The objective of the project is to promote land degradation neutrality, restore and improve the use of land and water resources in Turkmenistan’s Amudarya watershed to enhance the sustainability and resilience of livelihoods and globally significant ecosystems. This will be achieved through a multifocal strategy, that includes three interrelated outcomes that will support the government’s efforts to prioritize policies and technical capacities to address desertification and biodiversity loss and deliver multiple Global Environmental Benefits (GEBs).

The GEF investment will promote non-depleting farming and at the same time effective conservation of critical ecosystem services, through a no-net-loss approach to the land-based natural capital, within the context of supporting sustainable livelihoods for local resource users.

Narine Sahakyan, UNDP Resident Representative in Turkmenistan

“The Aral Sea, once the fourth largest inland sea in the world, has been gradually disappearing over the last six decades, causing water and food insecurity, impacting people’s health in the countries of Aral Sea basin and affecting regions’ climate. Together with the GEF and our national partners we aim to build resilience of selected pilot regions of Turkmenistan to the environmental and socio-economic consequences of the Aral Sea crisis”.

The expected results are: Stabilized ecosystem services on 746,000 ha of production landscape. Non-depleted soil productivity and effective water use management on 100,000 ha of irrigated arable land. Crops resilience to salinization on 10,000 ha. Restored degraded arable and forest land on 60,000 ha. Strengthened effectiveness of the PAs and secured biodiversity status on 1,077,554 ha of PAs in the Amudarya landscape, including new areas of approximately 60,000 ha of endangered KBAs/IBAs proposed to be designated as Sanctuaries.

Increased protection of KBAs/IBAs will translate into stable population of rare bird species, such as the Saker falcon (Falco cherrug), Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Great grebe (Podiceps cristatus), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), Grey heron (Ardea cinerea), Purple heron (Ardea purpurea).The project will span over 5 years mobilizing a total of $4,583,196 GEF investment.

Addressing Gender Equality Issues

The Project seeks to ensure that women and men are given equal opportunities to participate in and benefit from interventions, and promotes targeted measures to address inequalities and promote the empowerment of women. The Project will mainstream gender equality, strengthen skills of women and girls and facilitate the dialogue on gender issues through implementing the following actions:

  • support regional and national gender-responsive adaptation and mitigation planning, including disaster risk reduction, through inclusive consultations, participation of women in decision-making process and gender analysis;
  • promote gender-responsive land and water management planning (gender sensitive pasture management plan, land using plans, water using plans), through social and economic impact assessments and gender analysis, needs and capacities of men and women;
  • promote greater understanding and consideration of the different roles, needs and capacities of men and women in biodiversity conservation planning and inclusive integration in social and economic activities;
  • narrow gender gaps by providing tools and resources, like the Gender toolkits: integrating gender into communication and knowledge management plans;
  • ensuring equal access to training; creating gender sensitive radio and TV talk shows with a segment for women farmers; engaging women professionals as well as local farmers and entrepreneurs in the project events;
  • strengthen gender budgeting to ensure equal access to finance, promoting gender considerations in environment and development projects (grant programme), including obtaining loans from national banks;
  • support gender inclusive monitoring, evaluation and adaptive management by providing reliable baseline data with gender indicators, and ensuring that successes in gender mainstreaming are shared and replicated;

Raising awareness and engaging partners, stakeholders and local institutions, authorities to share knowledge and experiences and demonstrate best practices on gender equality to mainstream gender statistics for better planning and engage gender experts towards national and regional dialogue.