Influence of Aral Sea ecology on health of mothers and children discussed at the profile meeting
Turkmen capital hosted round table session dedicated to the impact of ecological situation in Aral Sea region on the health of mothers and children. The event was organized by the Representative Office of the UNICEF in Ashgabat and the Ministry of Health Protection and Medical Industry with support of the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan under joint working plan for 2019 – 2020.
The agenda included the presentation of the results of the environment monitoring in Aral Sea region, solution of other social issues as well as the discussion of the recommendations on this problem.
Heads and representatives of the Ministry of Health Protection and Medical Industry and its lower structures, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population, the State Statistic Committee, National Institute of State, Law and Democracy, the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Protection, number of public organizations and mass media have been invited to take part in the work of the round table. The UNICEF was represented by the health protection, food supply and quality, monitoring of children right coordinators. Specialists of Sanigest Company were invited as experts.
Welcoming the participants, the Head of the UNICEF Representative Office in Ashgabat Kristina Weigand highlighted the importance of the discussed subject in the context of international efforts for saving of Aral Sea. It was mentioned that the problem of Aral Sea, which root causes were the changes of hydrological mode of rivers in the basin, has gained a critical character at the edge of XX-XXI centuries and is under the attention of the world community these days.
Consequences of ecological problem, which was caused by irrational use of water resources of the region, made negative impact on its flora and fauna and touched life conditions of many people in Aral Sea basin. In this regard, it was highlighted that reduction of negative impact of Aral Sea on environment and people’s health is the most important objective.
As is known, Turkmenistan chairs the IFAS in 2017 – 2019. Prior starting the fulfilment of the mission, the session with participation of representatives of the UNDP, the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, the World Bank, German International Cooperation Society, Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency has been organized by the initiative of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for discussion of practical measures for the implementation of the Concept and other related issues.
The IFAS Executive Committee, which objectives include the development, expertise and realization of the programmes and projects aimed at the improvement of social and ecological situation of Aral Sea basin, has started its activity in Ashgabat in 2017.
Sessions of the Board of the Fund, its Interstate Coordination Water Management Commission and its Interstate Commission for Sustainable Development have been organized in 2017 and 2018 during the chairing of Turkmenistan in the IFAS. Central Asian International Ecological Forum has been organized in Turkmenistan in 2017.
While chairing the IFAS based on specially developed Concept, which is aimed at the improvement and enhancement of efficiency of activity of the Fund, strengthening of constructive partnership between the countries of Aral Sea basin taking into account long-term perspective, Turkmenistan demonstrates the most serious approach to the fulfilment of this responsible mission.
Turkmen leader highlights that it is obvious that the currency of objectives of Aral Sea problems goes far beyond Central Asia. Therefore, it is necessary to make solid foundation for systematic interstate cooperation with active collaboration with competent organizations, especially with the UN.
The initiatives proposed by the President of Turkmenistan at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20, the UN Sustainable Development Summit for the period after 2015, which was held under the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, III UN World Conference on Reduction of Risks of Natural Disasters in Japan and VII World Water Forum in the Republic of Korea are aimed at this. In particular, at the Sustainable Development Conference in Rio de Janeiro (RIO+20) in JJune 2012, the Head of the State proposed the developed of separate direction of the UN activity, having named it as the UN Special Programme for Aral Sea, which would include specific plans for stabilization and improvement of the situation in Aral Sea basin.
The main objective of the above-mentioned programme is the activation of cooperation between the IFAS and the United Nations for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the basin. The initiatives of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov include the proposal on the opening of the Regional Technology Centre for the climate change in Ashgabat as well as on the development of the UN Special Programme for saving of Aral Sea and the UN Water Strategy.
Constructive position of Turkmenistan in this direction is supported by the world community. This is visually indicated by the fact of the unanimous adoption of the UN Resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations Organizations and International Fund for Saving of Aral Sea initiated by Turkmen side at the 85th plenary session of the 73rd UN General Assembly.
Article about the development of the UN Special Programme for Aral Sea was the main provision of the Resolution by the proposal of the President of Turkmenistan. The importance of the development of regional programmes of environment protection and support of the countries of Aral Sea basin in their efficient implementation has been mentioned separately.
Specialized institutions and other organizations, programmes and funds of the UN as well as international financial structrues were recommended to develop the cooperation with the IFAS. Formats of cooperation in ecological sphere of the region have been outlined during the Summit of the Heads of the States Founders of International Fund for Saving of Aral Sea in Avaza National tourist zone on August 24, 2018.
Joint activities of Central Asian countries for improvement of ecological situation and integrated use of water resources of Aral Sea basin in conditions of climate change, further strengthening of the partnership in solution of water, ecological, social and economic issues, cooperation with competent organizations were the subjects of detailed discussion.
The fact that the leaders of five countries confirmed the commitment to the decision on joint and systematic management as well as rational use of water resources and environment protection in Aral Sea basin taking into account the interests of all countries on the principles of goodwill and respect, having highlighted the necessity of further development and strengthening of relations of equal and beneficial cooperation.
Turkmenistan actively supports the intensification of cooperation in solution of such important issues as an improvement of social and economic and ecological situation in Aral region, rational water use, protection and improvement of environment, adaptation to the climate change.
Implementing major national programmes and projects in different spheres, our country co-relates them with ecological component of the Sustainable Development Goals and tries to realize existing significant experience and creative potential for common sake.
At the same time, closely cooperating with many international organizations including the UNICEF, Turkmenistan demonstrates responsible approach to provision of the most favourable conditions of life for growing generation.
Interested discussion of the presentations and plans presented by specialists of Sanigest on the outcomes of the monitoring in Dashoguz Velayat and Scientific and Clinical Centre of Mother and Child Health Protection in the northern part of Lebap Velayat (Darganata) has been held during the work of the round table session. It was highlighted that development of health protection sphere, upbringing of physically fit and spiritually rich generation is always important directions and the utmost objectives of national strategy of our country.
High level of national health protection system, which was achieved owing to the reformation of national system of health protection and steadfast implementation of the State Health Programme, gave opportunity to Turkmen citizens to get access to wide range of modern medical services, which are provided by treatment and diagnostic centres built in the capital.
Stable improvement of legal base in this sphere is an integral factor of successful reform of health protection sphere. Number of new laws especially the Laws on Health Protection of Citizens, on Provision of Safety and Quality of Food Products, on Propaganda and Support of Breast Feeding have been adopted in the country recently.
During interested discussion of the issues of increment of the potential in the sphere of national health protection, representatives of competent UN structure noted that our country has reached significant progress in this important sphere of social policy for record period.
Being a holder of number of certificates of the World Health Organization, our country develops productive cooperation with all interested sides, studies the practice of the leading experts and specialists in this sphere. Representatives of the UNICEF in Turkmenistan are one of active partners of Turkmen medical personnel in this direction.
Further improvement of the forms and methods of medical services provided to families and children has been discussed during the sessions of working groups. Exchanging the views, the participants unanimously spoke for the continuation of fruitful contacts supporting the solution of wide range of problems related to negative impact of Aral crisis.
Summing up the outcomes of the round table, the participants noted its productivity, having expressed the confidence that all proposals would be reflected in practical measures aimed at the improvement of ecological, social, economic and humanitarian situation in Aral region.
It was highlighted that current events is very topical in the light of development of the Country Programme of cooperation between the Government of Turkmenistan and the UN Children Fund for 2020 – 2025 and fulfilment of National Action Plan for implementation of child rights in Turkmenistan in 2018 – 2022.