Today, a meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture of the Central Asian states was held at the Yyldyz hotel in the capital as part of the international conference “Partnership in the field of food security in the face of climate change”. The two-day forum, held in Ashgabat on the initiative of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, is organized by the Government of Turkmenistan jointly with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with the support of the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in our country.
The meeting, held in a hybrid format, was attended by FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Central Asia Viorel Gutu, FAO Deputy Director General, Regional Representative of this organization for Europe and Central Asia Vladimir Rakhmanin, heads of relevant ministries of Turkmenistan, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In general, the Ashgabat forum is intended to become an open platform for discussing issues of regional and global cooperation in such an important area as ensuring food security. The participation in the current meeting of representatives of authoritative international organizations and financial structures also testifies to the special relevance of this topic. In the light of modern realities, the addition of efforts to solve the problems in this area is an integral factor in overall stability and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
On behalf of the FAO and the participants of the meeting, sincere gratitude was expressed to the President of Turkmenistan for the hospitality and high organizational level of the forum, which provides an opportunity to establish a multilateral exchange of experience, information, knowledge and technologies, develop coordinated approaches to solving a wide range of issues in the above area, and strengthen capacity agro-industrial sector. The desire of the FAO to further joint work with the states of Central Asia, the readiness to continue to contribute to the progressive progress of the region was also emphasized.
It was stated that Turkmenistan is consistently developing fruitful cooperation with the United Nations and its specialized agencies, including the FAO. The result of close cooperation is also the holding of current events in Ashgabat aimed at stimulating regional and international partnerships in the food sector. In this context, it was noted that climate change is making adjustments to traditional agricultural practices, which requires immediate action. Thus, today the countries of the region and the world are faced with a serious task - to make the agro-industrial complex more productive and able to adapt to external influences and emerging new conditions and challenges.
The importance of food security is also recognized in the Paris Climate Agreement. This is confirmed by the fact that many countries in their plans for adaptation to climate change and mitigation of their consequences primarily rely on the agro-industrial complex. In this aspect, the application of sustainable agricultural practices to achieve food security is a priority for the states of Central Asia.
Continuing the topic, it was emphasized that Turkmenistan pays close attention to these issues. Under the leadership of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, fundamental transformations are being carried out in the domestic agro-industrial complex, systematic steps are being taken to improve its activities through the active introduction of innovations and digital technologies, and the processing sector of the industry is being modernized.
In order to ensure food security in our country, relevant measures are also being taken within the framework of the National Climate Change Strategy and the National Forest Program. Comprehensive measures are being implemented to adapt agricultural production to climatic factors, optimize its location, taking into account the needs for industry products. In the large-scale reforms being implemented, great importance is attached to rational land and water use, and the environmental aspect. Supporting international efforts in this direction, Turkmenistan invariably takes a proactive position in developing balanced solutions to these problems with a view to the future.
During the discussion of the issues on the agenda of the meeting, the close relationship between climate change, food systems and socio-economic conditions was noted. One of the important elements in strengthening food security, including the smooth functioning of world agricultural production, was identified as the sustainability of food transport chains.
It is also noteworthy that the impact of climate change on the food factor is bilateral. Thus, rising air temperatures and changing weather conditions create risks for the cultivation of crops. At the same time, there is a need to introduce environmentally friendly "green" technologies into agricultural production in order to minimize its negative impact on the environment and, in particular, reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In this regard, the study and application of the world's best practices in the field of adaptation to climate change and mitigation of their consequences are of particular importance. One of the tools for the implementation of this task can be the Regional Climate Technology Center for Central Asia, the initiative to create which under the auspices of the UN belongs to Turkmenistan.
The speeches emphasized that ensuring food security in a changing climate is associated with the solution of many of the tasks set out in the SDGs. This activity is multifaceted and requires more effective international cooperation. At the same time, the efforts and contribution of each country are of great importance in developing a broad regional and global dialogue, filling it with new content, and achieving concrete results.
Summing up the results of the ministerial meeting, the constructiveness of the exchange of views on various aspects relating to further ways of implementing regional cooperation in order to develop sustainable agriculture adapted to climate change and its consequences was emphasized. In this regard, the importance of intensifying cooperation between the relevant departments of the Central Asian countries with the participation of such a major United Nations structure as FAO was noted.
The relevance of continuing such meetings on a regular basis was also emphasized, which will further strengthen mutually beneficial partnerships that meet common interests, will contribute to the development of specific proposals and promising joint projects for the effective use of the solid potential available to the countries of Central Asia.
Then, a number of documents were signed between the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan and the relevant regional structure of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations regarding projects to promote the creation of a digital land cadastre and natural resource management in arid and saline agricultural lands.
Tomorrow at the Yyldyz Hotel, during the international conference “Partnership in the field of food security in the context of climate change”, issues of this nature will be discussed in detail within the framework of thematic discussions.
Thus, the Ashgabat forum will become an important stage on the path to further building up fruitful cooperation aimed at developing optimal solutions to the priority tasks of our time and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for the sake of general well-being and progress.