanistan.

Kabul’s educated youth: What kind of future?

At a time when 68 % of the population of Afghanistan is under 25 years, the research aims at getting an insight into the mindsets of Kabul’s educated young generation. What are their perspectives in life? What are their aspired professions and social status? A research conducted by Human Rights and Eradication of Violence Organization (HREVO).

A First Step on a Long Journey: How People Define Violence and Justice in Afghanistan (1958-2008)

How People Define Violence and Justice is a joint research project of ACSFo and HBS on international crimes, massacres, rapes, murders, destruction of residential areas, homicide and imprisonment of intellectuals, torture and human rights abuses of the past fifty years. The standards for justice and human rights violation in this project are defined by people. Views, beliefs and utterances of respondents constitute the basis of this research.

Foreign, Peace and Security Policies

GHŌR, Afghanistan (May 28, 2012) – Former Taliban fighters hold rifles as they prepare to hand them over to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan during a reintegration ceremony at the provincial governor’s compound. GHŌR, Afghanistan (May 28, 2012) – Former Taliban fighters hold rifles as they prepare to hand them over to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan during a reintegration ceremony at the provincial governor’s compound.

Peace and security are a matter of central concern for the people of Afghanistan. In large parts of the country, most of all in the south and south east of Afghanistan, instability and insecurity prevail. This, of course, is a hindrance for development. Security and development therefore are closely related. Once a basic level of security will have been achieved that will allow for progress in other fields.

Publications

Transboundary Basin Management under conditions of Latent Conflict: A Multi-Sectoral and Multi-Disciplinary Approach towards the Kabul River Basin

Keeping in view the long-time security-centred nature of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, Kabul River Basin, a highly significant geographical and thematic area of concern, requires immediate attention of authorities. However, the issue remains virtually absent from the script of inter-state relations and diplomacy. The key proposition in this study is that if the transboundary basin management discourse about the Kabul River Basin can be changed from water-sharing to benefit-sharing across the water, food, and energy sectors, the social conditions and political will needed for long-term state-to-state engagement can be created without jeopardizing the lives and livelihoods of basin-dependent communities during the intervening period.

Water, Peace, and Security for All: The Potential for Peace building in Afghanistan’s Hydropolitics

In terms of having water resources, Afghanistan has a considerable advantage in comparison to its neighbors. However, war and other various factors have limited the country’s ability to make use of these resources. Water infrastructure—including dams, water storage tanks, irrigation and water supply networks, hydrometric stations and metrology systems, and sewage and sanitation systems—is limited and inefficient.

Cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan Civil Society Organizations for Prevention of Crisis

In recent years, the role and position of civil society organizations in dealing with local and regional crises are seen considering a new approach that requires finding common grounds, exchange of ideas and cooperation among civil society organizations functional in that specific region. Afghanistan and Pakistan have had complex and at times fragile political and security relations and in the meanwhile the two countries are tied in an unavoidable and undeniable trade and economic interdependency.

Blue Diplomacy: Transboundary Water Governance from a Foreign Policy Lens

Water quantity and quality are deteriorating and the struggle among all common water users is likely to intensify. This may become even more visible in river basins that cross political boundaries of different countries. History reveals that in many situations, this mutual need may bring strategic cooperation rather than open conflict, and lead to peaceful solutions to water disputes. Over the last 67 years, we have witnessed only 37 severe water disputes globally, in comparison to 295 water cooperation treaties (UN Water 2008: 3).

Afghanistan’s Trans-Boundary Waters

Water resource allocation is a long-ignored issue in Afghanistan. While the water potential of Afghanistan is estimated to be 75billion m3/ year on average, Afghanistan ranks lowest in water storage capacity.