On November 26, 2020, a high-level conference entitled “Preventing Violent Extremism in Central Asia: Regional Progress and the Way Forward” was hosted online by the UNDP Regional Center in Istanbul.

The meeting was attended by Natalia German, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Central Asia and Head of UNRCCA, Agi Veres, Deputy Regional Director of UNDP and Deputy Assistant Administrator of UNDP for Europe and the CIS, Deputy Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, authorized diplomats of Japan and Great Britain, experts from the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, the World Bank and others.

At the conference, Turkmenistan was represented by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan V. Khadzhiev.

During the meeting, participants focused on the results of ongoing efforts to prevent violent extremism in the region. The need to develop cooperation and partnership in order to find more effective regional strategies was noted.

During the meeting, the Turkmen side noted the importance of neutrality, which can serve as a basis for countering certain segments of violent extremism. In this context, the head of the Turkmen delegation highlighted the initiatives of Turkmenistan to expand the international legal framework for the practical implementation of the potential of neutrality, and emphasized the draft resolution of the UN General Assembly "The role and importance of the policy of neutrality in maintaining and strengthening international peace, security and sustainable development."

The importance of the Group of Friends of Neutrality for Peace, Security and Development, founded by Turkmenistan at the UN platform with the support of the Organization's member states, was also emphasized. The position of the country was expressed on the continuation of work during the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly, on the development of the UN Code of Rules on the effective application of the principles of neutrality in the settlement of international issues.

In addition, the urgency of the adopted resolution of the UN General Assembly on declaring 2021 the Year of International Peace and Confidence was noted and, in order to comprehensively implement this document, Turkmenistan intends to hold the International Forum of Peace and Confidence in 2021.

V. Khadzhiev noted that the country pays close attention to the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy at the regional level, based on the provisions of the Ashgabat Declaration of 2011 and the Joint Action Plan to Counter Terrorism in Central Asia, which in 2021 is entering the next fourth phase of its implementation.

In this aspect, the importance of the joint work of the Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia and the UN Counter-Terrorism Office in developing an Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy of Turkmenistan to prevent violent extremism and counter terrorism for 2021-2024, which will be adopted in December of this year, was especially noted.

The head of the Turkmen delegation also noted that work with young people, especially in Central Asia, where their share in the demographic balance is traditionally high, is an important aspect in countering terrorism and violent extremism. In this context, the significance of the work carried out by UNDP within the framework of the project “Strengthening the resilience of society and cross-border cooperation to prevent violent extremism in Central Asia” was especially emphasized.

Also participants expressed gratitude to UNDP for the development of the Country Component for Turkmenistan of the global project "STRIVE Asia". This platform is aimed at strengthening the resilience of local communities, providing support to state and public organizations in achieving goals related to PVE among vulnerable youth.

As known, the UNDP project on Community Resilience and Regional Cooperation for PVE in Central Asia is funded by the Government of Japan. This platform is a regional initiative aimed at a youth component.