Afghan climate activist Abdulhadi Achakzai was the only representative of his country at the United Nations COP27 climate conference held recently in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The South Asian nation was excluded from the summit, as the country has remained diplomatically isolated since the Taliban recaptured power last August after 20 years.
As the climate summit kicked off on November 6, the UN mission in Afghanistan called for urgent collective climate action, saying the country is “one of the least prepared against climate shocks”.
It added that Afghanistan is the sixth most affected in the world by climate-related threats, with the country facing frequent droughts, flash floods and landslides affecting livelihoods and infrastructure.
Achakzai, the unofficial representative of his country at the international summit, took the opportunity to educate delegates about the climate crisis in Afghanistan and bring the issue to the agenda of participants.
Experts have blamed climate change for the frequent natural disasters in the country, and are calling for international funding to address the problem.
“I would stop everyone I met and ask them: ‘Have you heard about Afghanistan?’ I would then tell them about the situation in our country, the suffering of our people because of climate change,” said Achakzai, who is director of the Environmental Volunteer Network (EVN), an NGO based in the capital Kabul.
The non-profit works to bring awareness and training on climate issues across the county.
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