Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09ASHGABAT134
2009-01-27 11:17:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Ashgabat
Cable title:  

UNDP HELPS TURKMENISTAN DEVELOP CLIMATE CHANGE

Tags:  PREL PGOV EAGR ENRG EPET SENV TX AORC 
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ASHGABAT 000134 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, OES

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAGR ENRG EPET SENV TX AORC
SUBJECT: UNDP HELPS TURKMENISTAN DEVELOP CLIMATE CHANGE
POLICY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ASHGABAT 000134

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, OES

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAGR ENRG EPET SENV TX AORC
SUBJECT: UNDP HELPS TURKMENISTAN DEVELOP CLIMATE CHANGE
POLICY


1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.


2. (SBU) SUMMARY: United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
recently facilitated an inter-ministerial dialogue on climate
change, aimed at helping Turkmenistan develop an official
position on the issue. UNDP hoped to gain a commitment from
Turkmenistan that it would identify priorities in its climate
change policy. During the inter-ministerial meeting --
organized at the initiative of Turkmenistan -- it was decided
that electroenergy and the oil and gas sector were priorities
on the mitigation side, and water -- in light of
Turkmenistan's heavy use of irrigation methods in farming --
on the adaptation side. UNDP observed that participation
came from a high level and from across a wide variety of
ministries and agencies. Turkmenistan's liabilities in
dealing with a global climate change mechanism are a lack of
real negotiation experience and the lack of a "vocal regional
organization." The UNDP representatives said Turkmenistan's
per capita energy usage is high, and that they enjoy support
from the highest levels of the government to help
Turkmenistan develop a national climate change policy. A
test of that support will involve whether the Turkmen
government, notoriously reluctant to share any statistics,
will allow international experts to measure emissions. END
SUMMARY.

A FORUM TO DISCUSS NATIONAL POLICY ON CLIMATE CHANGE


3. (SBU) On January 23, UNDP held a read-out meeting for the
donor community about the inter-ministerial dialogue it
organized on climate change, which took place in Ashgabat on
January 21-22. UNDP briefers were Environment and Energy
Programme Analyst, Anna Kaplina, and Regional Technical
Advisor for Climate Change Adaptation for Europe and
Commonwealth of Independent States, Keti Chachibaia, from
UNDP's Bratislava office, and National Programme Officer for
Environment and Energy, Rovshen Nurnmuhamedov, from UNDP's
Ashgabat office. UNDP organized the inter-ministerial

meetings as part of the UNDP Bureau for Development
Policy/Environment and Energy Group project that aims to
strengthen developing countries' capacity to develop policy
options for addressing climate change across sectors. This
process will provide inputs to negotiating positions for
conventions, such as the Kyoto Protocol or other agreements
that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.
Nurnmuhamedov said that the inter-ministerial provided a
forum to discuss Turkmenistan's position on climate change in
advance from the next UN Climate Change Conference of Parties
meeting (COP 15),which will take place in Copenhagen on
December 7-18, 2009, as well as to obtain a commitment from
Turkmenistan that it will identify priorities in its climate
change policy and move toward implementing mechanisms.

TURKMENISTAN IDENTIFIED KEY SECTORS FOR PROJECTS


4. (SBU) Kaplina stated that Turkmenistan was one of 19
countries that approached UNDP at a previous COP for
assistance with addressing clQate change. Kaplina added
that UNDP did not approach countries with offers of
assistance, and that countries needed to approach UNDP.
Turkmenistan decided during the inter-ministerial that
electroenergy and the oil and gas sector were priorities on
the mitigation side, and water -- in light of Turkmenistan's
heavy use of irrigation methods in farming -- on the
adaptation side.

PARTICIPATION FROM HIGH LEVELS AND WIDE RANGE OF AGENCIES


5. (SBU) The UNDP representatives noted that key ministers
attended the opening of the meeting. High-ranking officials
such as department heads from non-essential stakeholder
ministries and agencies such as the State Committee on
Statistics, Ministry of Education, and the Institute of
Strategic Planning and Economic Development also attended.

ASHGABAT 00000134 002 OF 003


Project participants submitted a set of recommendations at
the conclusion of the meeting. UNDP felt that this high
level of engagement was an indication of the importance that
the Turkmen government places on climate change policy.

TURKMENISTAN LACKS NEGOTIATION EXPERIENCE


6. (SBU) The UNDP representatives also said that they
discussed with GOTX participants the financial incentives of
involvement in various climate change mechanisms, such as
carbon finance. UNDP wants countries to understand how to
position themselves for negotiations in the post-Kyoto
Protocol period. Kaplina and Chachibaia said that
Turkmenistan's particular liabilities are a lack of real
negotiation experience at this level, and the lack of a
"vocal regional organization." While Turkmenistan in
comparison to countries such as Brazil is not at risk for
becoming one of the world's highest carbon emitters, Kaplina
and Chachibaia said they would like Turkmenistan to take
responsibility for reducing emissions in the oil and gas
sector and said that Turkmenistan should be aware at the very
least of the benefits of various mechanisms.

NEXT STEPS: METHODOLOGICAL ANALYSIS


7. (SBU) Next steps include a nine-month assessment phase,
during which international consultants will run training
programs in-country on climate change mitigation. Kaplina
and Chachibaia expect that this work will generate
methodological analysis. In addition, Turkmenistan is in the
process of developing the Second Communication on Climate
Change, which is supposed to be completed by May, but in all
likelihood won't wrap up until the end of 2009. Kaplina and
Chachibaia said that that all of Central Asia -- including
Turkmenistan -- is vulnerable to falling far behind other
countries in climate change work because acknowledgement of
the need for and concrete steps towards climate change
projects have not taken place at the national level. In
addition, per capita energy usage is high -- in fact, Central
Asian per capita energy usage is higher than in Brazil and
China. UNDP recommended that Turkmenistan develop synergies
between the Montreal Protocol, the Kyoto Protocol, and a
post-2012 framework.

WHAT ARE THE CHANCES -- REALISTICALLY?


8. (SBU) UNDP staff were optimistic that Turkmenistan will
continue to address climate change and in time will consider
mechanisms. Kaplina and Chachibaia said that there is
increasing interest in and awareness of projects among
Turkmengas staff, with support of top management. Deputy
Resident Representative of UNDP in Turkmenistan, Inita
Paulovica, said that the Ministry of Nature Protection will
soon establish a National Designated Authority, who will
serve as a point person for carbon finance projects. She
mentioned that UNDP had hoped that Turkmenistan would have
identified a National Designated Authority last year. UNDP
is in the process of organizing a delegation comprised of
international and regional advisors for this purpose -- at
the request of Deputy Chairman for Foreign Affairs Rashit
Meredov -- which will make Turkmenistan eligible for carbon
finance projects. Paulovica predicts that this will also
facilitate endorsement of a national climate change policy by
Turkmenistan's Cabinet of Ministers.


9. (SBU) COMMENT: The process of getting Turkmenistan to
develop a national policy for climate change reflects the
challenges of cooperating with Turkmenistan more generally:
lack of experience, lack of knowledge, and a preference for
working with multilateral organizations. Paulovica
emphasized Deputy Chairman Meredov's support for developing a
climate change policy, but the rubber will meet the road once
international experts request hard data from the government.
Kaplina and Chachibaia already know -- without statistics --

ASHGABAT 00000134 003 OF 003


that Turkmenistan's per capita energy usage is higher than
the highest per capita usage countries in the world.
Turkmenistan is well-known for its reluctance to share
statistics, so supplying -- what will be for Turkmenistan --
"embarrassing" information to the UN will be painful. END
COMMENT.
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