Regional ecological program’s priorities are under discussion in Turkmenistan

Ashgabat has hosted a regular meeting of the Interstate Commission for Sustainable Development (ICSD) of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), organized by the State Committee of Turkmenistan for Environmental Protection and Land Resources as part of our country's chairmanship of the IFAS in 2017-2019.

The meeting was attended by delegations from Central Asian countries and representatives of international organizations � the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the European Union, the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Regional Mountain Center for Central Asia, and others.

Prior to this, a two-day working meeting was held between representatives of the Interstate Commission for Sustainable Development and international organizations to dovetail the meeting agenda. It included a broad range of issues relating to the implementation of national ecological strategies, international environmental programs and projects aimed to create favorable conditions for the people living in the Aral Sea region, sustainable use of water and other natural resources, climate change adaptation, and others.

The meeting approved the 2017 Action Plan of the Interstate Commission for Sustainable Development, and decided to delegate the chairmanship of the Commission from Turkmenistan (that coordinated regional cooperation in 2015-2016) to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

Representatives of the ICSD Scientific Information Center and ICSD Social Council, the Regional Mountain Center for Central Asia, and the Regional Renewable Energy Center for Central Asia delivered their speeches on the plans for the next two years. Consideration was also given to the preparation of A survey on adaption of Central Asia's mountain systems to climate change.

The director of the GIZ Regional Program Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change for Economic Development of Central Asia presented experts' recommendations for stepping up the activities. The mechanisms and priority areas of partnership were analyzed in a UN Economic Commission for Europe Report entitled Green economy in the context of Central Asia's sustainable development. In their reports, representatives of the UN Environment Program and the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia reviewed the experience and outcomes of cooperation in the field of ecology and sustainable development with the ICSD and Central Asian countries.

The meeting participants discussed the outcomes of the first International Ecological Forum Initiatives for cooperation in the field of ecology and sustainable development in Central Asia, held in Ashgabat the day before and co-organized by the State Committee of Turkmenistan for Environmental Protection and Land Resources and the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia.

The meeting also focused on a wide spectrum of issues concerning environment and sustainable development, unified water management, adaptation to global climate change, investments in green economy, and others. Summarizing the results, the meeting attendees assigned the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia to develop and dovetail a roadmap for further cooperation with the region's countries and international partners.

The reports presented at the ICSD meeting show that specific steps are being taken today in all the Aral Sea littoral states to improve ecology in the region. Turkmenistan has accumulated vast experience in this field. Massive efforts are being made to ameliorate the social-ecological situation in the Aral Sea basin, in particular, in Dashoguz velayat, which is highly exposed to negative impacts of the ecological crisis. Big investment projects, including the ones aimed to supply safe drinking water to the population, landscaping, land improvement and land salinity control projects.

The ICSD meeting decided to work out a new Regional Environmental Program for Sustainable Development in Central Asia. The meeting participants highlighted the need to improve the activities and increase the potential of the ICSD Scientific-Information Center and its branches, given the Central Asian countries' priorities.

Source: Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper