New Alternative Livelihood Projects Launched in Afghanistan by MCN Minister

On 2nd August 2015 the UNODC Country Programme facilitated a multi-stakeholder event on launch of three Alternative Livelihood projects by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN). The event, chaired by the MCN Minister, H.E. Salamat Azimi, was attended by ministers and senior Government officials from Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), Ministry of Women's Affairs (MoWA), Ministry of Commerce and Industries and Ministry of Interior, implementing partners- Aga Khan Foundation, DACAAR and Mercy Corps, donor representatives-Finland and Japan, and the civil society.

The three projects on the themes of (a) Land Stabilization (Herat and Farah), (b) Development of Agricultural Value Chains (Badakhshan, Takhar and Baghlan) and (c) Support to High-Value Horticulture (Kandahar) will be implemented over the next 24 months.

The UNODC Country Representative, Mr. Andrey Avetisyan, informed the audience that UNODC follows a consultative approach to design, development and field monitoring of AL interventions. The concept notes for the three projects were developed by the Joint MCN-MAIL-UNODC Technical WorkingGroup. The Implementing Partners were selected by the External Parties Engagement Unit (EPEU) in Vienna through a thorough and lengthy process involving assessment of the technical, financial and administrative capabilities of each organization. Mr. Avetisyan emphasized that the three projects worth 3 million are the last of a series of interventions under the AL Sub-programme (2012-2015) with a budget of USD 11.0 Million for which I thank our Donors: Denmark, Finland and Japan. New interventions focusing on development of Value Chains, Women Economic Empowerment and policy support to the 100-Day Plans of MCN and MAIL have been planned under the new Country Program over next the 4 years (2016-2019).

The MRRD and MoWA Ministers, H.E. Nasir Ahmad Durrani and H.E. Delbar Nazari,  respectively, while supporting UNODC and MCN's efforts to strengthen and diversify the farmers licit incomes, acknowledged that counter-narcotics was a shared responsibility for all Government institutions.

 The launch event provided an opportunity for lively discussion and debate on the expected outcomes of each project, the likely impact on livelihoods of the target communities and how best to ensure the sustainability of each intervention.  The Finland representative, Mr. Topi Torronen (First Secretary on Development Cooperation) welcomed the opportunity as a rare forum where the Government, the donors, the civil society and the media came together to discuss the approach to implementation of the Alternative Livelihood projects with Non-Governmental Organizations selected to implement these projects.

Photo: UNODC