Congratulatory speech on the 24th Anniversary of the Independence of Turkmenistan by Ms Jacinta Barrins

Oct 23, 2015

It gives me a special pleasure, as UN Resident Coordinator and on behalf of the UN Country Team - UNDP, UNICEF, UNODC, UN Women, WHO, UNFPA, UNHCR, IOM and World Bank - in Turkmenistan to congratulate the President, His Excellency Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, and the people of Turkmenistan on the forthcoming 24th anniversary of the Independence.

I am pleased to note the ongoing high level of partnership between the United Nations and the Government of Turkmenistan based on mutual trust established between the United Nations and the Government of Turkmenistan over the years.

On this very special occasion, let me highlight the new milestones reached in the cooperation between the United Nations system and Turkmenistan over the past year.

Turkmenistan – United Nations Partnership Framework for Development 2016-2020

This year, together with the Government of Turkmenistan the United Nations family finalized and submitted to the Government for signing the Turkmenistan-UN Partnership Framework for Development for 2016-2020. This strategic document lays down the foundations of the bilateral Turkmenistan-UN cooperation for the next five years. It focuses on building strong partnership with Turkmenistan as an upper-middle-income country. While implementing the Partnership Framework, Turkmenistan and UN have committed to continuously measure the progress and quality of national development in five priority areas, conduct research for evidence based policy making in line with international standards and highlight this progress nationally and internationally. The Government of Turkmenistan has also committed to support the implementation of this programme by providing co—financing to the activities to reach the results identified in the Government.

Visit of the UN Secretary-General to Turkmenistan

On 12-14 June 2015, the UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon visited Turkmenistan and had fruitful discussions with the President and Government of Turkmenistan. He raised important issues in relation to protection , promotion and respect for human rights, ensuring gender equality, addressing climate change, promoting interests of youth, the need for a greater voice of civil society in development issues  and supporting the work of NGOs.. We are pleased to work with Turkmen NGOs to actively engage with the United Nations country office. To this end, we had a follow meeting with NGOs after   the meeting of the UN Secretary-General with a number of Turkmen NGOs. We also marked the World Democracy Day on 15 September with NGOs, at which we agreed to assist NGOs with creating an online platform for them to interact among themselves and coordinate actions. 

Adoption of Sustainable Development Goals

On 25 September 2015, the UN member states adopted, at the Summit on the Post-2015 Agenda in New York, the set of new 17 ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) for the period 2016  to 2030. These 17 goals will serve as a beacon against which all countries can measure their development progress. Turkmenistan actively contributed to defining these SDGs by holding two rounds of country consultations involving government, Mejlis and civil society, schools and children. The Turkmen President, His Excellency Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov attended this Summit and supported the adoption of this global development agenda that aims at eradicating poverty, building inclusive and just societies, creating opportunities for all and at all ages to have quality education, health services, decent jobs. This global agenda also focuses to protect the planet from effects of climate change, preserve ecosystems and sustainable livelihoods.

Strengthen data for measuring Sustainable Development

We stand ready to support the Government of Turkmenistan in its endeavor to adopt the new post 2015 goals to national programmes, sector plans. We are ready to support the Government in strengthening its monitoring system to measure the progress that will be made in implementing the new goals in line with international standards.

All UN agencies continue to provide technical assistance in improving the collection, analysis and reporting of national data. We stand ready to heighten our support to the National State Statistic Committee and line ministries in this important function. We believe it is important to be able to accurately measure the level of development in the country and share this information nationally and globally.

Turkmenistan moving towards a Knowledge Based Economy

Given Turkmenistan’s growing economy, its status of an upper middle income country, its vision to move to an industrial economy, it is natural that  it should move to a knowledge based economy that is built on research, innovation and evidence based policy making. ‘A move to evidence-based policy approach entails making well informed decisions about policies, programmes and projects by putting the best available evidence at the heart of policy development and implementation. This approach would move away from opinion-based policy.

Celebrating 70th anniversary of the United Nations and 20th anniversary of neutrality of Turkmenistan

This year bears special significance to Turkmenistan and to the United Nations as the people of Turkmenistan are celebrating 20 years of permanent neutrality that has been recognized twice by the world community through the UN General Assembly Resolutions, 50/80A: ‘Permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan’ on the 12th of December 1995 which was reaffirmed on the 3rd of June 2015 (69/285).  I know that having permanent neutrality status means a great deal to the people of Turkmenistan. It defines how you plan your national development and how you conduct your regional and international relationships.  I know that your neutrality law, articles 2 and 11, clearly outlines the role in promoting peace and security built on friendly relations.

At the same time, the world is celebrating the 70th anniversary since establishment of the United Nations. We are grateful to the Government of Turkmenistan for the continuous support being provided to the United Nations in their activities in the country.

To mark these two significant events, the United Nations together with partners from the Government and NGOs organized a series of events including a sporting event for people with disabilities, a debate with participation of students of 5 universities for the UN Debate Cup, and the football tournament with participation of the teams representing embassies, UN County Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Human rights

We recognize that the government is making good progress on reporting to the Treaty Bodies and in bringing its legislation and practices in conformity with international standards. This year Turkmenistan has defended its national reports on the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.  It will soon do so for the Convention on the elimination of racial discrimination,  

 As of today we have one National Actions Plans approved by the Government: National Action Plan on Gender Equality adopted on 25 January 2015 and we hope in the near future the National Human Rights Action Plan will be approved

We consider these action plans to be very important as a tool to ensure that the many treaty body recommendations will be implemented. We stand ready to support the government to implement these plans for the benefit of the people.

Turkmenistan and membership of UN Bodies

Turkmenistan continues to be an active participant in the many international processes. Turkmenistan’s constructive approach to addressing global and regional problems in the multilateral framework, including at the United Nations forums, is well recognized by the United Nations.

This year, Turkmenistan has become a member of another three UN Bodies: Board of Governors of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and Executive Board of UN Women and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in addition to many other bodies of ECOSOC.

In conclusion, I would once again like as the UN Resident Coordinator to congratulate the people of Turkmenistan and the President on their twenty-fourth anniversary of Independence and wish them many years of prosperity, good health and happiness.

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