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Turkmenistan - UNESCO: results of 30 years of cooperation and its prospects

17.08.2023 | 22:11 |
 Turkmenistan - UNESCO: results of 30 years of cooperation and its prospects

The anniversary conference "Turkmenistan–UNESCO: Cooperation for the sake of well-being" was held at the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 7. The forum was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan's accession to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and brought together representatives of the diplomatic and academic communities, creative intelligentsia, international organizations, and students.

The event was attended by the heads and employees of the Mejlis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministries of Education, Culture, Finance and Economy, Textile Industry, Agriculture, Environmental Protection, the Academy of Sciences, the State Committee for Television, Radio Broadcasting and Cinematography, the State Committees of Water Management, Statistics, Physical Culture and Sports, the State Association "Turkmenkhaly", the Institute of the Caspian Sea, public organizations, mass media, teachers of higher educational institutions.

The speakers and guests of the conference were welcomed by the Rector of the IIR MFA of Turkmenistan Jumamurat Gurbangeldiyev, who noted in his opening speech that the balanced and consistent foreign policy activity of the country creates favorable conditions for the successful implementation of national development programs and expansion of effective ties in all areas of mutually beneficial cooperation.

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The first speaker at the forum was Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov. He congratulated all the participants of the conference on a significant date, which gives an occasion to sum up the results of our country's 30-year cooperation with UNESCO and, at the same time, to discuss the directions of future partnership.

"It is also a reason for pride and reflection, as we look back on three decades of fruitful cooperation and mutual commitment to the values defended by UNESCO," the Deputy Prime Minister said, recalling that Turkmenistan has joined the thirteen fundamental international documents of UNESCO.

Among them, the "Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage" should be highlighted, in accordance with the principles of which more than 1,500 historical and cultural monuments have been identified and registered in Turkmenistan. All of them are under state protection. Local scientists, with the participation of UNESCO experts and foreign specialists, carry out the necessary conservation, restoration and research work on the monuments.

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Turkmenistan continues to actively prepare a number of initiatives and proposals for inclusion in the UNESCO World Register of not only historical and cultural, but also unique natural territories of our country. In particular, the transnational nominations "Turanian Deserts of the Temperate Zone" and "The Great Silk Road: the Zaravshan-Karakum Corridor" have been proposed by UNESCO for inclusion in the World Heritage List. In addition, work is underway to prepare the nomination of the Koytendag State Nature Reserve for inclusion in this List.

Meredov also called the progress that the parties have made in the field of education "revolutionary". "Thanks to UNESCO's support, we have expanded educational opportunities, improved teacher training and promoted lifelong learning, providing every citizen with the opportunity to realize their potential," the minister said.

Next year, together with UNESCO, we plan to organize an international conference dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan's cooperation with UNESCO. In addition, we look forward to holding an international forum in 2024 dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the birth of the great Turkmen poet Makhtumkuli Fraga, Rashid Meredov added.

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The UN Permanent Coordinator in Turkmenistan Dmitry Shlapachenko, speaking at the conference, expressed his conviction that there are still many elements of the ancient and rich culture of Turkmenistan that can rightfully have the status of protected objects of the cultural heritage of the Turkmen people in UNESCO.

He emphasized the importance of opening UNESCO chairs at the Makhtumkuli Turkmen State University and the Seidi Turkmen State Pedagogical Institute and stressed the role of UNESCO, together with other UN agencies, primarily UNICEF, in implementing Turkmenistan's national commitments announced to the world community during the Global Summit on Education Transformation.

Shlapachenko welcomed Turkmenistan's intention to host a UNESCO Conference in Ashgabat in 2024 and expressed the expectation that it would allow agreeing on a package of mutually beneficial cooperation projects.

"In this context, I see concrete interrelations between Turkmenistan's initiatives to develop trust as a tool for maintaining peace and security with the UNESCO concept and program for maintaining a culture of peace. As the UN development system in the country, we are ready to support the implementation of initiatives to develop a culture of peace among the population of Turkmenistan, especially young people," Dmitry Shlapachenko said and expressed gratitude to the Government of Turkmenistan for the decision to allocate a grant to support UNESCO programs, as well as for supporting UN programs in Turkmenistan.

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Golda El-Khoury, Director of the UNESCO Cluster Office in Tehran, joined the dialogue via video link. She gratefully recalled the reception held in May of this year with President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, when she handed him certificates on the inclusion of three elements in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind last year, in which Turkmenistan made an application.

"The meeting also became an occasion to listen to His Excellency's vision of Turkmenistan's global position on neutrality, dialogue and peace," Golda El–Khoury said and expressed deep gratitude to the Government of the country for accelerating the process of activating the Turkmenistan-UNESCO Foundation in Trust established in 2015, in which Turkmenistan will invest 5 by providing new platforms for national, regional and global alliances and specific expanded actions.

