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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

II. Country Assessments and Performance Measures - Turkmenistan


U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with Eurasia
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
January 2007
Report
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Country Overview 

Country Facts

  • Map of TurkmenistanArea: 188,457 sq mi (488,100 sq km), slightly larger than California 
  • Population: 5,042,920 (July 2006 est.) 
  • Population Growth Rate: 1.83% (2006 est.) 
  • Life Expectancy: Male 58.43 yrs., Female 65.41 yrs. (2006 est.)
  • Infant Mortality: 72.56 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.) 
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP): $39.54 billion (purchasing power parity, 2005 est.) 
  • GDP Per Capita Income: $8,000 (purchasing power parity, 2005 est.) 
  • Real GDP Growth: 4% (IMF 2005 est.)

Overview of U.S. Government Assistance

In FY 2006, the USG provided an estimated $10.44 million in assistance to Turkmenistan, including:

  • $4.00 million in democratic reform programs; 
  • $0.83 million in economic reform programs; 
  • $2.17 million in security, regional stability, and law enforcement programs; 
  • $3.17 million in social reform programs; and 
  • $0.28 million in cross-sector and other programs.

FY 2006 Assistance Overview

U.S. STRATEGIC INTERESTS & FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITIES

Turkmenistan not only shares borders with countries of concern to the U.S., such as Afghanistan and Iran, but its large hydrocarbon reserves make it a pivotal potential supplier for both regional and world markets. Turkmenistan is also a security partner in the region and a supporter of Operation Enduring Freedom, providing blanket overflight rights since 2001 and allowing refueling of U.S. military aircraft entering and leaving Afghanistan for humanitarian missions. These factors, combined with overall U.S. objectives in the region, make Turkmenistan a strategically important state. Additionally, Turkmenistan could play a key role in the development of the South-Central Asia integration initiative in that it is providing below-cost electricity to major Afghan northern cities and its cooperation is crucial to the future political and economic stability of Afghanistan. Our bilateral agenda includes support for democratic and economic reform, energy diversification, security, and regional cooperation. Our overall goal is a more secure, democratic, and prosperous society that benefits the people of Turkmenistan and increases regional stability.

FOREIGN ASSISTANCE PRIORITIES

The U.S. Government (USG) can best help Turkmenistan secure its borders by focusing on stabilization operations and security sector reform. U.S. funds are invested in Turkmenistan's efforts to strengthen control of its borders with Iran and Afghanistan, in order to further counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics efforts.

USG resources strengthen civil society and community-based organizations and support their capacity to promote democracy and respect for human rights. Our assistance is intended to advance freedom of information and help Turkmenistanis advocate for their own rights.

USG assistance is investing in the next generation of leadership through basic education, higher education, and workforce development. Our educational exchanges provide scholarships for students to study in the U.S. and Central Asia. In partnership with the U.S., Turkmenistan is reforming its health sector in order to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

While the Government of Turkmenistan (GOTX) has shown little interest in macro-economic reform, local level officials are interested in cooperation to improve the private agricultural sector, where the majority earns its livelihood. The USG focuses on increasing agricultural productivity and identifying new markets in order to address the challenges facing private farmers.

OPERATING ENVIRONMENT

The GOTX made no significant efforts toward democratic reform during FY 2006. Through continued purges of high-ranking officials, the GOTX continued to consolidate power centrally and to control the lives of Turkmenistan's citizens through both formal and informal policies. Civil society groups still faced difficult registration rules and this firm control has kept potential civil society advocates in check. A weak judiciary followed the will of the president and was unprepared to protect civil, criminal, commercial, and other legal rights. The government controlled all domestic media and citizens' only access to outside broadcast media came via satellite, which meant viewers were reliant on Russian-language news sources. Although individual displeasure with the regime existed, notably disappointment over the declining quality of education and healthcare systems, the people of Turkmenistan were reluctant to challenge the status quo out of fear that they might jeopardize the significant subsidies they currently receive - part of the so-called "social contract." During 2006 only minor rumblings were heard from the repressed civil society. Religious repression decreased incrementally from last year and registered groups faced little harassment from officials.

COUNTRY PERFORMANCE MEASURES

Democratic Reform in Turkmenistan

The "radar" or "spider web" graphs below illustrate Turkmenistan's democratic performance during FY 2005. Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 representing the greatest advancement. These charts provide a disaggregated look at each of the indices and are reported to Congress on a regular basis. The gray shaded area represents 2005 performance levels, while the two dark lines indicate how each country compares in its progress vis-�-vis two standards: (1) the average of Romania's and Bulgaria's performance in each indicator as of 2002 (2002 was the year that Romania and Bulgaria - the "threshold countries" - were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership); and, (2) where the country stood in each indicator in 1999. Together, these charts provide a broad picture of where remaining gaps are in a country's performance, and to what extent these gaps are being filled. For more information, including a detailed explanation of each indicator shown in the graph, see USAID/E&E/PO, "Monitoring Country Progress in Central and Eastern Europe & Eurasia," No. 10 (August 2006). Found online at: http://inside.usaid.gov/EE/po/mcp.html.

Graph shows Turkmenistan Democratic Reform:  Average of Romania and Bulgaria-2002, corruption, 1.3; electoral process, 1.0; civil society, 1.0; independent media, 1.0; governance/public admin, 1.0; rule of law, 1.0

The graph above shows Turkmenistan's democratic reform scores in 2005* (the blue shaded area) as compared to the average of Romania's and Bulgaria's democratic reform scores in 2002 (the bold line) when they were invited to join NATO and receive favorable indications of future EU membership.

*Actual 2006 scores not yet available.

Graph shows Turkmenistan Democratic Reform:  1999, corruption, 1.3; electoral process, 1.0; civil society, 1.0; independent media, 1.0; governance/public admin, 1.0; rule of law, 1.0

The graph above shows Turkmenistan's democratic reform scores in 2005* (the blue shaded area) as compared to its democratic reform scores in 1999 (the bold line).

*Actual 2006 scores not yet available.

Economic Reform in Turkmenistan

The "radar" or "spider web" graphs below illustrate Turkmenistan's economic performance during 2005. Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 representing the greatest advancement. These charts provide a disaggregated look at each of the indices and are reported to Congress on a regular basis. The gray shaded area represents 2005 performance levels, while the two dark line indicates how each country compares in its progress vis-�-vis two standards: (1) the average of Romania's and Bulgaria's performance in each indicator as of 2002 (2002 was the year that Romania and Bulgaria - the "threshold countries" - were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership); and (2) where the country stood in each indicator in 1999. Together, these charts provide a broad picture of where remaining gaps are in a country's performance, and to what extent these gaps are being filled. For more information, including a detailed explanation of each indicator shown in the graph, see USAID/E&E/PO, "Monitoring Country Progress in Central and Eastern Europe & Eurasia," No. 10 (August 2006). Found online at: http://inside.usaid.gov/EE/po/mcp.html.

Graph shows Turkmenistan Economic Reform: Average of Romania and Bulgaria-2002, external debt percent GDP, 4.0; private sector share, 0.5; share of employment in SMEs, 4.5; export share of GDP, 4.5; FDI pc cumulative, 2.0; GDP as percent 1989 GDP, 4.5; 3yr avg inflation, 3.5

The graph above shows Turkmenistan's economic reform scores in 2005* (the blue shaded area) as compared to the average of Romania's and Bulgaria's economic reform scores in 2002 (the bold line) when they were invited to join NATO and received favorable indications of future EU membership.

*Actual 2006 scores not yet available.

Graph shows Turkmenistan Economic Reform: 1999, external debt percent GDP, 4.0; private sector share, 0.5;  export share of GDP, 4.5; FDI pc cumulative, 2.0; GDP as percent 1989 GDP, 4.5; 3yr avg inflation, 3.5

The graph above shows Turkmenistan's economic reform scores in 2005* (the blue shaded area) as compared to its economic reform scores in 1999 (the bold line).

*Actual 2006 scores not yet available.

FY 2006 Country Program Performance

Governing Justly and Democratically

Until his death on December 20, 2006, Turkmenistan was dominated by President-for-Life Saparmurat Niyazov, whose repressive cult-of-personality regime was designed to ensure self-preservation and prevent citizens from exercising independent democratic activity. Not surprisingly, during FY 2006, Turkmenistan saw very little progress in the areas of political rights, civil liberties, and independent media. However, in July 2006, open elections for village level people's councils were held for the first time. This activity was notable because candidates were not required to belong to the ruling Democratic Party and there was no evidence of overt vote tampering or harassment of voters. Nonetheless, civil society groups still faced difficult registration rules and no new NGOs were registered in during the year. Turkmenistan's weak judiciary followed the will of the president and did not protect civil, criminal, commercial, and other legal rights. The government controlled all forms of domestic media and citizens' primary access to outside information comes via satellite. There were only very weak displays of dissent including the reported distribution of protest leaflets in Ashgabat and other cities following the introduction of controversial pension reforms in late 2005. No significant gathering or other civil unrest followed this protest. Religious repression, on the other hand, relaxed incrementally from last year.

U.S. ASSISTANCE PRIORITIES

The promotion of a democratic government, respectful of the basic rights of its constituents, remained the focal point of U.S. assistance in this sector. It is our belief that progress toward this goal provides citizens of Turkmenistan with hope for a better future and guards against instability and extremism. U.S. resources sought to strengthen civil society and community-based organizations and support their capacity to promote democracy and respect for human rights. Small grants supported education for local citizens on leadership, tolerance, and other democratic values. Access to information, including legal information, remained a key focus of our activities. USG assistance also invested in building the capacity and skills of the next generation of leaders.

While at the time of the writing of this report it is not clear who will assume leadership in Turkmenistan, beneficiaries of USG assistance are playing an important role in keeping civil society functioning with a positive vision for the future. Although meaningful democratic reform in Turkmenistan does not appear imminent, as a result of our "human capital" development focus, the USG is in a favorable position to respond to unexpected changes in the political landscape and currently provides linkages between the people of Turkmenistan and the rest of the world. In addition, educational and professional exchange programs, and projects supporting broader access to un-biased information, help Turkmenistan's future leaders see the need for a free and democratic society.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES

In FY 2006, USG assistance programs worked to strengthen civil society at the community level and to improve legal education. Training, consultations, and the provision of information to civil society were coupled with a small grant-making capability to support community initiatives. Legal education programs supported a legal clinic, a students' law club, and training on a variety of legal topics.

Public diplomacy and exchange programs brought Turkmen citizens to the U.S. where they were exposed to alternative points of view and could observe a functioning democracy and study its underlying values. The U.S. Embassy's popular American Corners program provided invaluable real-world information for interested Turkmenistanis. Without access to such information, Turkmenistan's citizens might only see the U.S. and the rest of the world as it is portrayed by the GOTX and Russian news media.

OUTPUTS

The USG's civil society programs awarded grants to six NGOs to strengthen their institutional capacity. The USG also supported a network of civil society resource centers that conducted 124 training programs on various themes including agricultural legal issues, labor law, administrative law, and medical and health legislation. Civil society support and resource centers operated in all four regions of Turkmenistan outside of Ashgabat and served 2,041 community members and approximately 20 NGOs. During FY 2006, eleven new community-based resource centers were established and provided visitors with civic training, legal consultations, computer access, and other services. In addition, 145 small grants were awarded to community-based organizations and civic activists to co-finance projects. These grants helped support the rehabilitation of 23 schools, 15 buildings, eight sport centers and playgrounds, five clinics and 12 other structures, benefiting 280,000 community members.

The U.S. Embassy's Public Affairs Section relocated in March 2006 and opened an Information Resources Center with a conference room and high-speed Internet terminals. The center has registered 1,149 users since opening. At the beginning of FY 2006, the USG supported resource centers in each welayat under the Internet Access and Training Program (IATP) and American Corners; however, in May 2006 the Balkanabat, Dashoguz, Turkmenbashy and Ashgabat centers were closed. As a result, the American Corners attracted only 48,500 visitors, a decrease of 18% from FY 2005.

Additionally, local civil society groups implemented 24 Democracy Commission-funded projects, totaling $125,000. Completed projects included four multi-regional seminars and local training programs that drew 2,170 participants. Grants also funded programs on public health issues including drug abuse and HIV/AIDS, small business and vocational skills, leadership and communication skills, and the rights of the disabled. Seven resource centers were established throughout the country, drawing over 1,500 regular patrons. Democracy Commission funds supported five summer camps that trained 169 youth. Ashgabat hosted an international conference for approximately 200 English teachers from 13 countries and 80 teachers from across Turkmenistan.

USG assistance continued its educational exchange programs for students from high school through post-graduate levels. The total number of exchange participants in FY 2006 rose significantly over FY 2005, due in part to the introduction of the Community Connections program, which sent 29 participants to the U.S. Twenty new students were sent to study at the American University of Central Asia (up from 13 in FY 2005). Slightly fewer Turkmenistanis traveled to the U.S. as part of International Visitor Leadership programs, primarily because the GOTX provided fewer nominees in FY 2006.

PROGRAM PERFORMANCE/IMPACT

Overall, USG civil society programs were able to achieve the modest expected results during the last year. Due to the difficult working environment, programs focused increasingly at the local level, where there was greater opportunity for the development of community participation skills and interaction with the local authorities to address community concerns.

Some specific examples occurred in Mary Welayat (province). In one case, a community requested that the local mayor's office repair a road and a bridge. When the community did not receive a response, they wrote to the president with the same request. As a result of the second request, and with buy-in from the community and the local government, the repairs were ultimately made by the local authorities without USG funding. In another case, an advocacy campaign by village residents in the Murgap District of Mary Welayat pressured the local administration to re-install community electricity which had been unavailable for three years. And, a community advocacy campaign in Dashoguz Welayat resulted in local administration assistance with the drilling of a well to provide 1,200 residents with clean drinking water.

In addition to these specific examples, there is anecdotal evidence that USG work at the community level is having a wider impact. For example, 19 former participants in USG-funded training events were elected in July 2006 as members of local self-governance councils (Gengeshes). It is believed that these participants will use the skills they learned to promote continued community involvement.

Unfortunately, legal education activities were not as successful. Very limited results were achieved through informal legal training on the content of specific laws, and there was virtually no progress in work with the law faculty at Turkmen State University. This program will end in FY 2007.

MEASURES OF PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS

In order to determine how U.S. Government assistance affects a country, U.S. embassies set targets for improvement called "performance indicators." Data for these indicators are collected by research institutes, embassies and international organizations. By examining data over time, U.S. policymakers can better understand whether or not assistance programs are having the intended impact.

Please find below an important indicator in the area of Governing Justly and Democratically. In the charts, the "Baseline" refers to a starting point from which to measure progress or regression over time. The embassy and its partner organizations then agree on a "Target" figure that they hope to achieve as a result of U.S. assistance programs. The "Rank" figure is the resulting measurement. "FY" stands for "fiscal year," the period of the U.S. budget that runs from October 1 - September 30 of the following year. "CY" stands for "calendar year," or January 1 - December 31.

Performance Indicator: Civil Society Index. Assesses the growth of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), their organizational capacity and financial sustainability, and the legal and political environment in which they function; the development of free trade unions; and interest group participation in the policy process. (7-point scale: 1 indicates a very advanced NGO sector, 7 indicates a weak NGO sector) Source: Freedom House, Nations in Transit. The data upon which this ranking is based comes from the previous calendar year. Found online at http://www.freedomhouse.org/research/nattransit.htm.

CY 2002 Baseline

CY 2004 Rank

CY 2005 Rank

CY 2006 Target

7.0

7.0

7.0

6.5



Impact of U.S. Assistance on the Above Indicator: As indicated by the rankings above, Turkmenistan's CSI has remained weak and unchanged for the past several years. However, with the creation of new civil society resource centers, and openings that may result from the potential changes instituted by new leadership, it is anticipated that the rank will show improvement in the coming years.

