Talking Points by Ms. Natia Natsvlishvili, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Altyn Asyr LakeFeb 18, 2019
Excellency, Deputy Chair of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Members of the Government of Turkmenistan,
Representatives of the diplomatic corps,
dear guests and colleagues,
It is a privilege to join you at this important event of laying a foundation of the new settlement at the Altyn Asyr lake. I am pleased to come back to this place, to once again appreciate the scale and magnitude of this new initiative.
We, at UNDP, treat this grand project on the socio-economic development of the Altyn Asyr lake as one of the country’s responses to the growing climate change concerns and subsequent consequences.
Turkmenistan belongs to the region, which is one of the most vulnerable globally to the changing climate. The 3rd national communication on climate change estimates that the average air temperature in Turkmenistan has already increased by almost 2 °C since 1950. And we can feel this rise from year to year.
The temperature rise in turn impacts the water quantities. It is forecast that over the next few decades the Amudarya river water flows will decrease by 15%. This is a matter of special concern, given that the Amudarya river is the key water source for the entire Central Asian region, including the Aral Sea basin.
It is a pleasure to note that Turkmenistan currently plays a leading role in the response to the Aral Sea crisis. UNDP welcomes the initiative by his Excellency, the President of Turkmenistan for the UN Special Programme on the Aral Sea basin.
In support of the Government’s priorities, UNDP is currently developing a new project to partner with Government of Turkmenistan on restoration of salinized lands and protection of biodiversity in Aral crises affected areas in Turkmenistan.
I am proud, that this upcoming initiative will be an extension of our long-standing cooperation with the Government of Turkmenistan on the issues if climate change and environmental protection. In the last 5 years, UNDP has invested over 20 million USD into various climate, energy and disaster risk reduction projects.
We support the Government in streamlining policy for environmental sustainability, including development of the National Strategy on Climate Change;
We partner with the government to try prototype innovative means for using scarce water, land and energy resources and upscale the results nationwide. For instance, in the etrap of Gekdepe, we have successfully demonstrated new technologies, that save water by 50 % with the simultaneous increase of the cotton yield by another 50 %.
Taking this opportunity, let me note, that, along with our national partners, we will be happy to host you at this site and introduce results of our collaboration, in promoting different irrigation know-how in meeting the government’s agricultural priorities. We hope, that our findings will be interesting in developing further smart agricultural and water management practices in the basin of the Altyn Asyr lake.
UNDP is happy to extend cooperation with the Government of Turkmenistan, and provide its knowledge and experience in support to the emerging settlement and the new community at the Altyn Asyr lake. We can bring in the leading international and Innovative practices in managing agriculture, livelihoods and natural resources to be used by the communities in the new village. We are happy to extend our cooperation on empowering rural women, noting the active role that Turkmen women play within their communities, and women overall, play in development across the globe.
Subjects of climate change, sustainable economic and human development, as related to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals remain high on Government's and UNDP’s agenda and we, at UNDP, are looking forward to expanding out cooperation to the benefit of the people of Turkmenistan.
Thank you for your attention.