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Three-pronged research effort into essential areas of Natural Resources Management (NRM)

Founder(s): European Union
Status: In Progress

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to improving the sustainability and increasing the wealth of the rural population, by enhancing the social and economic development of rural communities and reducing hunger and vulnerability. Also, the project aims to provide policy tools to the Afghan government, donor community and practitioners to improve the management of natural resources in three key areas: area-based poppy control strategies, national groundwater management and conflict prevention between nomad and settled populations.

These three components are characteristic of the Agriculture, Rural Development and Natural Resources Management challenges Afghanistan faces at the dawn of what has been called its ‘Transformation Decade’. They reflect the complex issues national policy makers face in a context of growing and shifting pressures. Perspectives used will include that of rural livelihoods, water management, counter-narcotics and the resolution of socio-economic tensions between population groups.

Publications from this research project:

High and Dry: Poppy cultivation and the future of those that reside in the former desert areas of South West Afghanistan

The deserts of southwestern Afghanistan have been transformed. Land that was once dry and strewn with rocks, has been cleared, irrigated, and planted with crops by an influx of new settlers. The pace of the settlement of the former desert Read More

STIRRING UP THE HORNET’S NEST: How the Population of Rural Helmand view the current Counterinsurgency Campaign

Stirring Up the Hornet’s Nest, is critical to our understanding of the impact of opium poppy production in Afghanistan. The findings shared in this paper can bring much needed insight to development workers, civil society, and the Afghan government on Read More

STILL WATER RUNS DEEP: Illicit Poppy and the Transformation of the Deserts of Southwest Afghanistan

The physical and political geography of the deserts of southwest Afghanistan have gone through dramatic change over the last two decades. Located on the periphery of irrigated lands settled by the Afghan state in the 1950s and 1960s, this area Read More

Typologies of nomad-settler conflict in Afghanistan

While conflict over boundaries and migration timetables is an old feature of nomad/farmer relations in Afghanistan, this on-going AREU project found that new types of conflict have emerged. Political parties, organisations and lobbies play a much greater role in Afghanistan Read More

Truly Unprecedented: How the Helmand Food Zone supported an increase in the province’s capacity to produce opium

The goal of the Helmand Food Zone (HFZ) was to bring about a rapid and significant reduction in opium poppy cultivation. It was funded directly by the UK and US governments to the tune of between US$12 and $18 million Read More

Understanding Control and Influence: What Opium Poppy and Tax Reveal about the Writ of the Afghan State

There are a number of organisations that have sought to map government control in Afghanistan.1 However, given the frequency it is cited in the media and official reports, this paper offers a critique of the current way that North Atlantic Read More

Mapping nomad-farmer conflict in Afghanistan

In December 2016, the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) launched a European Union-funded project, ‘A three-pronged research effort into essential areas of Natural Resource Management (NRM), Food Zone policy, ground water, and the shifting interests of stakeholders in the Read More