FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: Turkmenistan

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

Performance Report Highlights: Turkmenistan

FY 2010 Foreign Assistance Goals

An exceedingly isolated country and society, Turkmenistan has made progress in its efforts to meet international standards in some areas, but much work remains. U.S. Government (USG) assistance focuses on improved governance, border security, strengthening health systems, and improving the economic climate for private-sector development.

Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $16.51 million*

Date: 2011 Description: Turkmenistan -- Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance:  $16.51 million. - State Dept Image

(*Foreign Operations funding appropriated for FY 2010, not including Peace Corps funding and centrally managed, regional Foreign Operations funding that is not budgeted for specific countries.)

Highlights of FY 2010 Performance by Area of Focus

Peace and Security

-- The USG successfully engaged Turkmenistan’s State Customs Service (SCS) and State Border Service (SBS) in the key areas of enforcement and interdiction by conducting seven training events, two bilateral assessments, two high-level exchanges, and by visiting border posts and customs facilities. The USG also facilitated Turkmen participation at three international conferences.

-- The USG oversaw the completion of the $6.1M Farap border control checkpoint (BCC) on the Uzbek border, which officially opened in October 2009. During FY 2010, the USG awarded the contract for a fourth BCC, to be built in Serahs, on the Iranian border. In addition to the USG constructed BCCs, the Turkmen Government (GOTX) has used the BCC design to construct checkpoints at two other locations, with plans to build four more. The overall feedback from the GOTX on the BCC construction and border communications programs has been overwhelmingly positive. The GOTX used its own funds to procure additional equipment to enhance and fill gaps in equipment, and – for the first time -- shared their drug interdiction statistics with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

-- The USG provided funding to send a Turkmen officer to air traffic control training, two officers to infantry training, and three officers to engineer training. Six officers were sent to initial English language training with follow-on to other military training. Successful graduates of the USG’s defense training program include the Turkmen Minister of Defense and Chief of General Staff.

-- In August 2010, 21 officials representing seven Turkmen law enforcement agencies successfully completed USG-sponsored English language training. Four top students participated in a law enforcement study trip to Washington D.C., during which they had contact with a broad range of U.S. law enforcement officials and saw U.S. law enforcement practices firsthand. By expanding English language competency among Turkmen law enforcement officers; these courses increased the potential for international cooperation, including training opportunities and information sharing.

-- USG training for Turkmen law enforcement officials included: a one-week basic crime scene investigation course for prosecutors, police and counternarcotics officers in Ashgabat; two, one-week drug enforcement seminars for 25 State Counter Narcotics Service (SCNS) officers in Ashgabat and 21 SCNS officers in Turkmenabat; participation by three Turkmen Customs officers in the commercial vessels boarding program in Charleston, South Carolina; and seaport antiterrorism training for a chief of the Sea Border Protection Department of the State Border Service.

-- The USG capacity building assistance to the SCNS resulted in improved interdiction skills of the officers trained and an increase in the seizure of narcotics. The largest single Turkmen opium seizure ever, over 230 kilos, was seized in July, and over 600 kilos of drugs were seized in the first six months of 2010 according to the SCNS statistics. In April, a large-scale law enforcement operation called "Goknar-2010" (Opium Poppy – 2010) was conducted in desert areas by searching for and destroying naturally growing or illegally cultivated narcotic plants. The information exchange on drug statistics is improving, and, for the first time, detailed statistics on drug seizures broken down by province were provided to international donors by the SCNS.

-- U.S. drug demand-reduction assistance complemented interdiction efforts by the GOTX. Implemented by a local civil society organization, USG assistance raised awareness of the growing drug problem. This organization successfully disseminated anti-drug propaganda in public as part of a national effort implemented by all government bodies. According to GOTX officials, the number of drug addicts has significantly declined, drug prices have increased, and demand for heroin has decreased.

-- USG assistance, provided through UNODC, also contributed to anti-trafficking in persons efforts. As a result of this assistance, the Penal Code of Turkmenistan was amended to make human trafficking a criminal offense, punishable with a minimum of four and maximum of 25 years of imprisonment.

-- The USG assisted the GOTX in the area of protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) by sponsoring a U.S. study tour for five high ranking officials. As a result, the GOTX created a working group consisting of law enforcement agencies and patent office members responsible for IPR protection.

Governing Justly and Democratically

-- The USG-funded Rural Social and Economic Development Project lacked necessary GOTX approval to engage with local government counterparts. If approved, the project would assist 15 provincial government entities to improve their ability to develop budgets, conduct public hearings, manage municipal assets, develop and implement local development plans, and improve communication with their citizens. The USG continues to work on gaining government approval to implement the project.

