Update: "One year into the Climate-Resilient Farming in Turkmenistan project" (June 2013)

The Adaptation Fund project, “Addressing climate change risks to farming systems in Turkmenistan at national and community level” held its first Project Board meeting in June 2013.  The programme, which is being managed by UNDP on behalf of the Government of Turkmenistan, has been under implementation for one year.  The project team was able to discuss progress and agree the work plan for the remainder of the year.  The meeting was well attended with active contributions from the Deputy Minister of Nature Protection, and representatives from other key Ministries.  The project manager, Ahmet Shadurdyev, and water advisor, Muhammet Nebesov, set out key milestones that had been met.

One of the key areas of focus for the project is the revision of the National Water Code to promote more efficient water management by agricultural users.  The project is working to introduce a legal basis for more efficient use of water by farmers and other end users.  It is doing this in two ways.  The first seeks to promote reform of the national system of water tariffs for farmers accessing irrigated water systems.  The aim is to provide a series of incentives and charging structures that promote and reward the more efficient use of water.  The second aims to develop a legal basis for community level water management and to allow greater local involvement in decision making and community level water planning.  Led by the legal expert, Yepbars Kepabnov, the project has succeeded in introducing both of these concepts into draft primary legislation currently under development, and the team will continue to develop detailed proposals for secondary legislation once the revised Water Code is adopted.

The Project Board also heard how the project is piloting the use of community mobilisation approaches in project delivery.  This seeks to  ensure that project investments are designed on the basis of community vulnerabilities and interests.  The project has undertaken a number of community workshops to identify their needs, ensuring that a broad range of stakeholders are involved.   Community-based planning is a relatively new concept in Turkmenistan, which has traditionally relied on centralised institutional structures for planning and delivery of services.

The Project Board also reconfirmed the commitment of the Government of Turkmenistan to play an active role in project delivery.  The Ministry of Natural Resources committed to ensuring the active participation of Government stakeholders not only in training events, but more actively in procurement, planning and project oversight.  The Government underlined the central role of the project in demonstrating commitment  and progress under the country’s National Climate Change Strategy.  Both sides agreed the importance of timely and effective planning of local investments in adaptive water infrastructure going forward.  A joint vulnerability assessment undertaken with the UNDP regional Climate Risk Management project will allow for these investments to be targeted at the most exposed and we expect these investments to begin by the end of this year.

Written by Matthew Savage, Project Chief Technical Advisor (July 2013)

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