Turkmenistan views the current 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly as a period requiring all Member States to demonstrate the highest responsibility and foresight. The situation in the world, characterized by the escalation of military and political confrontation, the spread of conflict potential, the creation of new threats and challenges and an obvious crisis of confidence, is undermining the foundations of the global architecture of inter-State relations and the established international legal system.
In shaping its approaches to the current period in the activities of the United Nations, Turkmenistan proceeds from the need to focus its efforts on overcoming these risks. For this purpose, it is necessary to use the potential of the UN, its political and diplomatic tools and high moral authority in order to reach constructive solutions and ensure universal and comprehensive security as a key condition for the implementation of all strategic objectives of the UN, including the Sustainable Development Goals.
At the same time, Turkmenistan upholds the principle of security integrity, inalienability and interconnectedness of its various aspects. We believe that political or military security will not be long-term and full-fledged without ensuring economic, energy, food, and biological security, without preventing and neutralizing risks and threats of an environmental and man-made nature, without effectively countering international terrorism and organized crime, including cybercrime, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. None of these areas can be relegated to the periphery of the current UN agenda.
In its activities during the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, Turkmenistan will be guided by strict adherence to the principles of neutrality, non-interference, and a firm commitment to peaceful, political means of resolving conflicts and contradictions.
In many ways, the focus of Turkmenistan's activities in the relevant areas will be determined by the fact that the country is a member of a number of specialized UN bodies, such as:
- United Nations Commission on Population and Development;
- United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development;
- United Nations Commission for Social Development;
- Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women);
- Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF);
- United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
During the upcoming session, our country will continue to work on the implementation of international initiatives of the President of Turkmenistan on global and regional issues.
Peace and security
For Turkmenistan, the United Nations is the main and universal structure that takes decisions on the most important issues of global development. In this regard, it is necessary to use the potential of the World Organization, its political and diplomatic tools, and moral authority in order to give a balanced, non-ideological assessment of current events and trends, to overcome mistrust and confrontation in world politics, and to try to identify prospects for compromise and mutual consideration of interests.
In this context, Turkmenistan proposes to start discussing the possibilities of elaborating a Global Security Strategy based on the principles of the United Nations Charter and universally recognized norms of international law, taking into account current realities and trends of world development.
Such a strategy should include the following areas, among others:
- preventive diplomacy as a tool for preventing and neutralizing conflicts;
- using the potential of neutrality for a peaceful, political and diplomatic settlement of disputes and contradictions;
- rebuild a culture of trusting dialogue based on the UN General Assembly’s decisions to proclaim 2021 as the International Year of Peace and Trust and 2023 as the Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace. Time has confirmed the relevance of these resolutions for the present moment.
In order to achieve universal and comprehensive security, Turkmenistan believes there is a need to give the work of the United Nations a distinct regional context. This approach should bring due specificity to joint work and enhance its functionality and effectiveness.
We believe that the time has come to launch an inclusive, full-scale and systematic Central Asia – UN dialogue.
In this connection, our country takes the initiative to establish, under the auspices of the United Nations, the format of the Conference on Security in Central Asia and its adjacent zones. The purpose of the Conference is to develop approaches and solutions aimed at bringing together and synchronizing the efforts of Central Asian countries and the world community, international organizations, financial and economic institutions to ensure sustainable, conflict-free development of the region. We express our readiness to hold the first meeting in Ashgabat in 2024.
Turkmenistan will continue to make efforts to further promote and develop the Zone of Peace, Trust and Cooperation of Central Asia, based on the results of the United Nations General Assembly Debates on the further development of this Zone held on May 16, 2023, at the initiative of Turkmenistan and in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 76/299 of July 28, 2022.
Turkmenistan proposes to consider the issue of legal formalization of the Zone by preparing a draft decision for the next Consultative Meeting of the Heads of Central Asian States, as well as to initiate a periodic consideration of the resolution on the Zone of Peace, Trust and Cooperation of Central Asia at the UN General Assembly.
Moreover, noting the significance of the UN General Assembly resolution adopted on July 28, 2022, declaring Central Asia a Zone of Peace, Trust and Cooperation, based on the provisions of the above-mentioned document, Turkmenistan will continue its efforts to submit to the United Nations General Assembly a proposal to declare 2025 the “Year of Peace and Trust”.
In the context of ensuring universal and comprehensive security, Turkmenistan will undertake efforts on the regional track to preserve and strengthen stability in Central Asia. In that regard, Turkmenistan will continue to assist in achieving peace and harmony in Afghanistan, taking into account the existing realities and providing economic, humanitarian and other forms of assistance to the neighbouring country and the fraternal Afghan people.
The most important direction of Turkmenistan’s activities in the implementation of the SDGs is to maximize UN assistance in solving the food problem. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with other unfavourable factors, has exposed the vulnerability of those states where this problem has not been solved, and where the population does not receive adequate nutrition.