Economic Growth

Over the year, little progress was made to stimulate an open and vibrant economy. While official government figures tout GDP growth of 22%, the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) estimated that GDP growth continued at 8% for the first ten months of 2006, due primarily to high hydrocarbon prices and booming government-ordered construction rather than broad-based development. Due to the lack of transparency and the government's unwillingness to share information, accurate numbers on Turkmenistan's revenue and expenditures, per capita GDP and poverty are not available. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund estimate that 58% of the population lives below the poverty line and GDP per capita income is $649 (versus recent Government figures of $7,500 GDP per capita). In contrast to official government statistics, international organizations estimate unemployment at about 50%, which has contributed to a significant increase in drug use among youth. Although small enterprises generally work with little impediment, they are unable to expand significantly to offer greater employment opportunities. The dual exchange rate hinders the competitiveness of local firms and the requirement to post export transactions through the Commodities Exchange limits opportunities for many smaller firms.

U.S. ASSISTANCE PRIORITIES

Although both the level of funding and opportunities for promoting economic growth are limited in Turkmenistan, the USG's economic reform programs concentrate on building a culture of entrepreneurship and training future business leaders to deal with the marketplace. Priorities for USG programs are increasing transparency, educating students, entrepreneurs, and farmers on enterprise development, and engaging the government on economic liberalization and financial sector reform. USG assistance programs seek out entrepreneurs and farmers who will increase productivity and sales by identifying new markets, streamlining their operations and promoting better management of available resources. The USG also supports training of young people in basic business skills and market economics at the high school level, providing a practical opportunity to launch future business professionals. The USG promotes financial transparency through its professional accountancy training program, which introduces global practices like International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES

Given the current lack of political will to reform, the economic growth program in Turkmenistan remains limited in size and scope, and focuses primarily on strengthening individuals' access to knowledge and information that can enable them to improve their current or future livelihoods. USG assistance was delivered principally through educational and training programs, such as basic business and accounting training, trade promotion, training of high-school students in market economics, and increased agricultural productivity in select locations, rather than with the official cooperation or support of government agencies. Through an Enterprise Development Center (EDC) in Ashgabat, local small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs received consulting services in enterprise improvement and trade promotion, and training in basic business practices. The USG promoted the technical and democratic potential of Water Users Associations (WUAs) and Farmer Organizations (FOs) to improve their management of local water delivery systems and to implement institutional and technical improvements through training and small grants. Until greater economic freedoms exist, programs that support private agriculture have the greatest potential to improve rural livelihoods, and going forward, the USG will focus on increasing agricultural productivity and identifying new markets in order to address the challenges facing private farmers. Overall, the Government of Turkmenistan has shown limited interest in macro-economic reform; however the Ministry of Economy and Finance requested USG assistance in reforming its budgetary practices in May 2006.

OUTPUTS

The Agricultural Support Center (ASC), established in the Mary Region of southeastern Turkmenistan, has become a recognized resource for farmers throughout the region. The center consists of a training facility, resource library, and computer center providing agribusiness and legal consultancy, and donor outreach. In FY 2006, with the technical and legal support provided by the ASC, farmers successfully negotiated fair terms of cotton sales to the Governmental Agricultural Joint Stock Company. As a result, four farmer groups comprising 360 people working on 250 hectares of land received $159,000 for their 2005 harvest, which is five times greater than their revenue from the 2004 harvest.

The USG supported training of over 6,500 high school students and 160 teachers in the basics of a market economy, a 50% increase for students trained and 20% for teachers from last year. Additionally, through a partnership with the Union of Economists of Turkmenistan, the USG provided students, university faculty, and entrepreneurs with internet access through a Faculty Resource Center.

In FY 2006, the USG conducted 67 business short courses for almost 1,300 participants (70% of whom were women) and provided ongoing business consultations to 13 private firms in Ashgabat. Despite significant legal and financial hurdles to trade, the USG's Regional Trade Promotion (RTP) activity facilitated $4.17 million in trade deals in FY 2006, which quadrupled the dollar volume compared to FY 2005.

In May 2006, the Union of Accountants of Turkmenistan (UAT) received full membership in the Eurasian Council of Certified Accountants and Auditors (ECCAA). This indicates the UAT's ability to engage successfully with regional professional bodies, and represents another step in its professional development. During FY 2006, 44 new Certified Accounting Practitioners (CAP) were recognized, bringing the cumulative number of trainees that have passed the series of three exams to 101.

Providing economic technical assistance to government bodies is a challenging proposition that is subject to political considerations. The USG's Economic Policy Reform project did not provide any direct assistance in FY2006, but in a positive development, the Ministry of Economy and Finance requested USG technical assistance on budgetary reforms in May 2006. By the end of FY 2006, discussions regarding the scope of assistance and starting date were ongoing, with initial work expected to commence during FY2007.

PROGRAM PERFORMANCE/IMPACT

In FY 2006, the USG continued to identify ways to further the economic development of Turkmenistan, despite the lack of domestic political will to undertake substantial market reforms. The most noteworthy progress on the policy front was the GOTX's desire for training in IFRS, which supports the Government's interest in budget reform.

Despite achieving incremental results across activities, the USG economic reform program is not able to address the fundamental policy obstacles to private sector development in Turkmenistan as a result of limited USG funding and governmental intransigence. As in previous years, FY 2006 programs focused on building a culture of entrepreneurship and training future business leaders to deal with the marketplace. USG efforts to provide business and accounting training achieved their targets in terms of the number of persons trained. In addition, increased government acceptance of the professional accounting training indicates that assistance is having a positive impact.

In spite of the challenges involved in providing business consulting services in Turkmenistan, the 13 businesses that received USG support made considerable accomplishments. The participating firms posted an average sales increase of 36% and a productivity increase of 203%.

The USG's agricultural sector productivity activities resulted in increased WUA capacity to distribute water equitably, resolve conflicts, and make financial and management decisions. In FY 2006, most of the participating Farmer Organizations (FOs) reported significant increases in productivity and net income as a result of improved water availability.

