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STATEMENTS AND SPEECHES
Ashgabat, 14 October 2011 - I am very delighted to have the opportunity to speak today for three reasons. First, today we are celebrating 15 years of work of the National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights under the President of Turkmenistan.
Ashgabat, 1 September 2011 - Let me congratulate the faculty, students and staff of the Institute of International Relations on a new beautiful building of the Institute. Particular significance is the fact that a new educational building, which will prepare future diplomats of Turkmenistan opened on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of independence.
Ashgabat, 16 January 2010 - First of all, on behalf of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, I would like to express gratitude to His Excellency President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for providing assistance to the people of Haiti through the United Nations.
Ashgabat, 18 November 2009 - On behalf of the United Nations Country Team in Turkmenistan, I have the great pleasure to welcome you all here at this meeting, which is dedicated to the final review of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework 2005-2009, and presentation of the strategic priorities of UN Agencies for the future.
Ashgabat, 24 October 2009 – It is a great pleasure to welcome you here this evening on the occasion of the 64th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations.
Ashgabat, 3 July 2009 - I am happy to welcome all of you today and I would like to sincerely thank the Turkmen National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights under the President of Turkmenistan for hosting today’s conference.
Ashgabat, 5 June 2009 - It is my pleasure to be here with you today on such an important occasion. Environment Day is a globally celebrated event, on which I wish to sincerely congratulate all of you.


Opening Speech by Mr. Richard Young, UN Resident Coordinator-UNDAF Review Meeting

Ashgabat, 12 May 2008 

Your Excellencies,

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Distinguished Participants,  

 

Opening Speech by Mr. Richard Young, UN Resident Coordinator-UNDAF Review Meeting It is a great honor for me to welcome all of you at this UNDAF review meeting, the objective of which is to look at what has been achieved in the past and discuss the way forward in joint cooperation between the Government of Turkmenistan and the United Nations system. In particular, this meeting represents the beginning of the process to develop the next generation UNDAF 2010-2014.  

 

Holding this event becomes particularly important at this stage, when Turkmenistan is undertaking transformation processes and reforms in a number of important areas. This is the fourth year of implementation of UNDAF 2005-2009, and in the past we have completed two meetings in order to review our joint activities within the UNDAF framework, propose relevant modifications to UNDAF outcomes and make recommendations on improving our collaboration.  

 

Let me briefly mention that the overall objective of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework is to support Turkmenistan in achieving its nationalized Millennium Development Goals, or in other words, national development priorities which have been outlined in such strategic documents as the Strategy of Socio-economic Development for the Period up to 2010 and the Strategy of Economic, Political and Cultural Development of Turkmenistan for the Period up to 2020. Through the current UNDAF, which covers the period from 2005 to 2009, the Government of Turkmenistan and the United Nations agencies identified and agreed to concentrate their efforts on three major areas of cooperation: development of economic and social policies and plans, basic social services, and environment.  

 

UNDAF has been crucial in moving the UN agencies from fragmented programming to harmonized support in the areas that I have just mentioned. Let me also mention that, recently, the UN General Assembly and the Secretary General have reinforced the UNDAF as the instrument for promoting the ‘One UN’ approach and UN reform at country level. Overall, I feel very confident about saying that we have made great strides within the framework of the current UNDAF.  

 

This morning, the Chairs of the 3 Theme Groups on the UNDAF priority areas will be presenting the achievements of the past 3 years joint work, as well as constraints and opportunities. But let me at the outset highlight some of these achievements. In the area of human rights, a joint project on ‘Building of treaty body reporting capacities in Turkmenistan’ was approved and supported by UNDP and OHCHR.  

 

The project started in 2006 with the objective of strengthening the capacity of the Government of Turkmenistan to fulfill its obligations under the core international human rights treaties. UN agencies have also contributed extensively towards developing national capacity in statistics. A number of statistical surveys and studies have been conducted jointly by the Government and the UN. In the area of health, evidence-based clinical protocols in safe motherhood and reproductive health have been developed in order to improve the quality of service in these areas. In 2007, the Government of Turkmenistan also adopted WHO-recommended criteria on live births and approved the National Safe Motherhood Programme.  

