EU–Turkmenistan relations have significantly strengthened. The EU has reinforced its bilateral cooperation with Turkmenistan via both policy dialogue and funding from the EU’s Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). The EU supports the reforms in the economic, social and institutional sectors announced by the new Turkmen leadership.
Turkmenistan’s multi-annual Indicative programme 2011-13, allocated €31 million for development initiatives. An allocation of €22 million was made under the initial Central Asia multi-annual indicative programme (2007-10).
The priority areas for cooperation are:
- public administration reform,
- agriculture/rural development,
- environment/energy/climate and
- governance and economic reform.
Modernisation and reform of the education sector is one of the EU’s main areas of long-term cooperation with Turkmenistan. The €1.5 million support programme for the modernisation of the education system in Turkmenistan has assisted reforms in general secondary education while bringing it closer to international standards. It has also contributed to a better quality of education by improving the skills of educational staff and has introduced innovative methodologies for curricula development and quality assurance. In the same area, the €3 million further improvement of quality and relevance of professional education programme is re-establishing and strengthening the vocational and training education system by providing skills and qualifications which meet the needs of the labour market, thus contributing to the economic and social development of Turkmenistan.
Governance and economic reforms
The EU has implemented a €1.4 million project in legal capacity building project and has provided training to enhance in-country expertise in the areas of comparative law and international practices. Further, the EU co-financed a €2.2 million programme to strengthen the national capacity of Turkmenistan to promote and protect human rights. It has developed the capacity of the government of Turkmenistan to comply with international human rights standards and has put in place a wide-scale public awareness strategy on human rights. Jointly implemented with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), it is the first wide-scale donor activity in this field in Turkmenistan.
The implementation of reforms in the area of public finance management has also been assisted. The €2 million project – support to further economic reforms – has enhanced public finance management skills and supported the Turkmen administration in building capacity in the area.
Agricultural production in Turkmenistan is the second largest sector in the economy. Over half of the population resides in rural areas and makes its livelihood from farming activities. A €1 million programme – support to further sustainable agricultural and rural development – has assisted the ministry of agriculture in meeting its objectives. The programme is also assisting the development of technical capacities of the ministry.
Turkmenistan has significant potential for improving energy efficiency and increasing its use of renewable energy sources, both of which will contribute to boosting economic sustainability, reducing industrial pollution and lessening the impact of climate change. The government of the Republic of Turkmenistan recognises the need for more comprehensive policies for energy efficiency as well as the promotion of renewable energy sources. To this end, a programme to support the introduction of sustainable development policies and rational use of natural resources in the energy and environment sectors has started. It aims to improve natural resources management and contribute to the overall sustainable development of Turkmenistan, in line with its long-term economic growth objectives, EU policies and best practices.
New programmes are foreseen to support to economic policies, private sector development and put in place technical regulations and quality production standards. Additional support is envisaged in the area of public finance management.Other cooperation projects are being developed in the areas of general and vocational education, sustainable agriculture, rural development and capacity building of public administration.