Head of UNDP focuses on Turkmenistan's regional role during visit

May 2, 2011

Ashgabat – UNDP Administrator Helen Clark concluded a two-day official visit to Turkmenistan today which focused on that country’s leadership role in the region.

Helen Clark met with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for a frank discussion on the continuation of their work together to meet both national and international challenges, including trans-boundary security and its importance for regional stability, development assistance to Afghanistan, and efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Helen Clark also traveled to Bokurdak, a village 100 km north of Ashgabat, to visit a UNDP project that combats desertification. Around 70% of Turkmenistan is covered by desert, and this project forms part of a large-scale effort to plant trees around cities and villages to prevent the movement of sand dunes onto villages.

She spoke with local leaders in their traditional dwelling, or yurta, on how their experiences will benefit others confronting this environmental challenge.

“Desertification is a huge issue in many other parts of the world,” she said. “What is learned here is of international interest.”

Together with EU Ambassadors, Helen Clark opened the first Human Rights Resource Centre, which aims to promote human rights in Turkmenistan and increase awareness of human rights among the population. This centre is implemented in partnership with the government of Turkmenistan, and supported by the EU, UNDP, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“We hope through this centre, we can contribute to the strengthening of the rule of law in Turkmenistan, and furthering respect for human rights by all people,” said Helen Clark at the opening.

Her meetings also included discussions with Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, Chairperson of the Parliament, Akja Nurberdyeva, and the UN Country Team. She also toured the Mausoleum and Spiritual Mosque of Saparmurat Turkmenbashy in the village of Kipchak.


Contact Information Zoran Stevanovic, Tel.:   +421 2 59337 428, Mob: +421 908 729 846; zoran.stevanovic@undp.org

Christina LoNigro, Tel: +1 212 906 5301; christina.lonigro@undp.org

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