-- Reforms related to civil society and media freedom continued to be slow in Turkmenistan in 2010. Although several USG assistance activities in this area were postponed, USG-supported programs were able to assist and reach out to non-governmental organizations (NGOs). During FY 2010, over 166 consultations were provided to NGOs on registration procedures, licensing, taxation, labor law, proprietary rights, commercial activities of public associations, donations to NGOs, and other topics. In addition, 367 books, brochures, and other law-related materials were distributed in hard and electronic copies. USG assistance was used to create a database of lawyers and organizations that are interested in providing assistance with NGO law and in receiving referrals in cases where legal assistance is required.

-- The USG supported satellite broadcasts of Central Asian-related social, political and documentary programming for individual viewers with satellite dishes. Two major programs produced are “The M@trix,” a youth technology show, and Open Asia, both of which were translated into the Turkmen language. Four additional programs produced by independent television stations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan were also translated for Turkmen audiences and included special reports, talk shows, and economic overviews.

-- USG-supported NGO grantees have begun to gain acceptance by Turkmen regulators: over 60% of these grantees were able to register their grants, thereby obtaining implicit government approval for their activities. In FY 2010, 23 NGO projects were completed, which included nine civic-responsibility projects that reached over 900 youth, four projects to support small-business development in rural areas, three projects to assist rural teachers develop skills and create community-based school projects, four projects for people with disabilities, an English language project that reached over 200 youth, a project on developing a multiparty system, and a project to develop citizen journalists in Turkmenistan.

Investing in People

-- In spring 2010, Central Asia experienced the world's largest polio outbreak in recent years. In Turkmenistan, the USG collaborated with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Turkmen Ministry of Health to support outreach activities, including development, pre-testing, printing, and effective dissemination of relevant materials for three rounds of polio immunization campaigns.

-- During FY 2010, the USG began to implement a limited number of basic and higher education activities in Turkmenistan. In April 2010, 28 specialists from the National Institute of Education (NIE) and school teachers were trained, through a series of demonstration lessons based on the Turkmen National Curriculum, with an analysis of how modern pedagogy and technology can combine to produce effective learning in the classroom. A second training workshop was held on effective classroom teaching techniques using modern technologies and multimedia equipment.

-- In the higher education sector, USG assistance helped promote information and communication technologies (ICT). In FY 2010, the USG opened the Internet Center for Interactive Media Learning (ICIML) and a secondary Technical Support Room (TSR). The ICIML provided training to 312 individuals from higher education institutions and internet access to 471 individuals. Researchers and educators made 123 visits to the TSR to use the internet for data searches. The USG has also developed a number of electronic teaching materials in the Turkmen language, including a distance learning course on Multimedia Board usage for educators. Similarly, it has created an online database making available to internet users all electronic teaching materials developed by Turkmen academics and teachers.

-- After encountering GOTX obstacles to attending the American University in Central Asia (AUCA), 60 students participating in the Turkmen American Scholarship Program were able to enroll at the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG). This change of venue significantly increased the cost-per-student to receive the same education benefit.

-- The USG funded eight Eurasian Undergraduate Exchange (UGRAD) participants from Turkmenistan and six Muskie fellows who were enrolled in U.S. universities at the graduate level.

-- In FY 2010, the USG continued an English-language training program with an emphasis on American studies, reaching more than 300 students. Of these, over 75 percent moved up a full level of fluency. Graduates are now using their English in GOTX ministries, the service sector and the research sector.

Economic Growth

-- USG assistance programs have had a measurable impact in the economic sector. USG assistance continued to support the implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) to strengthen the capabilities of private sector accounting professionals through conducting further Russian-language Certified Accounting Practitioner (CAP) and Certified International Professional Accountant (CIPA) training and examinations. During FY 2010, over 265 accountants took CAP/CIPA program courses and other types of more specialized accounting courses. University professors were trained under the CAP program to enable the introduction of IFRS into the Turkmen university accounting curriculum, resulting in the first four Turkmen professors acquiring CAP qualification.

-- The GOTX has called for the adoption of IFRS across the banking sector by the end of 2011, and USG-funded courses over FY 2010 were provided for representatives of several financial institutions. Through a Global Development Authority (GDA) grant from Chevron, USAID developed and delivered a complete accounting system that conforms to IFRS to the Ministry of Oil and Gas Industry and Mineral Resources.

-- With USG assistance, Junior Achievement has established training centers throughout Turkmenistan, and teachers are trained to carry out the project tasks with students, and in FY 2010, over 20,000 students and teachers participated in Junior Achievement training programs. The GOTX supports this effort, and as a result of the successful implementation of this activity, Chevron supported Junior Achievement as part of a GDA in FY 2010.

-- The USG provided opportunities for six Turkmen to travel to the United States to participate in training programs in hotel management, transportation services and logistics, fruit and vegetable processing and packaging, and beverage processing and packaging. The USG also offered training programs in livestock breeding and plant protection, in which a total of seven farmers and businessmen participated.