Statement by Mr. Richard Young at the UNDAF 2005-2009 Final Review and CPAP 2010-2015 Launch Meeting

Opening Statement of Mr. Richard Young, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan at the UNDAF 2005-2009 Final Review and CPAP 2010-2015 launch meeting

Ashgabat, 18 November 2009

Opening Statement of Mr. Richard Young, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan at the UNDAF 2005-2009 Final Review and CPAP 2010-2015 launch meetingMr. Vepa Hadjiyev, First DM of Foreign Affairs,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

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.

As we all know, and as it was stressed on numerous occasions, UNDAF is the collective and strategic response of the UN agencies working in the country to contribute to the national priorities related to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In Turkmenistan, these priorities have been reflected in the Reform Agenda of President Berdymuhamedov as well as the National Programme “The Strategy of Economic, Political and Cultural Development of Turkmenistan Until 2020” and other key national strategies. The United Nations agencies – resident and non-resident – are all supporting the Government in implementation of these key national priorities and their programme or project activities and budget contributions are incorporated into the UNDAF results matrix.

Having said this, I would like to emphasize that the United Nations Development Assistance Framework is a joint product of the Government of Turkmenistan and the United Nations. Most important in preparing and further implementing the UNDAF is country ownership and Government leadership in the process. This of course applies to the current UNDAF 2005-2009 as well as the new UNDAF which will commence on 1 January 2010 and cover the period until the end of 2015. In this regard, I would like to sincerely thank the Government of Turkmenistan, its various ministries and institutions in playing an active role in implementation of the current UNDAF and in preparation of the new UNDAF 2010-2015.

In the session that follows, we will have presentations on the major achievements of the current UNDAF 2005-2009 but let me just highlight a few of them now. In the area of human rights, the UN supported and strengthened the capacity of the Government of Turkmenistan to fulfill its obligations under the core international human rights treaties and initiated a new project with the support of the European Commission that focuses on promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

The UN has worked in partnership with the Government of Turkmenistan to enhance national capacity for data collection and analysis. In the area of health care, UN Agencies focused their programmes on the health of women and children and addressed areas such as child and adolescent health, nutrition, promotion of breastfeeding, reproductive health and safe pregnancy, prevention of communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and other areas. During that period, immunization coverage rates remained high at more than 95 percent.

In education, a number of UN agencies worked with the Government in order to promote early childhood development, inclusive basic education and a child-friendly learning environment, as well as to increase access to information technologies in schools. The UN further supported the integration of extra-curricular lessons into school curricula and built and repaired schools in rural areas populated by former refugees.  UN Support in the area of social protection resulted in pension reform, greater opportunities in society for disabled people and the adoption of the Code on Social Welfare in 2007. With UN assistance, gender concerns have been better integrated into policy-making processes. Joint efforts of the Government and the UN have resulted in the granting of Turkmen citizenship to more than 12,000 refugees, who were successfully integrated into Turkmen society.  

UN agencies also supported the Government in further advancing the institutional and legal frameworks for economic and financial management, development of the private sector and enhancing national capacity for data collection and analysis. UN’s efforts in the area of environment and energy have focused on conserving biodiversity, sustainable land management and combating desertification. More recently, pilot interventions on energy efficiency and measures to combat climate change have been developed with UN support.

With the reforms introduced by President Berdimuhamedov in 2007, the UN responded to requests to areas of support not envisaged in the original UNDAF. These areas include promoting local development and local self-governance, support to electoral reform and strengthening public administration and strategic planning. I believe that notable progress is being made in all these relatively new areas of UN-Government partnership.  Moreover, in the area of security and crime prevention, the UN has provided significant support to the Government in combating drug trafficking and promoting effective border management.

So these are brief highlights of our joint work in 2005-2009 which I am sure will be elaborated on further in this meeting. With the current UNDAF nearing completion, I would like to express my hope that the level of cooperation within the new programme cycle of 2010-2015 will be even more intense and productive for the ultimate benefit of the Turkmen people.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank all Government counterparts, UN agencies, both resident and non-resident, and other partners for active participation and contribution to the UNDAFs and programmes of the UN agencies in Turkmenistan. I wish you all fruitful discussions.

Thank you very much.

Post-2015 National Consultations in Turkmenistan

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