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No. 13 (310) June 2017


At the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on June 16, the head of state has signed a package of documents related to Turkmenistan’s chairmanship in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) in 2017-2019.

Particularly, according to the Regulations on the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, the Executive Committee of IFAS was established in Ashgabat; its structure and Regulations on the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea were approved.

Based on the decision of the President of IFAS and Turkmenistan Mr.Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Mr. Guyzgeldy Baydjanov was designated as a Chairman of the Executive Committee.

The main aims of the Executive Committee are implementation of decisions of the Council of Heads of State-Founders, President and IFAS Board related to the problems in the Aral Sea basin; development, inspection and implementation of projects and programs aimed at improving environmental conditions in the Aral Sea basin. The Committee would coordinate its offices, special agencies and funds located in the state-founders of IFAS to improve social and environmental conditions in the Aral Sea basin and support the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC) in Central Asia and the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD).

Of importance is the establishment of close cooperation with ministries, agencies of the countries in the region, public and international organizations, donor-countries, environmental and other funds to enhance activities on environmental protection. To that end, the Executive Committee would ensure representation of IFAS in authoritative structures, accumulate financial and other means, guarantee their targeted use, provide information-analytical materials to the state-founders of IFAS, and carry out information and publishing activity. Moreover, it would prepare materials and organize sessions of the Council of Heads of State-Founders and IFAS Board, thematic conferences, symposiums and workshops on the issues related to IFAS activities, etc.

As known, the Aral Sea problem caused by the change of hydrological regime of rivers in the basin became critical at the cusp of 20th - 21st centuries and today is at the center of global community’s interest. Consequences of the ecocatastrophe caused by irrational water use affected the living conditions of many millions of people in the Aral Sea basin. Moreover, degradation of natural resources due to intensive shallowing, including desertification of coastal areas, deterioration of natural pastures, salinization of soils, and decrease in biodiversity, as a result, threaten not only Central Asia, but also adjacent territories. The situation is aggravated with global climate change.

The solution of the given problems depends largely on coordinated actions of the states that directly experience negative consequences of environmental disaster. In this context, the decision was approved to establish the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea by Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in due time. The Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC) and the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD) were established under umbrella of IFAS.

In December 2008, the Resolution of the UN General Assembly was accepted to grant the status of observer to IFAS; this positively influenced the cooperation with international organizations, donor-countries, and environmental funds. Particularly, within the framework of IFAS, the Aral Sea Basin Program (ASBP) is implemented stage by stage, including the «Program of measures on eliminating the consequences of the drying up of the Aral Sea and averting the catastrophe of the ecological systems in Prearalie» approved at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

While chairing IFAS, Turkmenistan intends to pay close attention to rational use of water resources in the region and adaptation of the Central Asian countries to global climate change. A key driver for achieving this is the initiatives announced by the President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20, the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development beyond 2015 held under the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan and the 7th World Water Forum in Korea.

These include the proposals on establishing the Ashgabat Regional Centre for Climate Related Technologies in Central Asia, and the Turkmen party is ready to provide necessary infrastructure in Ashgabat for its operation, as well as the development of a special UN program to save the Aral Sea and UN Water Strategy.

The Central Asian International Ecological Forum “Initiative for cooperation in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development in Central Asia” organized by the State Committee for Environmental Protection and Land Resources of Turkmenistan and the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) in Ashgabat in early June was devoted to this vital topic.

The development of a new Aral Sea Basin Program (ASBP-4), strengthening of a legal framework for IFAS, creation of a common regional information system and database on the Aral Sea basin, monitoring of ASBP and other issues are on the agenda.

Moreover, by the proposal of Turkmenistan at the ordinary ICSD meeting, which was recently held in Ashgabat, it was agreed to develop a new «Regional program on environmental protection for sustainable development in Central Asia», taking into account present realities and challenges. Particularly, it is planned that each IFAS member-country will concentrate its efforts on a certain area. Thus, Kazakhstan is responsible for water pollution, Turkmenistan – for land degradation and desertification, Uzbekistan – for air monitoring, and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – for mountain ecosystems, etc.

Substantial activities planned under the chairmanship of Turkmenistan at IFAS will allow joint actions to be more systematic and achieve concrete results.

Source: The State News Agency of Turkmenistan