Turkmenabat, 25 April 2023: The UNDP in Turkmenistan held a National workshop on Water Diplomacy within the Project “Conservation and Sustainable Management of Land Resources and High Nature Value Ecosystems in the Aral Sea Basin for Multiple Benefits”, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by UNDP and the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan.
The event was aimed at discussing the experience of development of transboundary water cooperation between Turkmenistan and the countries of the Aral Sea basin and informing interested stakeholders about the ongoing activities of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS).
“Water is a key and strategic resource for the country. Taking into account the transboundary nature of water sources and the shortage of water resources in Central Asia, it is necessary to deepen cooperation between the countries of the region within the framework of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS),” – said Ms. Narine Sahakyan, UNDP Resident Representative in Turkmenistan opening the workshop in Turkmenabat. “Within the framework of the new Aral Sea project, UNDP, together with other partners, supports the development of regional cooperation in the field of water diplomacy for sustainable management of water resources in Central Asia.”
The seminar brought together representatives of ministries and entities of Turkmenistan, as well as non-governmental and regional organizations involved in the process of cooperation between Central Asian countries on water and environmental issues, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, the State Committee for Water Resources, the Khyakimliks of Lebap and Dashoguz velayats, the Turkmen State Pedagogical Institute named after Seyitnazar Seydi, the Dashoguz branch of the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) and the non-profit organization “Ynanch-Vepa”.
During the seminar, the participants shared their experience in the development of transboundary water cooperation between Turkmenistan and other countries of the Aral Sea basin, including the current state of the IFAS reform and also discussed the impact of climate change on the water resources of the region, gender and youth aspects of water diplomacy, issues of integrated use of water resources on the example of Dashoguz velayat and the north of Lebap velayat, affected by the Aral crisis, as well as learned about the strategy of interaction with partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries within the framework of the project.
The $4.6 million project “Conservation and Sustainable Management of Land Resources and Natural Ecosystems in the Aral Sea Basin”, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), aims to promote a land degradation neutrality and initial investments in participatory, integrated land use planning to restore and improve the use of land and water resources, taking into account key biodiversity habitats to secure critical ecosystem services. In addition, the project will address the drivers of biodiversity degradation, to strengthen the protection of globally important biodiversity, habitats, and species, through the expansion of the protected area system and strengthening of their management effectiveness. As result, the project will increase the resilience of the local population and preserve globally significant ecosystems in the zone of influence of the Aral Sea crisis in the Lebap and Dashoguz pilot velayats. The project will also support international knowledge sharing and engagement of Turkmenistan in the Aral Sea Basin management to ensure wider synergies and regional cooperation.///UNDP Turkmenistan, 25 April 2023