Diversified cooperation with the United Nations is the key aspect of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s foreign policy based on the principles of positive neutrality and broad international cooperation. At present the partnership has taken on a new meaning and specific character.
The evergrowing dynamics of fruitful relations with the United Nations is determined, first and foremost, by Turkmenistan’s active participation in the global community’s affairs, its desire to render practical assistance in tackling pressing global issues. Our country’s position and the foreign policy course as a whole, pursued by the head of state have won wide recognition and support from the United Nations.
Remarkably eloquent is the fact that independent neutral Turkmenistan has repeatedly assumed the vice-chairmanship of the United Nations General Assembly sessions, including of the 58th, 62nd, 64th, 68th and 71st sessions.
In addition, our country has been many times elected as a member of the Organization’s authoritative agencies: the United Nations Economic and Social Council, the United Nations Commission on Population and Development, the UNESCO’s Executive Board, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy, the United Nations Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Executive Committee of the Program of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), among others.
The opening of the Ashgabat-based United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia on Turkmenistan’s initiative became a landmark event in the history of bilateral cooperation. The one-of-a-kind Center represents a reliable stronghold of the Community of Nations in the region.
In February 2017, the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Resolution declaring December 12 as International Neutrality Day. This momentous event reaffirmed the special importance of Turkmenistan’s permanent neutrality as an effective mechanism for establishing productive cooperation, strengthening genuinely friendly, good neighborly relations among states and nations.
As a party to a number of the important UN Conventions and documents, Turkmenistan is making every effort to properly fulfill its obligations. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s concrete proposals, aimed at consolidating the joint efforts to promote regional and international peace, to build the new energy security architecture, to develop transit-transport corridors, and to mitigate the consequences of the Aral Sea crisis, have been fully backed by the international community and endorsed by the relevant UN General Assembly Resolutions.
Turkmenistan was among the first in the world to adapt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the national level and is today actively engaged in the practical implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN.
This year, our country is to present the Voluntary National Review to report to the world on its experience and actions taken to implement the 2030 Agenda.
Promoting the ecological well-being is a fundamental aspect of the socio-economic reforms, which are well underway in Turkmenistan. Ongoing massive projects are aimed at ensuring sustainable water use, preserving biological diversity and natural landscapes, combating desertification and soil degradation. The National Climate Change Strategy, the General Program for Supplying Pure Drinking Water to the Population of Turkmenistan, the National Climate Change Strategy and the National Forest Program of Turkmenistan (under which 3,000,000 trees are planted countrywide every year) are currently under implementation.
In recent years, the water problem and issues of peace and security have been put at the core of the international agenda. Exacerbated by climate change, increasing water scarcity is of growing concern all over the world, the Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov states. The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed the decade 2018-2028 as the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development’. Water also has a pivotal role to play in achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
To this end, UNDP plans to run a new program in partnership with the Government of Turkmenistan, which focuses on dealing with land degradation, water shortage and soil salinization.
Almost all organizations are engaged in cooperation in these fields. Over the last five years, the United Nations has invested over US$ 20,000,000 in energy projects and climate change and disaster risk reduction projects.
Ecological sustainability is seen among the central aspects of cooperation. A notable example here is the National Climate Change Strategy. There are a number of projects being implemented to introduce innovations in water, energy and land conservation. For instance, this has resulted in a 50-percent reduction in the amount of water used to irrigate cotton crops, in parallel cotton yields have increased by 50 percent.
Our country’s international initiatives seek to respond to today’s burning issues, including climate change. Turkmenistan’s chairmanship of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) has increased the role of ‘water diplomacy’ among the IFAS Founding Member-States. As known, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed that a UN Special Program for the Aral Sea be developed. The proposal gained wide international support. Adopted on May 28, 2019 on the initiative of Turkmenistan, the UN General Assembly Resolution “Cooperation between the United Nations Organization and the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea” serves as another illustration.
The head of state has clearly identified water diplomacy and ecology as one of the priority trends of the country’s foreign policy. Speaking at the international forums, including the Summit of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, the Caspian Summit and the Summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the President of Turkmenistan announced a number of constructive initiatives, aimed at joining international efforts to tackle the challenges of today. The proposal to work out the UN Water Strategy was among them.
Another clear proof of recognition for the Turkmen leader’s national strategy and SDG initiatives from the global community, is the fact that on May 7, 2019 the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elected Turkmenistan for membership of the Executive Board of the World Food Program for 2020-2022, of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development for 2020-2024, and of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs for 2020-2023.
Expanding the strategic partnership with the United Nations, our country is actively participating in international efforts to handle the important tasks in these areas both regionally and globally. Accredited to our country, seven representative offices of the UN specialized agencies significantly contribute to strengthening the traditional cooperation. At the same time, Turkmenistan has its Permanent Missions to the United Nations in New York, Vienna and Geneva.
In the last 12 years, 368 target projects have been implemented by our country’s Government in different areas in close collaboration with the UN agencies. At present, Turkmenistan maintains the membership of 10 organizational entities of the United Nations, carrying out relevant activities.
The constructive character of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s initiatives on the new global energy security architecture, today’s crucial factor for sustainable development, universal peace and stability, deserves a special mention. Readopted by the UN General Assembly, the Turkmenistan-initiated Resolution “Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy and Its Role in Sustainable Development and International Cooperation” provides clear evidence that these proposals are much needed in the light of modern-day realities.
Turkmenistan is taking a series of necessary steps to modernize the transport sector and accelerate its integration into international transport infrastructure. These efforts are widely commended and strongly supported by the Community of Nations. Eloquent examples are the High-level International Conference on the Role of Transport and Transit Corridors in Ensuring International Cooperation, Stability and Sustainable Development and the first-ever UN Global Conference on Sustainable Transport held in Ashgabat in September 2014 and November 2016 and attended by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. They culminated in the important documents: the Ashgabat Declaration and the Ashgabat Statement, which became a meaningful contribution to pooling efforts to establish and optimize effective cooperation in the strategic transport sector.
Turkmenistan has been elected a member of the Inland Transport Committee of the Economic Commission for Europe, and the UN Economic Commission for Europe for 2019-2021. At our country’s initiative the UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution Pledging Continued Support to Afghanistan and declared 3 June as International World Bicycle Day.
Turkmenistan is irrevocably committed to the policy of positive neutrality in its international relations. The country’s legal status has been recognized twice by the relevant Resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly. Turkmenistan is the only country in the world to include the UN Resolutions on the status of permanent neutrality in its Constitution.
Today, our country’s progress attracts close international attention and it is easily explicable. The experience accumulated by Turkmenistan is of great value both nationally and globally.
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