During the Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization, which was successfully held in Ashgabat on November 28 under the chairmanship of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, special attention was paid to such pressing issues on the global agenda as climate change, ecology, and environment preservation. In this regard, joint actions aimed at strengthening cooperation, in particular, in the field of introducing environmentally friendly energy technologies were agreed. The strengthening of already existing mechanisms will be facilitated by international documents adopted in this area recently.
The heads of state and government of the ECO member countries, in the Ashgabat Consensus for Action signed following the Summit, in accordance with paragraph 14, were unison in opinions to strengthen cooperation in the field of environment preservation and climate change, disaster risk reduction, as well as to join efforts to create effective instruments of regional cooperation.
Environment preservation, consideration for flora and fauna and rational use of land and water resources of the country are the priorities of the environmental policy of the head of state.
Turkmenistan systematically comes up with important initiatives at the international level, proposing new approaches to addressing the existing and preventing possible environmental problems.
Thus, the constructive proposals made by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the sessions of the UN General Assembly, the Rio+20 World Summit and other major international forums were broadly supported by the world community. These included the initiatives to open in Ashgabat a Regional Center for Technologies related to climate change in Central Asia, to develop the UN Water Strategy and a special UN Programme for the Aral Sea Basin, as well as to single out the Aral problem as a separate area of the United Nations activity, and to establish a specialized UN agency on water issues for Central Asia.
As the President of Turkmenistan emphasizes, water resources are a determining factor of regional processes in the countries of Central Asia. Socio-economic development of the Central Asian states, the level of wellbeing and the quality of life of people directly depend on rational and efficient water use.
Water lays the basis of human vital activity. In our country with a hot climate, the issues of providing the population with pure drinking water are of paramount importance. Thus, the Law “On Drinking Water” and the “General program for the provision of populated areas in Turkmenistan with pure drinking water” were adopted, and the Sanitary Code of Turkmenistan was updated.
In order to fulfill the instructions given by the leader of the nation in this area, work is stepped up everywhere to improve the sectoral infrastructure, including the modernization of operating and building new water reservoirs, as well as introducing effective mechanisms for rational water use and strengthening environmental safety.
The construction of the Turkmen Lake “Altyn asyr” was a great contribution to ensuring ecological wellbeing, which had a positive effect on improving the climate in the Garagum and enriched the flora and fauna of the desert. About twenty species of fish got accustomed to the man-made reservoir, including pikeperch, catfish, perch, snakehead, pike, carp, grass carp and others, and the number of waterfowl has also increased.
In this regard, emphasis should be placed on the importance of the Concept for the lake region development in 2019-2025 and the Action Plan for its implementation, approved by the relevant Decree of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Along with this, a great deal of work is under way in the country to develop deserts. Thus, a successful experiment on growing rice was carried out in the experimental site of the Lake “Altyn asyr”. Research has been conducted in the land plots of Akhal velayat into the cultivation of trees and agricultural crops using collector-drainage water for irrigation, and trees such as dates, thuja, pine, apricot, grapes, corn and potato have been growing along the approach trunk collector of the Turkmen Lake “Altyn asyr” since 2016.
Having ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, Turkmenistan fulfills all undertaken obligations. Thus, the revised National Climate Change Strategy approved by the head of state provides for the implementation of system measures designed to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere in all sectors, primarily in the electric power industry, oil and gas, transport, agro-industrial complexes, the construction sector, housing and communal services.
Our country closely cooperates with international organizations in the field of ecology. Tens of environmental programs and projects are being implemented jointly with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Global Environment Facility and other reputable organizations nationally and regionally.
Along with the proposals on new initiatives of international importance, Turkmenistan creates the necessary conditions for the implementation of large projects to address environmental and water issues within the country. Large-scale work is carried out to form vast forests, control desertification, preserve biodiversity, improve the reclamation state of irrigated lands, and in many other areas.
In order to preserve and enhance the natural heritage, programs are under implementation for landscaping the country, creating woodland park zones, protective green belts, seeding and growing plant seedlings, as well as inventory and monitoring of forests.
The strengthening of the environmental legal framework, the construction of the Turkmen Lake “Altyn asyr” in the center of the Garagum Desert, regulating the use of pastures and a number of other steps had a positive effect on the ecological situation in the country, and the region in general.
A careful approach to the resources of the unique ecosystem of the Garagum Desert and the creation of environmentally friendly conditions in its territory, as well as the science-based and rational management of natural resources are important areas of the environmental policy being pursued under the leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Projects have been developed to preserve and enhance flora and desert biodiversity. In particular, this applies to such plants as white and black saxaul, sand acacias, kandym, ferula, harmola, camel thorn, locoweed, Aristída, rhubarb, wormwood, etc. Currently, 293 plant species grow in the Garagum Desert.