In FY 2006, a USG-supported economics program was officially approved by the Ministry of Education (MOE) as an elective course, and is currently the only course in market economics available to Turkmenistan's students. More than 100 schools throughout Turkmenistan now offer these courses either as part of their core curriculum or as an extra-curricular activity.

The Union of Accountants of Turkmenistan, a local professional association supported by the USG, was registered by the Ministry of Justice, but it has yet to achieve meaningful progress in advocating for the introduction of international accounting standards. Although private sector interest is growing, the Union's potential for membership growth is restricted by current government regulations that prohibit state employees from joining independent professional associations.

MEASURES OF PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS

In order to determine how U.S. Government assistance affects a country, U.S. embassies set targets for improvement called "performance indicators." Data for these indicators are collected by research institutes, embassies and international organizations. By examining data over time, U.S. policymakers can better understand whether or not assistance programs are having the intended impact.

Please find below two important indicators in the area of Economic Growth. In the charts, the "Baseline" refers to a starting point from which to measure progress or regression over time. The embassy and its partner organizations then agree on a "Target" figure that they hope to achieve as a result of U.S. assistance programs. The "Rank" figure is the resulting measurement. "FY" stands for "fiscal year," the period of the U.S. budget that runs from October 1 - September 30 of the following year. "CY" stands for "calendar year," or January 1 - December 31.

Performance Indicator: Private Sector Share of GDP (In percent). Source: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Transition Report 2005.

 

CY 2002 Baseline

CY 2004 Percentage

CY 2005 Percentage

CY 2006 Target

25%

25%

25%

25%



Impact of U.S. Assistance on the Above Indicator: Approximately 75% of the official economy remains under state-control and there are no indications this approach will change. Natural gas and oil sales remain the largest component GDP and the recent successful price increase for gas sales to Russia presage an increase in the state share of GDP. Past attempts to diversify its economy have revolved around creating state-owned enterprises. Outside the oil and gas sector, foreign investment in Turkmenistan remains limited, and the lack of convertible currency and limited access to credit contributed to the lack of improvement in this sector.

Performance Indicator: Economic Reform Index (EBRD). Scores range from 1 to 4, with 4 being most advanced. Includes components on small-scale and large-scale privatization; trade liberalization; price liberalization; corporate governance; competition policy; banking; and non-banking financial reforms. The data upon which this ranking is based comes from the previous calendar year.

 

CY 2002 Baseline

CY 2004 Rank

CY 2005 Rank

CY 2006 Target

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00



Impact of U.S. Assistance on the Above Indicator: In May 2006, the USG received a request for assistance in reforming its budgetary practices, but by the end of the FY 2006 the scope and timing of any potential assistance remained under discussion. Approximately 75% of the official economy remains under state-control, and the GOTX showed no indications of moving away from such policies. In spite of limited measures that were intended to improve the environment for SME, continued reliance on state-owned enterprises, import substitution, and a lack of convertible currency prevented substantial improvements in this sector.

Investing in People

Although the quality of services provided by Turkmenistan's health sector is inadequate and its institutions are ill prepared to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, Turkmenistan is slowly reforming its practices in these areas in partnership with the USG. According to a joint report U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report entitled, "Main Reasons for Child Morbidity and Mortality in Mary Welayat of Turkmenistan," 37.3% of children die during the first year of life, more than half from preventable illnesses. This indicates that many deaths occur because of medical incompetence and poor healthcare provided to children.

Turkmenistan's education sector is in a downward spiral. In spite of repeated efforts by the USG, the Government of Turkmenistan remains unwilling to even consider meaningful reform of the education sector. Teachers are isolated from pedagogical innovations and opportunities for professional development are lacking. The national curriculum revolves around the former president's spiritual guide, the Ruhnama (Book of the Soul), to the increasing exclusion of traditional academic subjects. Students already are less competitive with their Central Asian neighbors for international scholarships.

U.S. ASSISTANCE PRIORITIES

USG social sector programs focus on pressing the Government of Turkmenistan (GOTX) to accept recommendations for health care reform including suggestions for the delivery of quality primary health care, promotion of healthy lifestyles, fighting infectious diseases, and improving the lives of mothers and children. Through close coordination with the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry (MOHMI), the USG works to engage the GOTX in critical reform areas not currently addressed by social policy. The USG seeks to bring the GOTX into closer alignment with international standards of healthcare practice and to promote open and transparent methods for surveillance and prevention of diseases and illnesses.

In the education sector, the USG program works with interested schools, teachers and local education officials to improve the quality of education. Activities include teacher training in interactive teaching and learning methods, and training for communities to help them mobilize support for their schools. At the same time, efforts continue to involve GOTX in this work ensure project sustainability.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES

The USG's program to improve the health of Turkmenistan's citizens focused on strengthening health systems and improving the quality of health services. Particular attention was paid to maternal and child health (MCH), and work on infectious disease, including tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS. USG assistance in the health sector included support for health system reform to increase quality, equity, and efficiency of the health system, with a focus on primary health care (PHC) and family medicine. The USG also worked to improve tuberculosis laboratory diagnosis and electronic surveillance case management (ESCM). The USG provided limited support to the GOTX on the veterinary aspects of controlling Avian Influenza. Maternal, child, and reproductive health programs focused on advocating the application of the International Live Birth Definition (ILBD) to allow accurate assessment and reduction of infant mortality. Another USG program strengthened maternal, child and reproductive health services by training care providers. This training was linked to community outreach, capacity-building and limited policy reform.

