On 1 December 2023, in Dubai, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov held a meeting with Ms.Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UNEP, on the sidelines of the COP28 Conference, TDH reports.
The sides expressed satisfaction with the opportunity to discuss topical issues of cooperation in the environmental field. At the same time, the readiness of Turkmenistan and UNEP to further strengthen the traditional fruitful cooperation was confirmed.
As President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted, Turkmenistan defines climate change as an integral factor affecting sustainable development.
“Our country actively supported the Paris Climate Agreement by ratifying it in October 2016. In accordance with the commitments made by Turkmenistan, a new version of the National Climate Change Strategy was approved in September 2019,” the head of state said.
UNEP contributes to the preparation of Turkmenistan’s Fourth National Communication on Climate Change
In May 2022, Turkmenistan’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) was approved within the framework of fulfilling obligations under the Paris Agreement, which was officially submitted to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Currently, with the support of UNEP, the Fourth National Communication of Turkmenistan on Climate Change under the UNFCCC is also being actively prepared.
Recognizing the need for collective action to tackle environmental challenges, Turkmenistan has proposed establishing a Regional Center for Climate Technologies for Central Asian countries, with Ashgabat as its headquarters. This initiative aims to foster regional cooperation and facilitate the adoption of climate-resilient technologies across Central Asia.
Turkmenistan’s partnership with UNEP, underscored by the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan and UNEP, is expected to play a crucial role in advancing this initiative.
Reducing methane emissions
Following the meeting, cooperation on reducing methane emissions into the atmosphere was called an urgent topic on the international climate action agenda.
At today’s COP28 Conference, Turkmenistan announced its accession to Global Methane Pledge (GMP).
At the same time, Turkmenistan intends to continue cooperation with international organizations and partner states within the framework of existing projects and programs aimed at fulfilling the conditions arising from the GMP, President Berdimuhamedov said.
Cooperation with IMEO
Currently, a joint project is also being prepared with the International Methane Emission Observatory (IMEO), within the framework of which it is planned to conduct a series of relevant trainings for Turkmen specialists, joint scientific research, and improve national relevant legislation.
The Aral problem
During the recent meeting, the participants also discussed the ongoing efforts to address the Aral Sea crisis. Turkmenistan played a pivotal role in this endeavor by chairing the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) from 2017 to 2019. Under Turkmenistan’s leadership, significant progress was made in reviving international cooperation and mobilizing resources to tackle the Aral Sea’s environmental challenges.
A landmark achievement during Turkmenistan’s chairmanship was the convening of the IFAS Summit in August 2018, marking the first such gathering after a long hiatus. The Summit brought together the heads of all Central Asian states, demonstrating a renewed commitment to addressing the Aral Sea crisis at the highest levels.
Turkmenistan’s efforts also extended to the United Nations, where it successfully spearheaded the adoption of resolutions on “Cooperation between the United Nations and the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea” in the UN General Assembly in 2018 and 2019. These resolutions paved the way for strengthened collaboration between IFAS and UN agencies, programs, funds, and international financial institutions.
Furthermore, Turkmenistan played a crucial role in developing the draft 4th phase of the Action Program for Assistance to the countries of the Aral Basin, a comprehensive plan to address the environmental and socioeconomic consequences of the Aral Sea crisis.
In a significant milestone, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) adopted a Resolution initiated by Turkmenistan regarding the establishment of the UN Special Program for the Aral Sea Basin on May 19, 2023. This Resolution proposes to start consultations with relevant UN agencies to determine the optimal format and structure of this Special Program.
Turkmenistan hopes to strengthen partnership with UNEP on specific projects related to climate change adaptation in the Caspian region
In September of this year, at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, Turkmenistan submitted a proposal to create the Caspian Environmental Initiative, which is designed to become an international platform for substantive interaction on issues of environmental protection of the Caspian Sea, conservation of its biological resources, and solving a number of urgent environmental problems.
In this context, Turkmenistan hopes to strengthen its partnership with UNEP on specific projects related to climate change adaptation in the Caspian region, as well as the development of the concept of marine spatial planning of the Turkmen part of the Caspian Sea.
The Executive Director of the UNEP highly appreciated Turkmenistan’s efforts in the environmental field, its constructive initiatives and contribution to solving priority global tasks in this direction.
In turn, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov thanked Ms. Inger Andersen for supporting the close cooperation of UNEP with Turkmenistan.
At the end of the meeting, the commitment of Turkmenistan and the United Nations Environment Programme to further effective partnership meeting the goals of universal well-being and sustainable development was reaffirmed. ///nCa, 1 December 2023