It is a pleasure to convey my warm greetings as you mark the fifth anniversary of the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia. I am grateful to Turkmenistan and to President Berdimuhamedov for hosting today’s meeting and for providing such strong support for the Centre.
I also take this opportunity to congratulate the people and Government of Turkmenistan on the occasion of their Day of Neutrality. Through its policy of “open doors” and its support for “positive neutrality,” Turkmenistan has contributed to stability in Central Asia.
The focus of the Regional Centre -- prevention -- is one of the priorities of my five-year action agenda. Early warning and early action can advance security and stability, save lives and promote sustainable development. Prevention is one of the best investments we can make.
Regional cooperation is critical. The challenges of climate change, drug-trafficking, terrorism and extremism cannot be tackled by any one country alone. Joint action will also help countries of the region better manage natural resources, expand trade and improve transport.
UNRCCA was established to support the governments and people of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in their joint efforts to reach these goals. I have been closely following developments in the region and fondly remember visiting all five Central Asian countries, including the Regional Centre, in April 2010.
The United Nations has established regional offices with political mandates in West and Central Africa as well as in Central Asia. These three offices continue to prove the importance of strong partnerships, not just among countries of a region but also with and among regional organizations.
I encourage the countries of Central Asia to continue to deepen your cooperation to address the region’s challenges and to seize the many opportunities for shared progress.
I look forward to our continued excellent cooperation. The UN Regional Centre and the entire United Nations team remain committed to supporting your joint efforts to advance the values of the United Nations through the power of partnership and prevention.
Please accept my best wishes for a successful conference.