The USG provided teacher training and programs to increase community involvement in decision making. When possible, the USG also provided limited assistance to participating schools in strengthening their linkages with the community through joint projects and by engaging community members and parents in the academic process.

Sixty seven Peace Corps' Volunteers (PCV) worked to improve education and health in Turkmenistan. PCVs assisted health care professional and local citizens by disseminating information about various communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis. PCV's helped educate pregnant women about issues relevant to their health. PCV's not only share skills and information, but also provide a valuable link between the people of the U.S. and Turkmenistan.

OUTPUTS

In the health sector, in FY 2006, the USG provided technical assistance that supported the opening of two new DOTS sites in Balkan Welayat, and trained 13 master trainers (including three lab specialists) and 15 DOTS trainers. In response to a GOTX request, the USG supported national expansion of DOTS (spell out) by adding new pilot sites. The USG also provided an annual stock of reagents and supplies for TB smear microscopy diagnosis for laboratories in the five DOTS pilot sites, and USG partners assisted the National TB Prevention Center to obtain needed supplies, microscopes, and reagents through the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Turkmenistan. Also, the first activity under the USG's new HIV/AIDS program in Turkmenistan trained 20 laboratory specialists and clinicians on management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), with a focus on new and effective laboratory diagnostic and treatment methods.

With USG support, a second Family Medicine Training Center (FMTC) opened in Ashgabat to train clinicians from throughout the country. The USG co-developed a comprehensive skills-based training program in women's health, which was integrated into the curriculum at both FMTCs. One hundred eleven physicians and nurses were trained at FMTC #2, and 120 were trained at FMTC #1, which opened previously with USG support. The USG produced a new hematology training module on clinical diagnosis, treatment, and laboratory tests, which was included in the MOHMI's one-month post-graduate training for laboratory workers. Fifteen trainers, 100 laboratory workers, and 100 PHC physicians were trained.

The USG helped develop criteria for national implementation, registration reports and forms for the ILBD. The USG conducted sessions for 124 obstetricians/gynecologists, neonatologists, statisticians and pathologists, eight of whom became national trainers. And finally, the USG continued rolling out Physician Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) in five new entraps during FY 2006. One hundred and sixty additional family physicians will be trained by the end of 2006, bringing the total number trained on this cost-effective, life-saving strategy to 846. In addition, the Health Information Systems database was implemented at the National Maternal and Child Health Institute.

In the education sector, the USG built strong partnerships with schoolteachers and local education authorities in four welayats. As a result, teacher training targets were exceeded; 425 teachers were trained in four welayats against the target of 125. Twenty-one of these teachers also received additional training in instructional design, which will help them conduct future training sessions in their schools.

In addition to teacher training activities, the USG supported a Summer School for Young Leaders for 42 children and 20 teachers from four pilot areas. During training and debate sessions, participants discussed strategies for addressing school deficiencies, ideas on how to create a collaborative school atmosphere, insights on strengthening leadership skills, and in particular, plans to create school clubs highlighting a child's rights to quality education. PCVs assisted in youth summer camps focused on topics such as sports, art, language, teacher training, and leadership. PCV's worked with local colleagues to recruit participants, plan activities and actually run the camps.

PROGRAM PERFORMANCE/IMPACT

The USG worked with the GOTX to gain acceptance and support for National STIs/HIV/AIDS Prevention Program for 2006-2011. The USG also actively supported efforts to combine the efforts of other international donors to advance implementation of the program plan. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing the USG's activities in this sphere is in the final stages of negotiations.

The USG advocacy contributed to the GOTX's decision to submit its first-ever application to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria (GFATM). Although the application was ultimately not approved, the fact that the GOTX applied at all was a step in the right direction. The USG is prepared to assist in the preparation of future applications.

The USG provided support to establish and implement a Tuberculosis High Level Working Group in Turkmenistan, which assisted the GOTX in the development of a National TB Program. The USG assisted the National TB Prevention Center to develop its successful application to the Global Drug Facility to supply TB drugs for the USG DOTS pilot sites.

In order to improve financial analysis in hospitals, the USG adapted for Turkmenistan its automated hospital information system, which was fully implemented in three pilot hospitals. The resulting data will guide revisions to fees for service, and help to improve the financial viability of the healthcare system. At MOHMI's request, the USG also established a national health statistics database to improve collection and management of national health data.

USG efforts to institute modern training methods were also successful. Health management workshops were conducted for faculty of the Health Management Training Center (HMTC) at Turkmen State Medical Institute. This training allowed HMTC to update postgraduate courses in primary healthcare and financial management, and introduced a 76-hour curriculum for senior administrators. IMCI child health strategies were included in the undergraduate medical education curriculum.

MEASURES OF PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS

In order to determine how U.S. Government assistance affects a country, U.S. embassies set targets for improvement called "performance indicators." Data for these indicators are collected by research institutes, embassies and international organizations. By examining data over time, U.S. policymakers better understand whether specific assistance programs are making their intended impact and, if necessary, how to adjust these programs to improve the impact.

Please find below two important indicators in the area of Investing in People. In the charts, the "Baseline" refers to a starting point from which to measure progress or regression over time. The embassy and its partner organizations then agree on a "Target" figure that they hope to achieve as a result of U.S. assistance programs. The "Rank" figure is the resulting measurement. "FY" stands for "fiscal year," the period of the U.S. budget that runs from October 1 - September 30 of the following year. "CY" stands for "calendar year," or January 1 - December 31.

