About 300 representatives from Europe, Asia, the USA, CIS countries, international organizations and financial institutions took part in the International Investment Forum “Smart City Arkadag”. Representatives of the UN, UNIDO, ADB, in an interview with the Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper, shared on the emerging prospects in engagement with these international organizations in the light of the implementation of the “smart city” concept in the country and the ongoing digitalization in general.
Dmitry Shlapachenko, the UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan, recalled that in February 2023 a joint mission of the UN–Habitat, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the UN Environment Programme, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, UN Development Program, visited the city of Arkadag.
“The mission recorded the provision of basic urban services using the latest standards and “smart” technological solutions, noting innovative water purification, investments in electric transport. The UN experts also assessed that the planning of the city of Arkadag takes into account the social aspects of sustainable urban development, including inclusiveness and equality, diversity and cultural heritage, health and well-being, safety and security, education and lifelong learning. In the process of planning and implementation, accessibility for all was taken into account, paying special attention to persons with disabilities,” Shlapachenko said.
According to the UN Resident Representative, an inclusive approach to the surrounding space, housing and urban infrastructure, environmental issues and financing can be scaled throughout the country and within the subregion.
Thus, through the new city of Arkadag, the principles of open, safe, resilient and “smart” sustainable urban residential areas are being implemented in the country, which contributes to the localization of Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda in Turkmenistan.
“In this direction, we at the UN see great prospects for joint work with the Government of the country and are ready to further develop cooperation, including issues of increasing the investment attractiveness of the city of Arkadag and the country as a whole,” he stressed.
“The UN system is ready to further develop cooperation with the Government to improve public-private partnership institutions, which will contribute to the implementation of digital innovation technologies, including the development of digital infrastructure of smart cities,” said Vladimir Valetko, economist at the UN Resident Coordinator Office in Turkmenistan, who spoke at the forum on behalf of the UNECE Public-Private Partnership Secretariat.
Valetko pointed out the importance of public-private partnership tools for the implementation of the Concept of Digital Economy Development.
He expressed readiness to conduct a training on public-private partnership for public administration specialists, which can be organized by the UN Resident Coordinator Office in Turkmenistan jointly with the UNECE and the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan. “This will help to increase the investment attractiveness of Arkadag city and the country as a whole”, he noted.
“UNIDO sees great potential for the development of Arkadag city, including the use of artificial intelligence,” said Chong Joon, Deputy Director General and Managing Director of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation and Sustainable Industrial Development of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
He stressed that the city of Arkadag is a symbol of significant progress in infrastructure, environmental and economic terms, acts as a flagship initiative and model of sustainable urban development in Turkmenistan, contributing to the localization of a New Urban Development Program and Sustainable Development Goals.
In this context, UNIDO envisions cooperation with the Government of Turkmenistan to develop programs on stepping up the intellectualization of urban governance and other public services.
Artur Andrysiak, ADB Country Director, Turkmenistan Resident Mission, expressed hope that innovative technologies and approaches applied in the city of Arkadag could eventually be replicated in other cities of Turkmenistan.
“Currently, the ADB is working on a Partnership Strategy with Turkmenistan for the period 2024-2028 in accordance with the national development priorities set out in the Program “Revival of a new era of a powerful state: The national program of socio-economic development of Turkmenistan in 2022-2052,” he said.
In the field of urban development, ADB can share regional experience and knowledge with Turkmenistan.
In the energy sector, the Bank will continue to support the strengthening of the national energy system as well as the Government’s efforts to accelerate decarbonization in order to meet national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by investing in renewable energy sources and improving the energy efficiency of existing gas-fired power plants.
Andrysiak also stressed the ADB’s readiness to support the Government of Turkmenistan in preparing a long-term carbon neutrality plan, including a study of a low-carbon path for the energy sector. ///nCa, 4 July 2023
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