CNN Spotlights Band-E-Amir National Park
07/05/2019

On June 26, 2019, CNN spotlighted Band-e-Amir, Afghanistan’s first national park. ECODIT worked with the Afghanistan National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) to establish this park in 2009 through the USAID Afghanistan Biodiversity Support Project (BSP).

The article describes the park as “Afghanistan’s Grand Canyon” and includes a slide show that touts the park’s “deep blue lakes,” “picturesque red-hued cliffs,” and “rocky natural dams.” It quotes Richard Paley, the Wildlife Conservation Society's Afghanistan Country Director from 2013-2018, who said,  "[Band-e-Amir] serves as one of the most notable places in Afghanistan where people from different parts of the country, different ethnicities, and different religious denominations can have family fun in an oasis of peace and tranquility. It's a very heartwarming sight to see."

The USAID Afghanistan BSP was a three-year (2007-2010), $6.3M project implemented by ECODIT, which worked to improve natural resources management (NRM) and environmental policy throughout Afghanistan. In addition to facilitating the establishment of Band-e-Amir, ECODIT provided legal and regulatory technical support for environmental laws, managed a $1M small grants program supporting watershed management and soil and water conservation projects, and trained more than 5,000 government officials and community members on a range of environment-related topics.

Since its establishment, the park has grown in popularity. It now attracts approximately 169,900, mostly Afghan, visitors each year. The park is yet another example of ECODIT’s legacy projects in the NRM, water and energy sectors, and a testament to the company’s successful efforts to realize the sustainability of USAID investments.