Performance Indicator: Infant Mortality. Number of deaths of children under one year of age per 1,000 live births. Source: United Nations Statistics Division Millennium Development Indicators. Found on line: www.millenniumindicators.un.org/unsd.

CY 1995 Baseline

CY 2000 Rank

CY 2003 Rank

CY 2004 Rank

72

77

79

79



Impact of U.S. Assistance on the Above Indicator: Turkmenistan currently has the second highest infant mortality rate in Central Asia, reported by UNICEF at 79 per 1,000 live births in 2003. In response to technical assistance and policy support from the USG, the Ministry of Health agreed to implement the internationally-accepted World Health Organization (WHO) international live birth definition (ILBD) in 2006. This is a critical first step in improving the chances for infants' survival. The USG and UNICEF will continue to support the MOH following the recent adoption of ILBD and provide additional training courses.

Performance Indicator: Tuberculosis Incidence per 100,000 - Number of newly diagnosed tuberculosis cases, all forms during the given calendar year. Source: World Health Organization, European Health For All Database, found online at: http://data.euro.who.int/hfadb/.

CY 2002 Baseline

CY 2003 Number

CY 2004 Number

CY 2005 Target

74.46

77.48

67.9

70



Impact of U.S. Assistance on the Above Indicator: Regression of this indicator indicates a reduction in tuberculosis (TB) incidence. Nonetheless, the figures are suspect, particularly given epidemic TB incidence rates (surpassing 100) in neighboring countries, and higher rates in DOTS pilot sites. The USG supports GOTX's national TB control program to implement the DOTS strategy in the civilian sector (prisons are inaccessible and represent a pool of TB). The USG builds political support for TB control, improves human and system capacity, and enhances program management, supervision, and surveillance. As GOTX becomes more willing to establish and release valid data, increased and more realistic incidence rates can be anticipated.

Peace and Security

Turkmenistan remained committed to a "positive neutrality" foreign policy, which excludes bilateral, regional or international alliances. As a result, GOTX seeks only to engage bilaterally on issues that are divorced from internal political considerations. The GOTX supports efforts to prohibit the flow of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and increasingly cooperates in the fight against narcotics trafficking. The GOTX has ratified international protocols that support peace and security, but has not passed supporting legislation. The Ministry of Internal Affairs maintains a security force capable of enforcing national laws, but is rife with corruption. The Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the State Border Service (SBS) participate in a small, but slowly growing bilateral military relationship in which the United States continues to engage in areas that advance our interests and share U.S. values with future generations.. The SBS is a relatively professional force that guards Turkmenistan's borders and controls the territory and all movement within 40 kilometers of the border. The GOTX is not ready to carry out basic reforms in this sector, and the security apparatus remains focused on maintaining internal control.

U.S. ASSISTANCE PRIORITIES

In FY 2006, key areas for USG assistance were the provision of equipment and training for the detection of WMD and component materials at ports of entry, training and equipping law enforcement agencies to combat drug trafficking using international drug identification methodologies, enhancing law enforcement agency abilities to transparently prosecute narcotics-related crimes, and improve physical border security and provide follow-on training. The USG also aims to improve Turkmenistan's emergency response capability and U.S./regional interoperability through the provision of communications and medical equipment to the Turkmenistan military.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES

In FY 2006, USG peace and security-related assistance in Turkmenistan was geared toward preventing trafficking in narcotics and the proliferation of WMD. Programs provided training and equipment, such as tools, search equipment, and vehicles. The USG provided equipment and training to increase forensic capabilities, improve border checkpoints, and to help combat trafficking in persons. The USG also provided Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funding aimed at improving Turkmenistan's emergency response capability and U.S./regional interoperability through the purchase of communications and medical equipment. In addition, the USG sent members of Turkmenistan's military to the U.S. for training under the International Military Education Training (IMET) Program. Over the past year, there was a steady increase in cooperation between the Government of Turkmenistan and bilateral and international partners working in this sector.

OUTPUTS

Despite profound differences with the GOTX, the USG has been able to maintain and expand certain regional security assistance programs that are important to a number of U.S. strategic priorities. In FY 2006 under the IMET Program, three students completed U.S.-based training that included courses entitled: Basic English, English Language Instructor, Air Force Squadron Officer Course, and Foreign Purchaser courses. Six students began the training but three students were returned to Turkmenistan after failing to pass the Basic English course. One student continued his training at the Army Command and Staff College. A U.S. Coast Guard Mobile Training Team traveled to the Caspian Sea port city of Turkmenbashy and taught the Advanced Boarding Officer course to 16 SBS Maritime Division officers. During FY 2006, FMF delivered tactical radios to increase connectivity among MOD units and an advanced Human Patient Simulator to improve military medical training. The Government of Turkmenistan plans to use the FMF funds received in FY 2006 in combination with prior year funds to purchase Motorola radios for a nationwide emergency response communication system.

In addition to these regular programs, work progressed on a Border Security Initiative supported by FY 2005 Department of Defense counter-narcotics funding and the Nevada National Guard to build two border facilities for the Government of Turkmenistan on the borders with Afghanistan and Iran. By the end of FY2006, the facility on the Iranian border was completed, while construction of the facility on the border with Afghanistan had begun with an expected completion date of mid-FY2007. During the year, the government signed an amendment to its original agreement on law enforcement and counter-narcotics programs with the U.S. Department of State that expands cooperation between the governments. The GOTX also codified continued cooperation with the USG in counter-narcotics programs by including this bilateral program as a line item in the 2006-2010 national drug program plan.

