Socio-ecological Union
                                       Dashkhovuz Ecological Guardians

Dashkhovuz Ecological   Guardians   (DEG)   is   a    non-governmental
non-commercial  organization  founded  in  1992.  The  Guardians bring
together  environmentally  concerned  activists  from  a   number   of
professions,   including   ecology,  medicine,  journalism,  teaching,
agriculture, and hydrology. What these people share is a commitment to
the  environment  and a readiness to dedicate their time and abilities
to efforts to protect human health and the environment.

DEG's work is based on the principles  of  individual  initiative  and
mutual assistance. We have no administrative staff or membership dues.
All important issues are decided at meetings of members and  by  three
elected  co-chairs who have equal rights to represent DEG in relations
with other organizations and citizens. DEG members freely choose their
areas  of work and their level of involvement,  being accountable only
for their voluntarily assumed responsibilities.  They also assist each
other to the extent that they are able.  DEG members are also invested
by government  decision  with  public  environmental  law  enforcement
rights.  On  1  May 1998,  there were 20 official members of DEG.  The
Guardians are officially registered (incorporated) by the state  as  a
social  organization,  and  DEG  enjoys the rights and privileges of a
legal person under Turkmenistan law.

The fundamental  activities  of  the   Guardians   are   environmental
education,   environmental   monitoring,   defense   of  biodiversity,
environmental law (education,  drafting,  and  enforcement),  fighting
wastes and chemical pollution, and supporting environmentally friendly
businesses and organic farming.

In the unique conditions of Turkmenistan,  where civic society  is  in
its early stages of development,  the Guardians also feel compelled to
involve  themselves  in  efforts  to  develop  the  Third  Sector  and
encourage civic initiatives.  With support from National Endowment for
Democracy and Open Society Institute,  the Guardians opened  a  Public
Information  Center  in  the city of Dashkhovuz (capital of Dashkhovuz
Region) and a network of public libraries providing  free  access  for
all  citizens  suffering  from  the  current  informational  vacuum in
Turkmenistan to copies of  progressive  publications  and  periodicals
(from throughout the former Soviet Union and other parts of the world)
as well as to collections of reference works and  lists  of  important
contact  people  and  organizations.  Moreover,  the Guardians' office
provides visitors with a  forum  for  informal  socializing  and  free

DEG has  also  facilitated the creation of environmental organizations
in other cities of Turkmenistan,  including Catena Ecological Club  in
Ashgabad,  Flamingo  Ecological  Club  in  Krasnovodsk (Turkmenbashi),
Amudarya  Ecological  Group  in  Seidi,  and  the  Protei  and  Rodonit
ecological clubs in Ekaterinburg,  Russia.  In 1995, DEG organized and
hosted the Cheetah 95 Central Asian Biodiversity Conference,  at which
the  International  Central Asian Biodiversity Institute (BIOSTAN) was
created,  the first nongovernmental Central Asia wide  ecological  and
environmental advocacy professional association.

DEG also devotes its efforts to publication.  The Vitamin Y journal of
democracy,  reform,  and law is in its third year of  publication.  We
have   also   published  two  editions  of  our  volume  of  collected
Turkmenistan environmental and health  legislation.  In  addition,  we
have  published  the  Turkmenistan Constitution,  our translation into
local languages of the UN Universal Declaration of Human  Rights,  and
other  legal materials.  One of our more successful publications is an
ecology textbook authored by experienced DEG teachers  and  scientists
for Turkmenistan schoolteachers.  In addition to our print facilities,
we are now in the process of adding an independent telestudio and film
library.  We  have  already  created  a  number  of  our own videos on
documentary themes and are working on additional titles to be shown on
national television.

The Guardians have also formed and oversee a youth environmental club,
the  Young   Cheetahs.   Currently,   the   Young   Cheetahs   embrace
approximately  100  schoolchildren from several schools in the city of
Dashkhovuz.  Based in School 3,  the Young Cheetahs not only seriously
study ecological sciences;  they also participate in direct actions to
protect the environment,  particularly to save wild animals, green the
city, re-use discarded products, and protect the atmosphere. They also
publish the Green Shoot journal, which is read with great interest not
only by children and adults in Dashkhovuz, but also in other cities of
Turkmenistan and the former Soviet Union.

The charitable activities of  DEG  are  also  directed  at  supporting
interest  in  environmental  literacy  and environmental advocacy.  We
sponsor competitions and award prizes in schools, conduct field trips,
distribute  seeds  and  seedlings  of endangered plants,  and organize
exhibitions, fairs, and film screenings.

The Guardians also have wide contacts  with  other  organizations  and
activists   throughout   the   world.  DEG  is  an  affiliate  of  the
international Socio-Ecological Union (the largest environmental NGO in
the   former   Soviet  Union)  and  of  Law  and  Environment  Eurasia
Partnership  (which  provides  support  to  Central  Asian  NGOs).  In
Dashkhovuz,  DEG  works  closely with Peace Corps volunteers and other
reform minded groups.

The successes of the Guardians would have been impossible  to  achieve
without public support, key support from certain governmental agencies
and local private businesses,  and support from Western donors such as
ISAR,  Sacred Earth Network (SEN), American Legal Consortium, National
Endowment  for  Democracy,  John  D.  and   Catherine   T.   MacArthur
Foundation, Open Society Institute, and NOVIB.

Contact Information for Dashkhovuz Ecological Guardians:
Evgenia Zatoka (DEG Co-Chair)
Andrei Zatoka (Socio-Ecological  Union  Council  members,   Law   and
Environment Eurasia Partnership Advisor, and SEN Advisor);
Microregion Centre-1,  dom 8  kv.  23;  Dashkhovuz,  Turkmenistan  746301.
Phone/Fax: 56683; (international phone code 993322 or 736022); 

Farid Tukhbatullin (DEG Co-Chair);
Microregion Centre-1,  dom 19  kv.  60;  Dashkhovuz,  Turkmenistan  746301.
Phone: 51460;    email:

Elena Myatieva (DEG Co-Chair)
Microregion Centre-2,  dom 6  kv.  24;  Dashkhovuz,  Turkmenistan  746301.
Phone: 57788;    email:


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