Joining forces to tackle the impact of climate change in Turkmenistan
“Making Peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century” said the UN Secretary-General as he called on the global community to take collective steps towards a safer, more sustainable and equitable path, with the Paris Agreement on climate change as a blueprint.
As always, the UN team in Turkmenistan stepped up and responded to the call of the UN chief.
It’s worth noting, that Turkmenistan was the first country in the Europe and Central Asia region to adopt national Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. For us as a UN country team, this means continuing to support our national partners, catalyzing knowledge and infusing innovative solutions into our work to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.
Under my leadership, the UN Country Team acted swiftly to offer comprehensive and well-coordinated support to Turkmenistan in scaling up climate action and in supporting the country’s initiatives on ensuring environmental sustainability.
Several UN agencies, including FAO, UNDP, UNICEF and WHO, continued their strong collaboration with the Government on the climate change agenda. We also sought to boost the engagement of other UN entities, organizing activities to identify new opportunities for collaboration with the Government.
This reinvigorated engagement fittingly occurred on the eve of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow and paved the way for more strategic partnerships and engagement with a wider national audience on climate change issues.
Among them is the establishment of a Climate Change Coordination Group supported by my office. Another is the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UN and the Government of Turkmenistan, the key outcome of a National Youth Conference that we supported on the role of youth in contributing to the climate change agenda.
This MoU marks a significant milestone for Turkmenistan, a landlocked country with a large extractive industry that could be increasingly vulnerable to the impact of climate change without an adjustment. While leveraging stronger cooperation with the Government, this agreement could therefore boost national ambition for climate action to mitigate issues that could arise in the future.
It establishes a platform to support national initiatives as well, including the formulation of a national low emission development strategy and action plan, the national action plan on the Aral Sea, the national climate change strategy and the on-going formulation of Turkmenistan’s Nationally Determined Contributions.
Overall, the MoU further activates UN support, promoting investments in green initiatives and supporting access to international climate financing. It could inspire communities into becoming more engaged, progressively mobilizing to sustain on-going climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
We are full of hope about the future. The carbon footprint of the manufacturing sector in Turkmenistan has been steadily decreasing in recent years. The country is restoring forests and improving land use to mitigate the impact of climate change. And young people are more committed than ever to play an important role in building sustainable, resilient communities.
Leyli Yagshieva, an SDG 13 Young Ambassador who represented Turkmenistan at a Pre-COP26 Youth4Climate Event in Italy most eloquently captured this inspiring outlook towards the future when she said “We, young leaders, believe that our future can be bright and sustainable. The world relies on us, so let's bring our [creativity to tackle climate change] together, here and now!”
Blog written by Dmitry Shlapachenko, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan with support from the RCO team. Editorial support by the Development Coordination Office. Publication of this blog was timed with the launch of the IPCC report on mitigation of climate change.
For more about the UN's work in Turkmenistan, please visit: Turkmenistan.un.org.