UNDP Turkey: This is the New Horizons Podcast of United Nations Development Programme in Turkey. In this part, we will talk about the strategic partnership between Turkey and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), move of UNDP’s Regional Centre for Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to İstanbul and National Human Development Report which is planned to be prepared. Our contributor is Kamal Malhotra, UNDP Resident Representative in Turkey. At the end of September, at a separate event during the UN General Assembly High Level segment, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoğlu signed a Memorandum of Understanding on UNDP’s Regional Service Centre for Europe and CIS in İstanbul. Kamal Malhotra explains the reasons for the planned relocation of UNDP’s Regional Centre to İstanbul and its importance for UNDP:
Kamal Malhotra: Well, you know, there are two main reasons. One is of course that Istanbul has a strategic location. And you know this is the Regional Centre for Europe and Central Asia countries. And we have a lot of work with the Central Asian countries. Istanbul is an obvious place much closer to these countries. The other reason is that one of the imperatives of UN reform is that more and more agencies should co-locate in the same location. And there are some other UN agencies also looking at co-locating or locating in Istanbul. The UN Population Fund’s regional office is already in Istanbul. UN Women are looking at setting up a regional office in Istanbul. UNDP has now made this decision. So a number of UN agencies will be co-located. And that allows for much more efficiency, much more synergy in terms of our collective work. And that is something that we have been mandated to do through the UN reform process of the member states.
UNDP Turkey: The opening of the Regional Centre will take part in stages starting in January/February 2014. Kamal Malhotra explains the current situation on the relocation process:
Kamal Malhotra: Well, we are hoping to be fully functional there by July of 2014.
UNDP Türkiye: You can share your opinions about this episode via Twitter with #YeniUfuklar hashtag. UNDP’s Regional Service Centre of Europe and CIS provides technical and policy advice to governments and development partners across the region, working with national and international partners, and connecting people to knowledge. Kamal Malhotra evaluates the benefits of Regional Center’s relocation to İstanbul for UNDP’s work in Turkey:
Kamal Malhotra: Well it should help our activities in Turkey, because it means that our Regional Centre will be much closer to our national office. Of course, our national office will remain in Ankara. But now the Regional Centre will move much closer to Ankara. So, theoretically we should have much better support, much greater support from the Regional Office. But it is primarily a Regional Office, so it is not focused on Turkey alone. Turkey is one of the countries in the region.
UNDP Türkiye: UNDP publishes global and national human development reports on a regular basis. The last global human development report was announced in March 2013. In Turkey, last national human development report was published with the title of “Youth in Turkey” in 2008. Currently, UNDP in Turkey is planning to prepare a new national human development report with the Government of Turkey. Kamal Malhotra explains the subject and process for new national human development report.
Kamal Malhotra: We have been in discussion with the Government about doing a National Human Development Report on inclusive growth. Turkey’s story over the last decade or so, does appear to have some interesting lessons on inclusive growth. And so we want to explore it, we want to see what are the policy lessons, and we will, we are in the process of discussing a concept note on this. So, hopefully, we will be able to agree on this with the Government quite soon. And then, this will be an independent report, I want to stress. All of the UNDP’s human development reports, whether they are national or global, are independent. They are independent of the government, and they are also independent of UNDP. So we will put together a team of independent experts or academics and others who will be the ones to do the report. With UNDP’s support and UNDP’s financing. So, obviously we will set up mechanisms like advisory committee and consult with the Government. But the report and its recommendations will be independent.
UNDP Türkiye: Kamal Malhotra, UNDP Resident Representative in Turkey, evaluates Turkey’s situation on inclusive development:
Kamal Malhotra: Well, I have only been here for seven months. So I have a lot to learn about Turkey’s record. But what I am hearing is that Turkey’s growth story in the last ten years has a number of inclusive elements to it, particularly in health access. Access to public health has been much more inclusive over the last ten years because certain population groups which previously have been excluded, have now been included in the development process. But in the end, the whole purpose of the report is to verify through the data whether in fact that is the case. But certainly, what I am hearing is that the last ten years or eleven years have been positive from the perspective of inclusive development. We will have to test that hypothesis through the report.
UNDP Türkiye: The strategic partnership agreement which was signed in March 2011 between Turkey and UNDP focuses on Turkey’s role as a global development partner and it was a landmark achievement signalling the new stage of Turkey’s relationship with the largest development organization of the United Nations system. Kamal Malhotra talks about the important elements of partnership agreement:
Kamal Malhotra: Well, UNDP has a new partnership agreement with Turkey. It is from 2011 and we have annual meetings to review the partnership. There are different elements of the partnership. One of them was the establishment and support of the UNDP International Center for Private Sector in Development in İstanbul. That is up and running. The whole issue of working to support Turkey’s own development cooperation program through TIKA is another part of the partnership agreement. These are examples of what is part of the Partnership Agreement. And I think that they are all fairly important issues. So far the relationship with the Government of Turkey is, I think, going quite well.
UNDP Turkey: We come to the end of this episode with the interview done with Kamal Malhotra, UNDP Resident Representative in Turkey, in November. In this part, we talked about the strategic partnership between Turkey and UNDP, move of UNDP’s Regional Centre for Europe and CIS to İstanbul and National Human Development Report which is planned to be prepared. You can send your questions and share your opinions about this episode on Twitter with #YeniUfuklar hashtag. This program has been recorded at the studio of Radio İlef of Ankara University Communications Department. You can follow our program on iTunes and Soundcloud under podcasts, on FM frequency in İstanbul, on Açık Radyo (Open Radio) on internet, on nearly fifty Police radios, on MYCY radio from Cyprus and also on university radios in our broadcasting network and on tr.undp.org. Our user name for social media is undpturkiye. Hope to see you soon, good bye!