Golda El-Khuri noted Turkmenistan's active contribution to UNESCO governance: "More than ever, UNESCO needs the leadership of every member State. Turkmenistan has never let us down." She noted some of the joint ongoing and planned activities.

Thus, Turkmenistan is included in the regional project "Silk Road Heritage Corridors", funded by the European Union in Central Asia. Turkmenistan is the only Member State in the region that has included a climate change component in its national educational program. "We count on Turkmenistan's support to assume a leading role at the national, regional and global levels to implement the five commitments made at the Summit on the Transformation of Education," El-Khoury said.

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At the regional level, at the initiative of UNESCO, Turkmenistan participates in the project funded by the Global Environment Facility "Strengthening the resilience of Central Asian countries by ensuring regional cooperation for the assessment of glacio-marine systems" (2022-2025) under the management of UNESCO and UNDP.

"We look forward to receiving the Turkmen delegation at the UNESCO General Conference in November this year, as the member states must decide on our program and budget," Golda El–Khoury said in conclusion.


First Deputy Director General of UNESCO Xing Qu, Deputy Director General and Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Vladimir Ryabinin, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education Tao Zhan also congratulated the forum participants on the anniversary by video link.

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In turn, the acting head of the OSCE Center in Ashgabat, Rune Castberg, shared that he had visited three World Heritage sites in Turkmenistan: Merv, Nisa and Kunyaurgench, noting that they are impressive evidence of fruitful cooperation between UNESCO and the government of the country.

He also stressed that UNESCO and the OSCE have not only common goals, basic principles and values. In recent years, the OSCE Center in Ashgabat has cooperated with UNESCO in activities related to border security.


For example, last summer, a representative of the UNESCO Cluster Office in Tehran spoke at a regional seminar on illicit trafficking in cultural property, which poses a serious threat to the identity of nations and cultural diversity.

The event brought together online and in person 80 representatives of ministries and departments of five Central Asian countries dealing with the protection and security of cultural heritage. Both crime prevention issues and archaeological aspects of cultural heritage were presented at the seminar, which facilitated the exchange of best practices in combating this serious type of crime.

Having the status of permanent positive neutrality, Turkmenistan plays an increasingly important role in ensuring security in Central Asia, Rune Castberg said, stating that, while welcoming the constructive foreign policy of neutral Turkmenistan, the OSCE has always sought to support Turkmenistan in the practical implementation of its international initiatives aimed at promoting global peace and strengthening regional security.

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The Minister of Education of Turkmenistan Gurbangul Atayeva, speaking at the conference, highlighted the opening of the UNESCO chair "Cultural Heritage: from the past to the Future" in the framework of the UNITWIN program at the Makhtumkuli Turkmen State University, and at the Turkmen State Pedagogical Institute named after Seitnazar Seidi of the Department "Environmental Education for Sustainable Development", as well as the inclusion this year in the network of the UNESCO Association of Schools of the specialized secondary school No. 140 of Ashgabat, the 19th secondary school of etrap Kaka, the 21st secondary school of Balkanabat, the 26th secondary school of Dashoguz, the 30th secondary school the city of Turkmenabad, the 24th school of gifted children of the city of Mary.

In addition, the UNESCO "Culture of Peace" Club was opened at the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, the "Languages of the World" club was opened at the Azadi Institute, and the UNESCO club entitled "Environmental protection is an important concept of sustainable development" was opened at the Turkmen Agricultural Institute.


Executive Secretary of the National Commission of Turkmenistan for UNESCO Chinar Rustemova focused the audience's attention on the unique experience of cooperation with UNESCO in identifying, accounting, planning, restoring and further safe preservation of the values of the historical, natural and cultural heritage of the country.

The regular organization of exhibitions of Turkmen applied art and national costumes within the framework of the Paris Design Week at UNESCO headquarters, as well as an exhibition of museum values of Turkmenistan, which is planned to be held at the famous Louvre Museum in France, are examples of active cultural cooperation.

And the successful results of cooperation in the field of education and science lead to the need to create a UNESCO National Committee on Educational Programs in Turkmenistan in the near future. This committee will serve as an effective mechanism for coordinating efforts to ensure the successful implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education.

The entry of the Makhtumkuli Youth Organization of Turkmenistan into the UNESCO Global Youth Community, as well as the planned participation of a representative of the Turkmen students in the International Youth Forum of this Organization, which will be held in Paris in November this year, highlights the growing role of the younger generation on the UNESCO platform.




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