Turkmenistan as an Example of Water for Sustainable Development

The environmental policy of Turkmenistan became a focused topic within the speech of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the International High-Level Conference on the UN Decade of Action "Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028".

Turkmenistan, implementing national plans in various sectors, strictly links them with the environmental component of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, with the optimization of the use of water resources. The new Turkmen Water Code acts as the basis for a comprehensive program to develop and apply scientifically sound rules for the rational use of water resources, their conservation and restoration, protection against pollution, contamination and depletion.

Adaptation measures to restore forests and improve land use to mitigate climate impacts are also widely implemented throughout the country. Currently, as part of a large-scale national program "Green Belt", extensive forest belts have been created around cities and settlements with the use of progressive water-saving irrigation methods.

As an illustrative example, the head of state also introduced a large-scale project on the construction of a unique lake "Altyn Asyr" in the heart of Karakum (a desert area) to collect drainage water from irrigated lands of all velayats (administrative units) of the country. Its first stage was commissioned in 2009.

The construction of this man-made reservoir, and most complicated hydrotechnical system, makes it possible to successfully solve pressing environmental, economic and social issues. Among them is the improvement of the meliorative state of agricultural lands, the protection of soils from degradation, the return of thousands of hectares of land underflooded by drainage waters, the cultivation of salt-tolerant crops in the zone of main and inter-farm collectors, the irrigation of pastures, the development of fisheries, and the creation of a reserve of water resources.

“The construction of the next phase of this grandiose facility is to ensure ecological well-being, and therefore, to improve the quality of life of people both in Turkmenistan and throughout the Central Asian region,” President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said.

“Special attention”, the head of state continued, “is being paid to providing the population with clean water. In the capital and in the velayats, modern plants for the production of drinking water have been built and are being built, and on the coast of the Caspian there are powerful desalination plants. More than half a billion dollars are spent annually on the maintenance and development of the ecological environment and various environmental and water projects in our country.”

He went on to note that Turkmenistan “fully supports the goals and tasks put on the agenda of the conference.”

“We expect the decisions made as a result of this conference to become platforms for subsequent focused and substantive international cooperation, the development of innovative models and management strategies to coordinate national water use programs with regional and global development plans in this area,” he concluded.

By Dimitri Dolaberidze

21 June 2018 19:03