Research works are in progress to study the unique fauna and flora of the natural sites of the desert, which made it possible to nominate it for the UNESCO World Heritage List, as well as to include the biosphere reserves of the Garagum expanses in the international system in the future.
In addition, several national programs, strategies and concepts have been developed and adopted, including the National Strategy on Climate Change and the National Forest Program of Turkmenistan, which provide for an expansion of forest plantation areas in the country that contribute to climate change mitigation, conservation of biodiversity, protection of water resources, improvement of soil cover and land reclamation, and desertification control.
The strategy of our state in this area is based on advanced experience, innovative technologies and centuries-old national traditions.
The nationwide trees planting campaigns initiated by the leader of the nation have entered our life and received the warm support from the population. As part of these campaigns the area of landscaped zones and forest belts is increasing in Ashgabat and its environs, in all cities and villages of Turkmenistan due to the planting of millions of tree seedlings every year.
Man-made green belts, which are pleasing to the eye, protect the populated areas both from the heat of the sun and from the negative effects of car exhaust gases and dusty winds, which, in particular, contributes to an air quality improvement.
Several books by the leader of the nation cover the nature and flora of our country, where it is highlighted that the desert-sandy, gravelly soils of northern Turkmenistan are saline and are of little use for vegetation.
Scientists to a certain extent associate this with the transfer process of salt dust from the dried-up bottom of the Aral Sea, which spreads over considerable distances under the impact of strong winds.
According to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, broad scientific potential and practical experience have been accumulated in the development and afforestation of desert zones, stabilization of drift sands, restoration of saline soils, and putting into circulation new irrigated areas.
The National Institute of Deserts, Flora and Fauna of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Preservation of Turkmenistan has developed scientific and production recommendations for watering desert pastures, agricultural development of the oasis sands and takyrs in order to improve the ecological situation and economic efficiency.
Planting trees and shrubs is one of the most effective ways to combat dust storms in the Aral Sea impact zone. Based on the results of research by scientists who studied the flows of wind with sand from the dried up seabed, it turned out that 90 percent of the sand is transported in close proximity to the ground surface.
At high wind speeds and due to thermal processes, the transported sand and salts are capable of rising into higher layers of the atmosphere. In this regard, woodland-forming desert plants such as saxaul, kandym and saltwort can be used as a kind of protection against salt and dust flows.
Since the area of afforestation is characterized by harsh soil and climatic conditions and, especially, a small amount of precipitation (less than 100 millimeters per year), the main agro-technical measures are aimed at accumulating and preserving moisture, and improving the soil structure.
The creation of forest belts in the Aral Sea zone will have a positive impact on the ecological situation, increase in biodiversity, the state of pastures and, in the aggregate, will create favorable conditions for the life of people.
Ashgabat, recognized as the pearl of Asia, one of the most beautiful and comfortable cities in the world, has become a striking example of the successful implementation of environmental programs in our country. The capital of Turkmenistan is rightfully called a garden city, which is pleasing to the eye with its freshness, splendor of green spaces, a multicolored range of flowers and original fountains.
The development of Ashgabat based on a long-term prospect is one of the key lines of the urban planning policy initiated by the leader of the nation. Advanced trends in the field of architecture and innovative engineering solutions and the best traditions of national architecture have been put into practice in the modern look of the capital.
A favorable microclimate is created by the green park areas with fountains decorating the white marble capital, complementing the aesthetics of the urban space and architectural compositions.
Thus, the innovative capital city development concept, initiated by Head of State Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, including its further building and improvement, the creation of an integrated infrastructure and the urban space in general, was originally based on the principle of environmental friendliness.
Our country is taking concrete steps towards the practical implementation of the environmental policy, first of all, by establishing a reliable legal framework regulating this area. Thus, the Constitution of Turkmenistan contains a provision on state control over the rational use of natural resources and environment preservation.
Based on the “green” economy concept, work is under way to re-equip industrial enterprises. Construction of new, reconstruction and modernization of operating facilities of the production infrastructure are carried out using advanced technologies and innovative solutions that meet the environmental safety requirements.
All these comprehensive measures are key aspects of the state environmental policy being pursued under the leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, large-scale environmental programs and projects being carried out on the national, regional and global scales, which are aimed at dealing with urgent problems of our time, joining the efforts of the international community in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.