UNICEF raises child rights at the joint Government-UN conference marking 15 years of collaboration in Turkmenistan
The Government of Turkmenistan and UN agencies, including UNICEF, met at a conference on October 13, 2006 to discuss the results of 15 years of joint cooperation. Progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by Turkmenistan was high on agenda.
In a message to participants from the President of Turkmenistan Saparmyrat Niyazov, read by Foreign Minister Mr Rashid Meredov, the President stressed the importance of continued collaboration between the government and the United Nations stating that “… achievement of the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the UN coincide with the national priorities and interests of Turkmenistan framed in the National Strategy of Economic, Political and Cultural Development of Turkmenistan until 2020.
“In the context of coordinated and efficient partnership between our country and the UN it is necessary to stress joint fruitful work of the Turkmen government with the UN specialised institutions and agencies. For some years the state structures and public organisations of Turkmenistan have successfully realised joint programmes and projects in collaboration with such organisations as the UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO and many others,” said the President of Turkmenistan. “I would like to assure the UN of our country’s readiness for constructive and fruitful cooperation,” President Niyazov added.
The conference gave UNICEF an important opportunity to raise key issues and to highlight achievements and challenges in the area of child rights. UNICEF is one of the government’s major partners in the goal of improving children’s well being in Turkmenistan.
Increased allocation of resources for children, improved quality in education, enhanced child-oriented laws and policies, and the establishment of the national plan of action for children were among the key challenges that UNICEF Turkmenistan Representative, Mr Mahboob Shareef, urged the Government of Turkmenistan to address.
Speaking of emerging opportunities, Mr. Shareef said: “Turkmenistan, as a country with rapid economic growth, is in an advantageous position to shape the country’s economic policies that are much more geared towards the long term benefit of children, and to make strategic decisions to invest more in achieving those policies.
“Secondly, the government could further improve its legislation to achieve compliance with all the principles and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and ensure a comprehensive and effective implementation of policies regarding children.
“And thirdly, the needs and rights of children cannot always be compartmentalised in discreet sectors... It is our hope that the Government will establish a multi-sectoral coordination committee to plan and implement programmes for children in a much more coordinated fashion.”
Mr. Shareef thanked the donors who generously contributed to UNICEF programmes in Turkmenistan and he expressed his hope for their continued and vital support.
The Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan expressed his appreciation of UNICEF’s support to the country and noted that UNICEF was the first UN agency to open an office in Turkmenistan immediately after independence.
The conference opened with the launch of a photography exhibition marking 15 years of joint programming by the UN and the Turkmen government, and the distribution of information to the participants.