The UNITAR Hiroshima Office recently completed training on the adoption of a Green Economy to 20 representatives of the Government of Afghanistan. Hailing from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the Ministry of Economy, and in a programme delivered in close collaboration with the Afghanistan Civil Service Institute and UNDP Afghanistan, the participants represented both Kabul based Civil Servants, as well as Provincial Directors, allowing for some very focused discussions as to the on-the-ground implementability of the issues presented.

The programme, delivered between 26 and 20 May, focused not only on the theories and benefits of a Green Economy to sustainable development, but also on methodologies for stakeholder awareness raising and programmatic implementation. The concept of a green economy has received increasing international attention recently, as countries explore new patterns of development that take into account economic, social and environmental sustainability considerations. Participants examined different concepts and facets of the green economy, as well as global, national and sector-specific challenges and opportunities to advance low-carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive development.

By the end of the programme, participants were to have been able to:

  • Define the concept of a green economy and explain its value;
  • Describe social, environmental and economic benefits of advancing a green economy;
  • Identify enabling conditions for greening national economies;
  • Identify principal challenges and opportunities for greening key economic sectors;
  • Describe national planning processes in support of a green transformation;
  • Outline key elements of action plan development;
  • Illustrate processes for effective stakeholder identification and integration.

The presentations were augmented by in-depth study tours to the following entities:

    • This visit examined the central irrigation network, and fair distribution systems which are employed in rural Japan. The visit was preceded by a presentation from the Hiroshima Prefectural Government on the efficiency and fair-distribution models employed in Japan at a Central- and Local-Government level. The role of local actors, farmers, and government representatives was outlined, as were rural renewal policies employed in Japan. Local cooperatives for distribution and value-adding of local produce was also discussed, as were subsidies for solar energy in rural areas.
    • The Seibu Recycling Center, located close to Hiroshima city center processes 80 tonnes of recyclable waste per day, on 3 lines. These lines are entirely manual, and the sorting process is done by hand. This low-tech, but very effective approach was selected for its potential implementability in Afghanistan, as well as the related engagement with the local community that such recycling requires. Presentations held by local government representativeness included the processes and policies required to develop and build the recycling center as well as the methods of community engagement and stakeholder integration required to give the populace buy-in to the process.
    • Participants were introduced to the bombing of Hiroshima by a representative of the municipal government, who also examined the two-tiered post-conflict reconstruction process engaged in since 1945. Alongside the "hard-infrastructure" redevelopment, the processes and policies required for changing the thinking patterns and values of a community - from that of a military city to one focused on peace and reconciliation - were also outlined. following this a tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the ways in which the community has memorialised tragedy for future generations was also discussed. many comments in the evaluation forms outlined this visit as being very meaningful for the participants.
    • The Kinari Mura farm engages in compost and recycling research in a real-world scenario, and is a good example of public-private partnership in the field of Green Economy. The discussion held at the farm focused on similarities and differences observed by the participants vs farming practices in Afghanistan, as well as extrapolation as to the impact adopting some of the techniques and practices would have on agriculture within certain provinces.

The programme will be followed up with in 8 weeks time, with a session in Kabul, examining implementation of the action plans developed in Hiroshima. For more information regarding this initiatieve, please do not hesitate to make contact with Mr Berin McKenzie, Specialist at the UNITAR Hiroshima Office, at