The UNDP Resident Representative in Turkmenistan, Ms. Narine Sahakyan made a two-day working visit to the Awaza National Tourist Zone, Balkan velayat, from June 2 to 3, 2023, within the framework of the project “Sustainable Cities in Turkmenistan: Integrated Green Urban Development in Ashgabat and Avaza”, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UNDP and implemented jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan.
On the first day of the visit, Ms. Sahakyan met with Mr. Amangeldy Isayev, Khyakim of Turkmenbashi city and other representatives of the city administration to discuss the implementation of the above-mentioned project and other areas of cooperation to implement the country’s development agenda and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Turkmenistan.
“During the meeting, we raised important issues related to the development of the sustainable urban management and the introduction of strategies that promote integrated solutions to increase resilience to climate change,”- Ms. Sahakyan said after the meeting. “We appreciate the great support provided by local authorities and will continue to work closely with our national and development partners as well as people of the region, to promote the development of sustainable cities and support the “green” urban growth in the country”.
On June 2, the UNDP Resident Representative in Turkmenistan visited the pilot hotel “Hasyl”, where she was introduced to the results of the implementation of energy reduction practices, including the use of energy-efficient and water-saving innovative technologies, the introduction of air quality controlling techniques and green solid waste management methods to promote the sustainable tourisms infrastructure in Awaza.
Ms. Sahakyan inaugurated a 370-kW solar grid power plant, which is a first of its kind in Awaza and should help accelerate the use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effect of climate change. The solar grid power plant, consisting of 29 solar panels, is expected to help reduce GHG emissions in CO2-eq. up to 104 tons per year.
Ms. Sahakyan and Mr. Tomica Paovic, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Turkmenistan also participated in a workshop on improving energy efficiency in the hotel industry and the introduction of a green street lighting system in Awaza, which was held in “Hasyl” hotel and gathered representatives of the Ministry of Energy of Turkmenistan, the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan, the khyakimliks of Turkmenbashi city and Avaza etrap, as well as representatives of the management of the Awaza national tourist zone hotel complex.
“By piloting such eco-friendly hotels, we hope to demonstrate the benefits that this will bring to the development of tourist infrastructure,” – noted Mr. Paovic. “The introduction of “green” hotel practices in Turkmenistan will contribute to the further implementation of the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NCD) under the Paris Climate agreement”.
During the second day of the visit to the pilot region, on the occasion of the World Bicycle Day, on June 3, the UNDP delegation participated in the opening of a bicycle station for schoolchildren in the sanatorium complex “Dayanch”. UNDP has provided 14 bicycles – clean, affordable and environmentally friendly sustainable means of transportation that help reduce carbon footprint of humans and thus strengthen the fight against climate change.
Ms. Sahakyan and Mr. Paovic also participated in an educational session for children in the “Dayanch” summer camp dedicated to the upcoming World Environment Day – 5 June under the global campaign #BeatPlasticPollution. The event is aimed at raising environmental awareness and increasing the interest of younger generation in climate issues, as well promoting behavioural change in relation to rational consumption and waste management. The event provided an opportunity for children to speak out and discuss ways of their own meaningful contribution to saving the planet.
“The World Environment Day is celebrated annually by millions of people across the globe to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the environment. It’s an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to saving the environment and promote the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” – said Ms. Sahakyan. “UNDP raises awareness of the climate crisis through educational and environmental campaigns to help young people understand the impact of climate crisis on human health and ecosystems and highlight the role of the younger generation as a key partner in the fight against climate change.”