On this basis, Turkmenistan proposes to convene an international forum on food security under the auspices of the UN, in cooperation with the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Children's Fund.
Turkmenistan intends to establish closer cooperation with the Programme Offices of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) in Malaga and Doha, specializing respectively in critical infrastructure protection and behavioural aspects of countering terrorism. In this context, we note the need to develop educational activities in this area, including the introduction of programmes aimed at combating terrorism, the development of curricula and materials that cover aspects of terrorism, its origins, motivations and methods of propaganda, and the need for intercultural dialogue and tolerance.
Turkmenistan will continue to consider with the UNOCT the modalities for the establishment of the UNOCT Programme Office for Central Asia on the basis of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia.
Our country will endeavour to further strengthen multilateral cooperation within the framework of the Group of Friends of Neutrality for Peace, Security and Sustainable Development. In this regard, we propose to hold the next high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of Neutrality in Ashgabat in December 2023, to be followed by an International Conference on the established Group of Friends in December 2024 in Ashgabat. In this context, Turkmenistan proposes to consider possibilities for establishing in Ashgabat an Institute of Neutrality and Security, which could serve as a platform for political studies on neutrality and related issues.
In July 2023, Turkmenistan presented the Second Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the SDGs during the High-Level Political Forum.
In continuation of this, Turkmenistan intends to make efforts to organize, together with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, a separate Ministerial Dialogue on SDGs financing.
In view of the increasing crisis phenomena in the supply of energy resources to world markets, and instability in relations between suppliers, transit countries and consumers, Turkmenistan will propose to consider the adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution on “Stable, resilient and reliable energy connectivity and energy resources mobility and its pivotal role in driving sustainable development”. The draft resolution envisages the possibility of holding the Sustainable Energy for All Forum in 2025 in Turkmenistan to promote global efforts in ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources, as well as follow the results of the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, 2014–2024.
Turkmenistan attaches special importance to energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. We are ready to cooperate with stakeholders in the context of the development and implementation of energy-saving technologies, and the development of renewable energy sources.
Turkmenistan considers the intensification of international relations in the transport sector to be a priority of its activities at the 78th session. Continuing the practice of periodic consideration by the UN General Assembly of resolutions on sustainable transport initiated by Turkmenistan, our country will take the initiative to prepare a draft resolution of the UN General Assembly on “Strengthening the links between all modes of transport to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.
In the same vein, in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 77/286 of May 16, 2023, Turkmenistan will cooperate with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in organizing during the seventy-eighth session a High-level meeting of the UN General Assembly to promote sustainable transport cooperation within the framework of the Ashgabat process, timed to coincide with the World Sustainable Transport Day – 26 November.
Turkmenistan will endeavour to further strengthen collaboration within the Group of Friends of Sustainable Transport. In this regard, it is proposed to hold the first high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of Sustainable Transport in December 2023.
In preparation for the Third UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries in 2024 in Kigali, Rwanda, Turkmenistan is ready to consider holding a preparatory meeting in Ashgabat in 2024.
At the same time, Turkmenistan will continue to work on the draft resolution of the General Assembly on “Enhancing the role of landlocked developing countries in the development and strengthening of global transport cooperation” and the establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group at the UN to promote the interests of landlocked countries in the transport sector.
Environment and climate change
In the process of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, Turkmenistan draws particular attention to the need to continue a broad dialogue on climate change, environmental protection and the use of water resources.
In its principled approaches to the environmental agenda, Turkmenistan proceeds from the fact that, at the institutional level, the main priority today is the combination and complementarity of global, regional and national instruments for the implementation of multilateral UN documents on environmental issues.
On this basis, our country, pursuant to Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) resolution 79/8 “Consideration of the modalities for the establishment of the United Nations special programme for the Aral Sea basin” of 19 May 2023, proposes to initiate consultations with the relevant United Nations agencies to determine the optimal modalities, format and structure of the United Nations Special Programme for the Aral Sea Basin (UN SPAS).
As an important step in adopting a strategic approach to environmental challenges in Central Asia, Turkmenistan proposes the establishment of a specialised structure - the Regional Center for Climate Change Technologies in Central Asia, which would work on climate issues in a substantive and systematic manner.
Turkmenistan intends to intensify its efforts to promote the initiative on the “Global Methane Pledge”. Following the path of Turkmenistan's accession to this document and in order to strengthen, within the framework of Turkmenistan’s National Climate Change Strategy, control over the effectiveness of work to the systematic reduction of greenhouse gases and methane emissions arising in various sectors of the economy, we propose to start developing, under the auspices of the United Nations, a global strategy for the zero growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
To this end, we express our interest in hosting in Turkmenistan an International Forum/Regional Meeting on reducing greenhouse gases and methane emissions into the atmosphere with the participation of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Methane Emissions Observatory.
