Today, the presentation of the UNICEF Report "Children, food and nutrition: full development in a changing world" on the situation of children in the world took place in the conference hall of the Archabil hotel. The representative of UNICEF Christine Weigand gave an exclusive interview to the special correspondent of Turkmenportal after the event.
- Could tell briefly about the UNICEF project in Turkmenistan? How was the whole process of realization of the projects in Turkmenistan last year and this year specifically?
- I can give some examples of the work. We have been very privileged to have very long-standing partnership with government of Turkmenistan here and in this past year in 2019 our cooperation with government mostly focused on the area of child health and nutrition, specifically also working with the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry for example on supporting the development of the new national nutrition program on action plan. But we also continued to support for example the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry on procurement of vaccines and premix fortification. We have continued working for example with the Ministry of Education together with the Ministry of Health also on early childhood development and children with disabilities, as well as with the Ministry of Social Protection and Labor on the establishment of the social work and social services. In addition, we had a long partnership with the State Statistics Committee and it is something that was mentioned in presentation today, the source of information also for Turkmenistan is a household survey, we have just worked with the State Statistics Committee in 2019 on the new so-called mix survey, so it’s a household survey, that gives more information basically on key indicators on families, households, education and health of children and families. This data we expect will be available by the end of the year.
- How do you evaluate children's rights in Turkmenistan and other social cases related to children?
- The government of Turkmenistan really declared its commitment again to child rights for the fact of the adoption last year of the national action plan on child’s rights, which was endorsed and is really testament of the leadership of the country’s commitment to the child rights, specifically if we look for example at the SDG’s related to child rights, Turkmenistan is actually on track to be able to achieve most of these SDGs and I think there are many more opportunities in order to help accelerate that achievement of SDGs, and we will be very much looking for to continue working with our partners on this.
- Do you have some suggestions or comments to improve children’s rights in Turkmenistan?
- I can’t give any specific recommendations such, because all of our work in Turkmenistan is meant to support the government’s effort on achieving child rights like I said the government is committed to this. Perhaps, one thing that I was saying that certainly one of the priority areas also in our cooperation and certainly we have seen in the request also from the Ministry of Health is around child health and nutrition, because it’s really the basis of the making sure that children in any country frankly in the world have the best start to life. There are other areas that we have started to discuss with partners at the moment as we start to plan for the new five-year program of cooperation with the government. Then we have to do also more with looking at for example how we can support the education system also to keep improving to provide the children with the best chance in terms acquiring the best education and skills that they may need and to respond to some priorities as the President has highlighted in terms of how crucial education is not only for as to evaluate itself, but to help the country and the economy to develop further, and be competitive and innovative.