All on Environment & Resource Equity


The typhoon Rammasun in the Philippines

Loss and damage is when climate change goes beyond what it is possible to adapt to such as typhoons or frequent droughts. The Paris Agreement made progress on those issues. COP22 in Marrakesh should now clarify the question of loss and damage finance.

The NGO Global Witness documents 185 known deaths of environmental activists worldwide in 2015 - the highest annual death toll on record. Claudia Rolf spoke to one of the authors of the report, Billy Kyte.

Three men in the Hindukush

Responsible Democracy: The richness of Afghanistan in natural resources has great potential for conflict. Since 2012, the Heinrich Böll Foundation therefore moved deliberately in this politically sensitive terrain.

Globally, political leaders are lauding the acceptance of the global and legally binding Paris Agreement on Climate Change at COP21 as a historical moment. It achieves a goal long believed unattainable. However, judged against the enormity of the challenge and the needs and pressure from people on the ground demanding a global deal anchored in climate justice, the Paris Agreement can only be called a disappointment.

Climate change requires urgent action, as hardly any government will deny. Business is also beginning to rise to the challenge. Nevertheless, the voluntary commitments being developed for the climate summit in Paris (COP21) are falling short.

As we enter the final stretch to the Paris UN climate talks in November, there have been mounting calls from EU leaders for greater ambition in the international climate talks.

Mining Law is one of the first and foremost tools for bringing stability to society and the country. Mining potential of Afghanistan requires smart and responsive laws to provide guidelines to the state to manage the sector in line with aspirations of Afghans.

Natural resources should be a major contributor to development in some of the countries that need it most. And yet, in some of world’s poorest and most fragile states, they bring just the opposite.

Afghanistan’s new mining law has serious weaknesses, warns Global Witness, as President Hamid Karzai signed the bill onto the statute books. The gaps in the law increase the risk that the country’s mineral wealth will fuel conflict and corruption instead of development, the campaigning group adds.

Members of the Natural Resources Monitoring Network said that the draft mining law has been approved without taking into considering their recommendations to strengthen the draft law

The Wolusi Jirga of Afghanistan is about to vote on the mineral law of the country inside parliament, while Afghan civil society specially the Natural Resources Monitoring Network (NRMN) has been advocating for amendments in the draft to make it a better law.

Days before the presidential elections in Afghanistan much is discussed amongst the candidates: foreign policies, economic development and reconstruction of the country. No or little attention is being paid to environmental protection, neither from the candidates nor from the people.

The country’s natural resources, especially its abundance of water, could bring great benefits to the Afghans – but only if the right conditions can be achieved. A summary of "Afghanistan's Transition in the Making?"

In recognition of growing importance of the natural resources, in particular the extractive sector, in future economy of Afghanistan, the Civil Society Natural Resources Monitoring Network (CSNRMN) called upon the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for more meaningful and constructive engagement between the government and the civil society and local communities.


In this essay, the president of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Barbara Unmuessig, critically reflects on the opportunities for and the shortcomings of the concept of a "Green Economy" to influence economic policy making globally, its relationship to the paradigm of sustainable development and the need to rethink our understanding and focus on growth.

Barbara Unmüßig, president of the Heinrich Böll Foundation argues that because of the limited nature of our planet and the ecological challenges facing us, the fundamentals of our economy have to be reconsidered. In that respect, she thinks, the existing blueprints for a green economy do not go far enough.

This month, two events occur back-to-back: the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio +20”) in Brazil and the Group of 20 (G20) Summit, in Mexico. This paper asks how the powerful G20 might influence outcomes of Rio+20.


The Rio+20 conference in June will discuss the topic of Green Economy. One objective is to design ways of escaping the climate and food crisis. However, green technologies in themselves will not bring about the change we need. Growth at any price must no longer be the paramount goal.

Have you ever thought about whether environment is an economic or a social problem? Or about how much a clean or contaminated environment does affect our economy? Perhaps, the widely held opinion is that environment is somewhat related to our culture and society, and there is no relation between environment and economy.

In a Heinrich-Böll-Foundation organized conference NGOs and Afghan civil society organizations exchanged their views on the challenges and threats of environmental pollution in Afghanistan. Besides naming the problems they formulated political demands and proposed solutions to the most urgent concerns.

Environment protection is one those issues that require education and discussion. Perhaps, a lot of parents do not consider environment issues significant enough to be taught because they think that the children themselves might know about it once they are grown-up. Or, they might think that it is the responsibility of schools and teachers to educate the children on these issues.

Two days officially of – this was the kind of weekend many governmental employees had long been looking forward to. Now it has been decided that for Kabul citizens it will become a reality – to protect the environment. Less work means less pollution says the Afghan government.

Wild garbage dumps are one of the biggest nuisances in Kabul. It just takes one walk through the streets of the capital to experience all kinds of odors. With children and animals also digging in the garbage, the piles also pose a severe health risk for Kabul’s citizens. The newly established garbage bins are a first step to make the city cleaner. Still, getting the entire system up and running will take some time.

Environmental protection is a hot discussed topic in industrialized countries, especially in Europe, whereas in developing countries such as Afghanistan this issue is not very popular due to poverty, war and the daily struggle to survive.

Developing countries are strongly affected by the consequences of climate change. So what can they do to protect themselves? How to act if those responsible for environmental pollution and climate change do not.


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.

The study focuses on the impact on security and development by the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India gas pipeline (TAPI), which is one of the most ambitious and long debated infrastructure projects in Afghanistan and has been influenced by global energy giants, geopolitics and regional players.

Our Coal Atlas contains the latest facts and figures on the use of coal and its environmental and social consequences. With more than 60 detailed graphics, the atlas illustrates the coal industry’s impact on nature, health, labour, human rights and politics.

Through misuse, we lose 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil every year. For the International Year of Soils in 2015, this Atlas shows, why the soil should concern us all. Jointly published by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies.

Natural resources are back on the agenda. After the rise of new economic powers such as China, India, and Brazil, global competition has perceptibly increased strategic concerns as regards high commodity prices and possible supply shortages.

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.

Fossile resources like coal, oil and gas are responsible for 63 percent of carbon emissions in the atmosphere by only 90 entities – the “Carbon Majors”. This discussion paper outlines the case for the Carbon Majors to provide funding via the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage for poor communities all over the world.

In this Memorandum the notion of new politics is introduced to look at current conflicts around resource use as a complex set of interactions between nature, humans, interests, power relations and cultures.

Food is a necessity, a satisfaction and it's very personal, however do you sometimes wonder where the steak, sausage or burger you are eating comes from? Personal satisfaction reflects ethical decisions, and private concerns can be very political in nature. Each of us ought to decide what we want to eat.

The mining sector offers a good opportunity to invite investment and generate revenues for the development of a diversified economy and to work on improving relations between the Afghan state and its citizens.

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

Since the first UN Conference on the Environment and Development in Rio in 1992, all the important environmental trends have taken a turn for the worse. In politics and industry decisions are still taken with scant regard for climate change, biodiversity loss or dwindling resources.

The Future We Want – the motto chosen by the UN in the run-up to the June 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) – is certainly forward-looking. Rio+20 is supposed to define routes towards a safer, fairer, greener, and cleaner world. But the blueprints for a green economy are devoid of gender perspectives. Christa Wichterich’s essay takes a closer look on the relations between feminism and ecology. 

It is mainly the inhabitants of the global South who suffer from the effects of climate change. This publication uses case examples to illustrate the dangers faced by indigenous peoples in particular, as well as the tools the UN human rights system gives them to support their struggle for just climate policies.

Environment and Resource Equity

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.

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