Support to the Improvement of Mechanisms for Governance of Regional Development in Turkey

What is the project about?

Photo: Murat Özcan, Photo Contest on MDGs

The Program at hand aims to contribute to the establishment of a governance model for regional development at the regional level through a holistic and sustainable approach, including i) conduct of gap analysis on  governance of regional development for selected DAs; ii) development of Guideline for Participation; iii) design and conduct of training seminars on methods of partnership/participation; iv) development of a framework for  action for the scale up of the participatory processes at regional level.  The Project will therefore follow a phased approach and is expected to develop the framework for effective stakeholder engagement to planning and decision making process for selected DAs.

What is the situation?

With reference to the changing dynamics of globalization, which have profound effects on the objectives, mechanisms and implications of development policies, the concept of human development was promoted by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a result of growing criticism to the leading development approach of the 1980s, which presumed a close link between national economic growth and the expansion of individual human choices. Some of the issues and themes currently considered most central to human development include: social progress, economics, efficiency, equity, participation and freedom, sustainability and human security.

Among the above referred themes of human development, participation and participatory governance have gained enormous popularity in recent times, both in academic discourse and actual practice. More generally, the recent emphasis on good governance as the foundation for sustained and equitable development has generated widespread interest in participation in the development circle, as effective participation by all stakeholders, especially at local and regional levels of government, has come to be viewed as a necessary condition for promoting good governance. In that respect, the regional development agencies are considered to be the units to review local and regional dynamics and capacity. They also ensure the participation of regional actors to decision making process and contribute to bottom-up development policies.

With reference to the changing dynamics of globalization and new development discourse, Turkey has been faced with new challenges and opportunities in the field of regional development. Regional development policies are being reshaped by globalization, technological improvements and new production processes. With Turkey’s increasing interaction with global economies and the European Union, this evolution became more apparent and gained momentum so the regions have started to be redefined as new actors/engines of development. Within this framework, responding to the needs and challenges in the development discourse of Turkey, many regulations have been enacted to empower local stakeholders and increase coordination among public sector, private sector and CSOs for regional development. “The Law on The Establishment and Duties of Development Agencies” enacted in 2006 was one of the main pillars of the new system aiming to bring solutions to problems of lack of regional organization and budget and limited coordination as well. According to this law, 26 Development Agencies (DAs) were established at NUTS II Regions.

The purpose of the establishment of the Development Agencies in Turkey is stated in Article 1 of the Law No: 5549 as accelerating regional development, ensuring sustainability and reducing inter-regional and intra-regional development disparities in accordance with the principles and policies set in the National Development Plan and Programmes through enhancing the cooperation among public sector, private sector and non-governmental organizations, ensuring the efficient and appropriate utilization of resources and stimulating local potential. DAs will support the preparation of regional plan and strategies compatible with national plan and strategies, through a participatory approach. In this context, the organizational structure of the DAs is designed as participatory and inclusive as possible.

What is UNDP’s mission?

In terms of developing regional participatory governance structures, Development Agencies are considered to be great potential in reviewing regional dynamics and capacity. They are also expected to ensure the participation of regional actors to decision making process and contribute to bottom-up development policies. In that respect, it is crucial that DAs sustain coordination at the regional level, to generate communal rationale/common wisdom and to develop the capacity to act cooperatively. In that respect, the achievement of this goal requires flexible structures and setting up an implementation-evaluation feedback mechanism at the outset. In this scope, the main task of the DAs is to develop regional plans in cooperation with the main stakeholders including municipalities, chambers, CSOs as well as the other public institutions in the region.

Within this perspective, UNDP’s special niche in the field of regional governance is to provide technical assistance on institutional capacity-building based on its global experience and technical expertise in providing country experiences in regional governance model, as well as capacity to embed human rights-based approaches to all fields of service delivery and acts of duty bearers. In that respect, the Project is expected to adopt a holistic and sustainable approach for the establishment of a governance model for regional development both at the central and regional level. To this end, the general framework for consultation and participation to planning and decision making process will be developed for selected Development Agencies and thereby coordination among the DAs, SPO and other institutions working in that field will be enhanced.

How are we doing this?

The Project will follow a phased approach, focusing on improving the decision making processes and participatory governance mechanisms at DAs. Therefore, the Project will also address certain strategies on how to scale-up the governance structures at the regional level and achieve the following activities with the aim of improving participatory governance mechanisms at the regional level: i) conducting Gap Analysis for selected DAs on the adoption of governance approach to regional development, ii) developing guidelines covering a set of coherent principles and standards on participation/partnership for the Development Agencies, iii) developing tailor-made training modules on participation and stakeholder engagement in regional development, iv) conducting tailor-made training seminars on participation and stakeholder engagement in regional development with the participation of the staff of DAs and State Planning Organization, v) developing the framework of action for the scale-up of governance processes in regional development.

How will Turkey benefit?

The principles of democratic governance, particularly participation, inclusiveness, transparency and accountability are at the core of the regional plan development process. To this end, effective participation of all relevant stakeholders including but not limited to women, youth, private sector, civil society and public institutions’ representatives, farmers, traders, etc. is crucial and serves the mandate of the establishment of the DAs. In that respect, ‘effective’ participation is considered as one in which all the relevant stakeholders take part in decision-making processes and are also able to influence the decisions in the sense that at the end of the decision-making process all parties feel that their views and interests have been given due consideration.

With this perspective, through the Project the gaps of the selected DAs in engaging with the relevant stakeholders for the improvement of the decision making processes and governance mechanisms will be addressed. With the aim of ensuring engagement /participation of regional actors to the regional development studies and fruitful cooperation with DAs, a “Guideline for Participation” will be prepared and is expected to serve for the use of Development Council. Furthermore, a series of training seminars on participation and stakeholder engagement in regional development will be conducted for the staff of the DAs and State Planning Organization. In total, 150 experts from DAs and State Planning Organization are expected to benefit from the basic training seminars, which will be carried out throughout the project. In addition, among the participants of the basic trainings 75 selected staff of DAs and SPOs will benefit from the advanced trainings. In line with results of the gap analysis, capacity enhancement programs and the principles and guidelines developed on stakeholder engagement and participation in regional development, a framework of action for the improvement of governance processes in regional development will be developed and is expected to serve for the use of Development Council.

What has been achieved so far?

  • In the scope of the project UNDP together with the Ministry of Development has organised Basic and Advanced Trainings on Stakeholder Engagement for the personnel and senior officials of Development Agencies and the Ministry of Development.
  • A guideline for Stakeholder Engagement for Regional Development was developed for the use of Development Agencies and Ministry of Development. The guideline is instrumental for facilitating participatory stakeholder engagement process at regional level.


Project Overview
Focus area:
Democratic Governance
Project number:
Project start date:
Estimated end date:
USD 240.300
Project funding:
Government Cost Sharing and UNDP TRAC
Delivery in previous fiscal years:
Amount contributed per year by each project funder:
UN/National executing agencies:
Ministry of Development, Development Agencies, State Planning Organisation
UN/National/NGO implementing partners:
UNDP Turkey
MDG 8:
Develop a global partnership for development
Contact Details

Leyla Şen, PhD
Programme Manager
Tel: +90 312 454 11 19
Seher Alacacı
Programme Associate
Tel: +90 312 454 11 67
Pınar Arıkan
Projects Assistant
Tel: +90 312 454 11 84

Project Documents