By Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan (Ashgabat, November 17, 2017)
Being chairman of International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), Turkmenistan has been taking all possible measures for the conservation and restoration of water and other natural resources, combating desertification, land degradation and the last but not the least, climate change since its inception.
It has been one of the key directions of international cooperation of Turkmenistan as the initiator of constructive solutions to global environmental problems for the well-being of present and future generations. Turkmenistan supports the UN development program, UN on Environment Program, the global environment fund. sustainable development, Rio +20, the Summit on sustainable development for the period after 2015 year, held under the 70-th session of the United Nations General Assembly, (III) the UN World Conference on disaster reduction (Japan) and VII World Water Forum (the Republic of Korea). Being Chairman of IFAS Turkmenistan will continue to advocate the practical implementation of specific initiatives of IFAS founding countries which are aimed at enhancing regional cooperation and development of systemic mechanisms for cooperation in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development.
In particular, Turkmenistan will make all necessary efforts to promote the issues on the establishment of the Regional Centre for technologies related to climate change. In this regard, during the chairmanship in the IFAS Turkmenistan in cooperation with specialized agencies and UN institutions, will take all necessary measures to continue working on center.
For continuation and further strengthening of Turkmenistan’s sincere efforts about IFAS a signing ceremony was took place between the executive committee of the IFAS and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), represented by the Regional Programme “Transboundary Water Management in Central Asia (TWM CA)”, and The Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC) during which two important Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were inked.
During the signing ceremony representatives of ministries and state agencies of Turkmenistan as well as international organizations were actively participated and gelled. The main goal of the memoranda was to provide support for fostering regional water cooperation in Central Asia, improving the socioeconomic and environmental situation in the Aral Sea basin, as well contributing technical assistance.
Participating parties assured that these agreements would create an additional impact for expansion and strengthening of regional water cooperation, which in its turn would benefit the people of the Aral Sea basin region.
The Aral Sea, one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in the world is under serious consideration of the IFAS and Turkmenistan’s Chairmanship is working tirelessly to speed-up efforts to achieve the desired goals to this end and most recently inked MOUs will be a value-addition for achieving better environment, water conservation and drastic reduction in climate deterioration in the CIS.
At one point the Aral Sea was the fourth-largest landlocked body of water in the world, occupying an area of about 66,000km2 and a volume of 1,062 km3. Now it has split into two separate bodies: Little Aral Sea, which is in Kazakhstan, and Big Aral Sea, which is in Uzbekistan. It is hoped that visionary chairmanship will be succeeded to revive it in its ancient/original position and shape in the future.
On its part, right from the beginning, Turkmenistan believes in neutrality and dialogue to resolve any conflicting issue. Its water diplomacy is the extension of its strong political will to resolve the looming problem of water sharing and further development. It is a blue print of achieving better political understanding, social harmony and economic needs among all the reginal countries on the burning issue of water sharing.
Under visionary leadership of President of Turkmenistan H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan has been staunch advocator of water diplomacy and moreover, Turkmenistan is the “pioneer of water diplomacy in the region too. Turkmenistan has also been highlighted the potential of “water diplomacy” and which needs to be promoted in the region.
Turkmenistan’s water diplomacy is based on cross-border cooperation on water and it considers the growing importance of water in maintaining peace and political stability. It is also crucial to promote dialogue and continued cooperation and to contribute to peace and security in the region and moreover, its chairmanship of IFAS would create befitting propositions for all the member states.
The activities of Turkmenistan during its chairmanship in IFAS will also focus on creating good conditions for the countries of Aral Sea basin as well as providing them with more opportunities to consider jointly with the international community the issues on attracting investments for solving the problems of the Aral Sea.
Successful implementation of the Fund goals and objectives by Turkmenistan as chairman will provide necessary conditions for the countries of the region in their active participation in strategic planning and implementation of regional and international policies aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Easy and smooth supply of water is directly correlated with the socio-economic prosperity of the CIS due to which Chairmanship of Turkmenistan is taking serious steps for equitable water sharing through rigorous water diplomacy. Water connects humanity and Turkmenistan is creating harmony in the distribution of water resources through its dynamic water diplomacy. Water ensures survival of humanity and being Chairman of the IFAS, Turkmenistan supports water diplomacy to resolve water issues in the region.
Water is life and energy too and Turkmenistan is trying its level best to maintain sustainable supplies of waters. Water is one the keys strategic asset for human survival on the planet and effective tool of achieving micro or macro socio-economic goals around the globe and Turkmenistan has many national, regional as well as international programs for further development of water.