 

With assistance from UNICEF and WHO, more than 50 hospitals in Turkmenistan have been certified as baby-friendly and high rates of immunization coverage were sustained. A strategy to strengthen reproductive health care was developed with UNFPA support and much progress has been made in this area. To join the global fight against HIV/AIDS, Turkmenistan has developed, with United Nations support, the National Programme on Prevention of HIV/AIDS and STIs. The Interagency Coordination Committee (ICC), comprising various ministries, local authorities and UN agencies, was re-established in 2005 to coordinate the implementation of the national programme. We have also closely worked on education issues. A joint programme was signed in 2006 between UNICEF and UNESCO to promote Education for All planning. A comprehensive analysis of the national curriculum was organized by the Ministry of Education and the UN agencies in Turkmenistan.  

 

Extensive capacity building activities for teachers and students have also been jointly carried out and access to Interne and ICT technologies provided, with assistance from UNDP. In the social protection sphere, the Government and UNDP worked towards the development of the pension system, which resulted in the enacting of the new Social Security Code in July 2007. The Code streamlines the concepts previously used in different documents and provides a well-structured and clear social protection policy.  

 

Another important project in this sphere includes the project on the social and economic integration of hearing and visually impaired people, which supports the Government of Turkmenistan in the development of policies enabling active participation of the disabled in society. Issues of protection of refugees and migration have also been in the focus of attention. In particular, capacity building of national asylum authorities and focusing on reduction of the numbers of stateless people have been the priorities of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.  

 

One concrete and important achievement is the granting by Turkmenistan of citizenship to more than

13,000 refugees. In addition to the achievements I have just mentioned, a lot of efforts have been made in other areas, such as environmental protection, local development, tackling drugs and crime and improving border management, with coordinated and increasing support from UNODC, UNDP and the European Union in this area. All this work has involved major interventions by such non-resident agencies as UNESCO, UNEP, OHCHR, FAO and others, which channel their support through the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Ashgabat. This is just a short record of our joint achievements outlined at glance. Taking this opportunity, I would like to sincerely thank all of you, representing our partnering government and public institutions, for your support and cooperation in our joint endeavours to improve the wellbeing of the people of Turkmenistan.  

 

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,  

 

There are of course many challenges ahead which require a gearing up of our joint work and a re-visiting of the UNDAF. Let me now focus on the year 2007, which opened a new chapter in the cooperation between the Government and the United Nations. In particular, the UN System has been invited by the Government of Turkmenistan to support its reform agenda in the areas of human rights, education, local development, electoral procedures, information and communication technologies, and economic development. We in the United Nations believe that we can make a valuable contribution to support this momentum.  

 

Indeed, we have already started! We are also conscious of the fact that other international organizations, primarily the International Finance Institutions (WB, EBRD, ABD, IMF) and the EU, are stepping up their engagement and support to Turkmenistan. All these agencies have similar development interests to those of the UN so that donor coordination has become most relevant at this time to avoid duplication and add value to the overall donor support. The year 2007 has also witnessed a groundbreaking development for Turkmenistan, which is the opening in Ashgabat of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia. The establishment of the Centre is the result of more than five years of consultations with the governments of the five Central Asian countries, members of the Security Council, and UN programmes and agencies. The Centre will provide assistance to the Central Asian governments to promote conflict prevention and regional cooperation through national capacity building, facilitation of high level dialogue, catalyzing international support.  

 

Clearly, this will give impetus to new projects and initiatives which the new UNDAF will need to take into account. In conclusion, there are obviously many developments which will shape the new UNDAF 2010-2014. It is vital that we ensure that the new UNDAF responds optimally to the government’s reform agenda and the emerging national priorities. The new UNDAF also needs to integrate activities that are not covered by the UNDAF 2005-2009 but which have become government priorities.  

 

These include drug trafficking control and border management, promotion of cross-border trade and emergency preparedness and contingency planning. While many activities have been carried out in these fields often commanding substantial funding, they have not as yet been reported in terms of UNDAF-related achievements.  

 

With these words of welcome and introduction, let me thank all of you for joining us today and a special thanks goes to our colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for working with us to organize and facilitate this meeting. I hope that all of you will actively participate in the discussions and contribute to this important work to develop the framework for future cooperation between the UN and the Government of Turkmenistan. I wish us all a successful and productive meeting.  

 

Thank you.
 
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