U.S. Assistance to Turkmenistan
United States Department of State, April 1, 2012
The United States' foreign assistance objectives in Turkmenistan include strengthening Turkmenistan's capacity to contribute to regional peace and control its international borders, encouraging citizens to play a greater role in civil society, increasing access to quality higher education, improving the capacity of the central and local government civil servants to perform their functions, and promoting private sector development and economic reforms.
Recent Successes by Areas of Focus:
Peace & Security
- USG assistance programs have improved Turkmenistan’s ability to interdict, investigate, and prosecute border and trade control violations, including the smuggling of narcotics, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), arms, and people. Heroin use in Turkmenistan has dropped and Turkmenistan is implementing key anti-smuggling programs with international counterparts.
- Successful programs included training for law enforcement officials and the initiation of a “Sports Against Drugs” small grant program for sports organizations to provide programming and instruction related to the dangers of drug use to at-risk individuals.
- The USG supports Trafficking in Persons (TIP) programs that assist GoTX law enforcement and civil society organizations to prosecute traffickers, prevent trafficking, and protect and assist victims. In FY 2011, the government prosecuted traffickers for the first time and registered a trafficking shelter for TIP victims.
Governing Justly and Democratically
- USG programs provide small grants to civil society organizations (CSOs), build partnerships between CSOs and local governments, and strengthen governance and capacity building for civil servants. Major achievements include continued partnerships with grass-roots civil society organizations and an expansion of programs promoting good governance and compliance with international standards and conventions.
- Democracy commission programs provide the sole, reliable source of funding to Turkmenistan’s nascent civil society organizations. Grants support training of citizen journalists, teaching job skills to rural youth, and providing tools to young women to avoid becoming trafficking victims.
- The USG works with national-level counterparts, such as the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights and the Ministry of Justice, to bring Turkmenistan's legislation into compliance with international legal norms, a stated goal of President Berdimuhamedov.
- USG programs have contributed to the drafting of human rights and civil society enabling legislation, including recent recommendations for improving the Law on Public Associations and the Law on Associations of Advocates (lawyers). Programs also support a network of lawyers and other professionals who provide consultative services to registered and unregistered CSOs throughout Turkmenistan, helping them better understand their rights and obligations under Turkmen law.
Investing in People
Partnering with the United Nations Population Fund, the USG has improved the health of Turkmenistan’s citizens through training on the control of infectious diseases, outreach to at-risk populations, as well as English-language instruction, and training for students and faculty from higher education institutions. In a program that addresses both education and economic reform, the USG supports Junior Achievement programs, which have resulted in increased private sector businesses opened and greater popular knowledge of international business and market practices.
- Turkmenistan’s massive hydrocarbon reserves are the engine driving the country’s development. Given its potential to facilitate the stability and economic growth of the region, assistance to Turkmenistan’s energy sector includes partnering with the Asian Development Bank to expand Turkmenistan’s electricity exports to Afghanistan. USG assistance is bringing Turkmenistan into compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), an important step in the transparent management of both state-owned and private enterprises.
- USG-provided training in animal care and feed, herd management, genetics and veterinarian services continues to improve yields and, most importantly, provides an impetus for entrepreneurship in agriculture. Work with small, private farmers to improve greenhouse management and increase agricultural production stimulates the private sector economy and contributes to civil society.
- A number of U.S. companies are participating in Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in Turkmenistan, among them ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Chevron. The partnership between USAID and Chevron is particularly strong and has resulted in approximately $1.2 million in additional resources for programs on accounting reform, business and entrepreneurship education, and outreach to at-risk youth. Turkmenistan’s economic potential should lead to increased opportunities for PPPs for U.S. companies.