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Updated to: 09 November 2016

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Distinguishing features of the EIA/SEA system

The EIA system in Afghanistan is newly developed and still undergoes changes. In the period of 2005 until 2008 legal requirements have been established for it in the form of an Environment Law and EIA regulations. The central EIA authority in Afghanistan, the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) was launched  in the same time period. As the institutional framework in Afghanistan was thus not yet ready to support the EIA process envisioned in the Environment Law, a transitional process was developed. It is reflected in Interim EIA Regulations and an EIA policy. This interim EIA system largly builds upon international best practices. This approach was chosen because the proponents of activities that are subjected to EIA are mostly international donors that have their own standards on best practices on EIA.

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Administrative system: relevant features

In acccordance with the constitution, adopted in 2004, Afghanistan has a centralized system and is administratively divided into 34 provinces, that are divided into districts. The central government adopts legislation through a bicameral system: the National Assembly consists of the lower house (directly elected) and the upper house (appointed by the provincial councils). Provinces and districts have the same basic structure as the national government. The municipalities of the provinces (some provinces have an additional rural municipality to the provincial municipality) fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior. The Governor of the province is appointed by the Minister of Interior, the prefects of the districts are appointed by the governor of the province.The central government can delegate authority to the sub-national jurisdiction where local or regional action is more efficient.
In actuality, the structure and government of the provinces have varied greatly. With a change in the government structure of Afghanistan in 2001, an authority for environmental management was mandated for the first time in the history of the country. The Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources (established under the Interim Administration) was allocated the additional responsibility for environmental management and renamed as the Ministry of Irrigation, Water Resources and Environment (MIWRE). In 2005, the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) emerged from the former Ministry.

Relevant international conventions

Afghanistan is a party to the Convention on Biodiversity since 2002.

Environmental Standards: relevant features

No information

Country specific terms or acronyms

NEPA = National Environmental Protection Agency