Climate change in Afghanistan is not an uncertain, “potential” future risk but a very real, present threat— whose impacts have already been felt by millions of farmers and pastoralists across the country. In this report, we show how drought and flood risks have changed over the past thirty years, and what impact this has had on rural livelihoods and food security in the country. The aim is to inform national-level prioritization of areas and livelihoods groups for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction programmes.
The poorest people—particularly subsistence farmers and pastoralists who are often already living on marginal land—are also those who suffer most from climate change. Yet it is difficult to get an overall, national-level understanding of where the impact of climate change on food security and livelihoods are most worrying and need to be addressed most urgently.
Climate analyses tend to show which areas have seen—or are expected to see—the biggest change in rainfall, temperature or other physical climate parameters. However, such climate information on its own tells us little about what impact these changes will actually have on poverty and food security —as this depends on what livelihoods people depend on for food and income.
The guiding question for this analysis was therefore not “where have droughts or floods become more frequent and severe?”, but rather “where has the impact of droughts and floods on livelihoods—and ultimately food security—been most severe?” To answer this question, we combine climate information with livelihood zoning to obtain an overview of which areas and population groups are most vulnerable to climate change.