As a result of many years of vigorous and respectful cooperation by the littoral countries of the Caspian Sea, common key principles of Caspian Sea policy have been developed, including the adoption of the main document - the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. In June 2022, at the Sixth Caspian Summit in Turkmenistan, all participants firmly reaffirmed their readiness for close cooperation on environmental issues.
In this connection, Turkmenistan proposes the establishment of a Caspian Environmental Initiative, which will be designed to become an international platform for substantive and professional cooperation on a wide range of issues related to environmental protection of the Caspian Sea, the preservation of its biological resources, and the solution of a number of pressing environmental problems.
In order to preserve peace, security and good-neighbourliness in Central Asia, as well as to establish a mechanism for water use of transboundary rivers in the region, we propose to consider the initiative to establish the United Nations Regional Council on water use issues in Central Asia with headquarters in Ashgabat, as well as to accelerate the process of adopting the UN Convention on the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers.
This Council, in close cooperation with the Central Asian countries, will coordinate water management activities and cooperation between specialized agencies and institutions in the region, as well as develop a legal framework for efficient water use.
Turkmenistan intends to continue its efforts to consolidate the efforts of the international community to combat the spread of infectious diseases, minimise their socio-economic consequences, and establish tools of medical diplomacy. We emphasize that the World Health Organization (WHO) is the main platform for multilateral dialogue on the development of consolidated responses to common challenges in the area of global health.
In this regard, the Government of Turkmenistan has put forward a number of relevant initiatives: the European Ministerial Conference on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in April 2024, jointly with the WHO Regional Office for Europe, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Ashgabat Declaration on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases in the context of Health policy 2020, and an International scientific conference on communicable diseases within the Non-Aligned Movement in December 2023.
Reaffirming our commitment to strict compliance with the fundamental Conventions and other multilateral international instruments of the United Nations in the field of human rights and freedoms, we reaffirm our readiness to actively participate in the implementation of practical actions in the humanitarian sphere.
During the current session, this is of particular importance, as 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
In this connection, Turkmenistan intends to hold joint events with the UN OHCHR to mark these dates.
Special emphasis will be placed on the protection of the most vulnerable categories of people: refugees, migrants and stateless persons.
Turkmenistan has made significant progress in reducing and preventing statelessness. In view of the country's positive experience in addressing the issue of eradicating statelessness, Turkmenistan intends to hold a regional conference on the above-mentioned subject in 2024.
In order to expand the activities of the Central Asian Women Leaders' Caucus, it is proposed to establish a mechanism for its regular consultations on the implementation of the global agenda “Women, Peace and Security” with UN agencies such as the UN Peacebuilding Commission, UN-Women and others. In addition, we consider it necessary to develop interregional cooperation between the Central Asian Women Leaders' Caucus and similar organisations operating in other regions of the world through the creation of platforms for the exchange of information and best practices, the organization of joint events, forums and trainings.
In order to promote the development of multilateral dialogue between young people of the Central Asian countries to strengthen peaceful, friendly and good-neighbourly relations between the countries of the region, we propose to hold the inaugural session of the Central Asian Youth Dialogue in Turkmenistan this year.
In order to promote intercultural dialogue and implementation of the UN General Assembly resolutions to support multilingualism in international relations, it is proposed to hold in 2024, jointly with UNESCO and TURKSOY, the International Week of Turkic Languages, dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the birth of Magtymguly Pyragy, as well as to consider the draft resolution of the UN General Assembly entitled “World Turkic Languages Day”, based on the established practice of adopting relevant resolutions.
By taking constructive and measured steps, Turkmenistan became the first state in Central Asia to abolish the death penalty. Central Asian countries and Mongolia now have the potential to become the first region free of the death penalty. On the basis of the above, Turkmenistan proposes to consider the elaboration and adoption of an international legal instrument for the Central Asian region and Mongolia “Treaty on a death penalty-free zone in Central Asia and Mongolia”. Such an instrument could then lay the basis for the elaboration and adoption of a Convention on the Abolition of the Death Penalty, under the initiative of the region, in order to promote the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.
Within the framework of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, Turkmenistan intends to expand its project and programme activities with UN specialized agencies, and in this direction will take steps to open in Turkmenistan representative offices of FAO, UNESCO, ILO, UN-Habitat, and UNOPS.
These priority positions define the main directions of Turkmenistan's activities in the United Nations during the 78th session of its General Assembly. They cover the most important areas of international partnership in which Turkmenistan, together with other United Nations Member States, United Nations bodies, agencies, institutions and structures is ready to develop effective multilateral cooperation. The implementation of Turkmenistan’s initiatives and proposals set out in these priority positions could become an important factor in strengthening international peace and security, ensuring sustainable development in the world.
Turkmenistan expresses its readiness for a broad international dialogue on key issues of the global agenda and at the same time will be guided by the high ideals of peace and justice that form the basis of the work of the United Nations.