UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner visited Turkey on 27-28 May to inaugurate an annual global development forum organized in Istanbul. During his visit, he met with high-level government officials and business leaders to discuss the partnership of UNDP and the Government of Turkey.
Making a statement on his visit, Achim Steiner said, “Turkey and UNDP have been partners for over 50 years and more recently Turkey has been a beacon of hope for more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees. I appreciated the frank exchanges on the future direction of UNDP’s work in Turkey and I look forward to our continued partnership.”
In his official visit to Istanbul and Ankara, Mr. Steiner, accompanied by UNDP Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, met with Vice President of Turkey H.E. Fuat Oktay and Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to discuss Turkey’s continued support for UNDP’s work in Turkey, the region, and globally. The meetings served to assess the rapid progress of the collaboration since 2011 when Turkey and UNDP signed a landmark partnership agreement and discuss Turkish Government’s contributions to UNDP’s national, regional and global budgets.
They also discussed the continued need for supporting Turkey in its work hosting refugees from Syria. “Turkey provides both immediate life support for Syrians and an opportunity for them to plan for the future. It is an exemplary model for other countries to emulate,” Mr. Steiner said.
In Istanbul, Achim Steiner delivered keynote address at the 5th Istanbul Development Dialogues (IDD) on Financing for Development on 27 May, speaking to more than 200 investors, business leaders, development experts and government representatives alongside Mr Naci Ağbal, Head of the Strategy and Budget Presidential Office, Presidency of Turkey. IDD is a flagship development policy event organized annually in Istanbul by UNDP’s Istanbul Regional Hub. This year’s conference addressed how to fund sustainable development in the 21st century.
In Istanbul, Mr. Steiner also met with business leaders, stressing their role in creating innovative partnership and models to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. “Turkish businesses have been playing a key development role within the country and in the Balkans, Central Asia, and Caucasus, and there are significant new opportunities for them to scale up their engagement towards achieving the SDGs” said Mr. Steiner.
Stressing that the SDGs are possible in Turkey and beyond if the connection can be made between the 2030 Agenda and financial markets, Mr. Steiner added, “Aligning trillions of dollars in private assets with public policies to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals is an urgent necessity and the way of the future.”
As a reflection of Turkey’s role as the largest donor of humanitarian aid in the world in proportion to its national income, and most rapidly growing donor among OECD members, UNDP and the Government of Turkey had signed an agreement in 2011 to elevate their collaboration to regional and global levels. Following the adoption of this agreement, UNDP’s Regional Hub for Europe and the CIS moved to Istanbul in 2015, and Turkey has been a co-financier of the UNDP’s Regional Programme for Europe and the CIS since 2014.
“As we look to the future, I hope we continue to build on this foundation as Turkey supports programmatic work of UNDP both at regional and global level. The latest commitments are a welcome signal of this partnership.” said Mr. Steiner.
Working with more than 40 Turkish and international agencies, UNDP contributes to Turkish Government’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable DevelopmentGoals by 2030. It supports Turkey on the three components of the development agenda, namely inclusive and sustainable growth, inclusive and democratic governance, and climate change and environment. UNDP also contributed to the preparation of Turkey’s 11th National Development Plan for 2019-2023.
Focusing on gender equality and women’s empowerment in all projects, UNDP also closely collaborates with the private sector to achieve the development goals. The Business for Goals (B4G) Platform and Connecting Business Initiative (CBi), both launched in 2018, were important steps to mobilize the business world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Turkey.
UNDP provides support to the preparation of Turkey’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) report on progress towards the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals to be presented at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in New York on 15 July 2019.
UNDP has in recent years been implementing resilience building projects to alleviate the impact of Syrian crisis on Turkey. Hosting the largest number of refugees in the world, Turkey is the country where 3.6 million Syrians have taken refuge. Under the Turkey Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), UNDP’s work on response to the Syrian crisis has recently further diversified through transition from a humanitarian dimension to a development-based approach. UNDP works with a diverse range of local and regional development actors to develop inclusive and sustainable policies to empower Syrian refugees and host communities.
Pursuing practical and innovative solutions to support Turkey’s development efforts, UNDP works on a mission of leaving no one behind through an inclusive approach.
Contributing to UNDP’s regular funds globally, Turkey is also the co-founder of Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD) and provides support to the development projects of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
About Achim Steiner
Achim Steiner leads the work and country offices of UNDP in 170 countries and territories across the world since April 2017. He also chairs the UN Development Group, which unites 32 UN funds, programmes, specialized agencies and other bodies that work to support sustainable development.
Bringing more than three decades of leadership experience in global development issues and international cooperation, Mr. Steiner is a passionate advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals and the need for unprecedented global cooperation to deliver on this ambitious agenda.
Prior to joining UNDP, Mr. Steiner served in roles across the UN, nongovernment organizations and highlevel advisory bodies shaping public policy. This included tenures as United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme; as Director-General of the UN Office at Nairobi and as Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.