In addition, two government forensic laboratory experts attended an international forensic conference in the United States, and 10 government officials from five law enforcement agencies participated in a "Rule of Law" study tour in the United States. The U.S. Attorney who hosted the program described it as the most engaged and enthusiastic group she had hosted. Through the border crossing checkpoint project, the USG expanded its contact network in several law enforcement agencies and interacted at the working level with regional law enforcement officers on a regular basis.

PROGRAM PERFORMANCE/IMPACT

The GOTX agreed to co-host a "Rule of Law" conference for local law enforcement officials as the supplemental component of the U.S. study tour. This conference will include the participation of a minimum of five law enforcement agencies, and demonstrates both a passive willingness for the GOTX to engage the international community in this area and an admission that reform is needed. Embassy officers attended the opening of a new border crossing checkpoint in early November 2006 that was fully funded by the USG. The building and the requisite training components created an avenue of opportunity to further engage law enforcement agencies at the working, not just diplomatic, level, and new information was garnered in regard to regional law enforcement practices and dysfunctions. The GOTX agreed to expand cooperation with the USG in criminal justice sector reform and counter-narcotics work, going so far as to include it in the national strategic drug plan.

The Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program continued its productive relationship with GOTX and continued regular visits to Turkmenistan's borders and commercial border-crossing sites. During FY 2006 the EXBS program donated additional jeeps and radio equipment to assist the SBS in protecting its borders. Members of the SBS and State Customs Service attended Seaport Interdiction Training in Charleston, S.C., and a Coast Guard team presented a Boarding Officer Course to members of the SBS's Maritime Brigade. Three additional training courses were not held due to conflicts in scheduling. In FY 2007 GOTX officials plan to attend the Airport Interdiction Training at JFK Airport in New York, an International Border and Rail Interdiction Training in Texas and a Commodity Identification Training Seminar in Ashgabat. Additional planned equipment donations include mobile maintenance trucks, radioactive isotope identification detectors and an upgrade of the radiation portal monitors presently in place in Turkmenistan.

Through the IMET Program's English Language Instructor courses at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Texas, Turkmenistan's military has continued to improve its internal English language training capability. At the end of FY 2006 the MOD discussed with U.S. Defense Attach� Office representatives the possibility of using USG funding to support a DLI instructor at the Turkmenistan Military Institute. This new development is indicative of continued efforts to increase officer corps English language capability, a fundamental element for understanding the U.S. military and for interoperability with U.S. forces.

MEASURES OF PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS

In order to determine how U.S. Government assistance affects a country, U.S. embassies set targets for improvement called "performance indicators." Data for these indicators are collected by research institutes, embassies and international organizations. By examining data over time, U.S. policymakers can better understand whether or not assistance programs are having the intended impact.

Please find below an important indicator in the area of Peace and Security. In the chart, the "Baseline" refers to a starting point from which to measure progress or regression over time. The Embassy and its partner organizations then agree on a "Target" figure that they hope to achieve as a result of U.S. assistance programs. The "Rank" figure is the resulting measurement. "FY" stands for "fiscal year," the period of the U.S. budget that runs from October 1 - September 30 of the following year. "CY" stands for "calendar year," covering events from January 1 - December 31 of the subject year or last calendar year.

Rule of Law - Constitutional, Legislative, and Judicial Framework Rating, drawing from Freedom House, Nations in Transit 2006 as modified by "Monitoring Country Progress (MCP) in Eastern Europe and Eurasia" USAID/E&E/PO, #10 August 2006. (1 = lowest, 5 = highest; data based on previous calendar year). The Rule of Law rating highlights constitutional reform, human rights protections, criminal code reform, judicial independence, the status of ethnic minority rights, guarantees of equality before the law, treatment of suspects and prisoners, and compliance with judicial decisions. The data upon which this ranking is based comes from the previous calendar year. Found online at: http://www.usaid.gov/locations/europe_eurasia/country_progress/index.html.

CY 1999 Baseline

CY 2005 Rank

CY 2006 Rank

CY 2007 Target

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0



Impact of U.S. Assistance on the Above Indicator: There has not been any legislative progress to improve rule of law during the past year. The expected new Criminal Procedure Code draft has yet to be approved. The constitution provides protections for all of the human rights issues of concern, but the de facto situation is an environment controlled by corrupt law enforcement and security officials and a pervasive fear of change. The EXBS program, the criminal justice sector reform program, and the on-going counter-narcotics programs from INL and DOD are confidence building measures that will continue to make differences at the working level through heightened engagement.

Corruption Index from Freedom House Nations in Transit 2006. Measures how experts view the state of corruption in a country. The score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and country analysts and ranges between 1 (highly clean) and 7 (highly corrupt). The data upon which this ranking is based comes from the previous calendar year. Found online at: http://www.freedomhouse.org/research/nattransit.htm.

 

CY 2002 Baseline

CY 2005 Rank

CY 2006 Rank

CY 2007 Target

6.25

6.50

6.75

6.50


Impact of U.S. Assistance on the Above Indicator: The ranking is appropriate. Corruption pervades all facets of life in Turkmenistan. U.S. programs make small dents and lay the groundwork for future opportunities for rule of law, but expectations in this regard remain low. The president regularly chastises high-level government officials for bribery, embezzlement, nepotism and other illegal activities, but for political purposes. The study tour mentioned above shows a willingness on the part of law enforcement officials to recognize the inherent problems and inefficiencies born of a corrupt system, but fixing it will ultimately take local initiative.

FY 2006 Funds Budgeted for U.S. Government Assistance to Turkmenistan [PDF format]



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