Sustainable Cities in Turkmenistan: Integrated Green Urban Development in Ashgabat and Awaza

What is the project about

A nation of approximately 5.3 million citizens. The population of Turkmenistan is growing by approximately one percent per year.  The country is also undergoing a steady shift toward greater urbanization, with an increasing proportion of citizens living in cities.

The most notable recent urban growth in Turkmenistan has taken place in two distinct locales – the capital city of Ashgabat and the new resort zone of Awaza on the Caspian Sea.  Ashgabat’s population has increased by about 70 percent in the last 15 years, from about 524,000 in the year 2000 to more than 900,000 in 2014.  This population growth has triggered the creation of several new developed areas, many major new public and residential building projects, and expansion of associated infrastructure.

Just eight years ago, Awaza was a modest beach town with minimal infrastructure or services beyond rest and recreation for local residents.  Then, President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedow articulated his vision for creation of a world-class tourist resort at Awaza.  Since being designated in 2007 as a national tourist zone, Awaza has undergone rapid development, with the construction of more than 30 hotels and other lodging facilities, parks, recreation facilities, and accompanying infrastructure, including roads, a new gas-fired power plant, a desalination plant on the Caspian Sea, a sewage treatment plants, water supply networks, and a full renovation of the airport at the nearby city of Turkmenbashi.  Awaza is also being promoted as a potential spot for headquarters for corporations seeking to establish economic bases on the eastern shore of the Caspian.

This growth has had an increasing negative environmental impact – resource consumption, waste, local air and water pollution, and emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG).  The Government recognizes that these two showcase cities could win the respect and good will of the international community (as well as tourism revenue and investment) by demonstrating Turkmenistan’s responsible citizenship in the global community of nations, as well as its readiness to implement smart, technically sound best practices in urban planning and management. 

What we aim to accomplish

Component 1.  Sustainable urban development in Ashgabat

·      Energy-efficient public lighting implemented in Ashgabat, with technical justification prepared for replication

·      Sustainable urban transport solutions in Ashgabat developed and applied

·      Waste volumes reduced and recycling expanded in Ashgabat

·      City-wide sustainability plans developed and approved

Component 2.  Sustainable Tourism Infrastructure and Management Practices in Awaza

·      Practices to reduce energy consumption, water use, and waste implemented by hotels in Awaza

·      Demonstration and replication of solar-powered public lighting

·      Optimally efficient surface transportation implemented in Awaza

·      Managerial and technical capacity of planners, officials, and facility managers in Awaza enhanced via training

Component 3.  Municipal and National Policy

·      National policies developed and adopted in support of integrated and scaled-up green urban practices, supported by capacity enhancement for responsible agencies and individuals

·      National incentives and standards adopted for fuel efficiency of imported cars