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NZ supports eco-tourism development in Afghanistan


4 April 2008 Media Statement

NZ supports eco-tourism development in Afghanistan

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that New Zealand will be supporting an eco-tourism project in Bamyan Province in Afghanistan over the next three years.

Helen Clark made the announcement today from the NATO leaders' summit in Bucharest, Romania, where the future of international support for Afghanistan was discussed.

“Dr Sarabi, Governor of Bamyan, discussed this project with NZAID during her recent visit to Wellington and I am pleased that New Zealand is able to assist,” Helen Clark said.

“The ancient Bamyan Buddhas and the renowned Bandi-e Amir Lakes in Bamyan Province in Afghanistan have tremendous tourism potential, with the Bamyan Valley already recognised as a World Heritage Site.

“Tourism is an important avenue for development in Bamyan. This project complements the health, education, and other development projects which New Zealand is already actively involved with in Afghanistan.

“By offering this support now, New Zealand can help ensure that work on eco-tourism begins before international tourists return in large numbers. The objective is to develop tourism which is both environmentally sustainable and provides benefits to the local population.

“New Zealand has a special connection with Bamyan through the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team which is stationed there, and our development assistance programme in Afghanistan is focused there,” Helen Clark said.

To cover this project NZAID’s investment in Bamyan will increase by NZ$1 million in the next financial year. The total funding for the project will amount to $1.7 million over three years.

The eco-tourism project will be undertaken by the Aga Khan Foundation and the provincial government who are long-term partners of NZAID in Afghanistan.

ends

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