Linking MDGs in Turkey to human rights

01 Jun 2007

The launch of the “Linking Human Rights to Turkey’s Localizing MDGs Program” project was introduced at a workshop titled “Millennium Development Goals in Turkey: Legal Framework for MDGs and Human Rights” hosted by the Ankara Bar Association on 11 May 2007 in Ankara.

New Horizons - The project that is realized in partnership with UNDP, Local Agenda 21 City Councils and Bar Associations of pilot cities aims to link human rights to Turkey’s localizing MDGs program and to implement the MDGs in Turkey into a legal framework.

The project has crucial importance as this is the first time in Turkey in which MDG monitoring will be realized in a normative framework through the active engagements of bar associations. The project is expected to strengthen the Government’s poverty reduction strategies at national and local levels by incorporating the MDG goals in every practice including social inclusion and human rights. In this context UNDP will provide technical assistance and tools for advocacy as well as partnerships at national and international levels. Toolkits will be prepared for citizens and municipalities on the human rights aspects of the MDGs. In her speech at the workshop, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Ulrika Richardon-Golinski stated that the aim was to “explicitly link the practice of human rights promotion to national developmental targets, enshrined in the MDGs and to seek to develop strategies for how legal professionals can be engaged in efforts to promote the MDGs and how Local Agenda 21 partners can be empowered in their efforts by internalizing a Human Rights perspective”.

Although human rights and human development are seen as two different concepts “human freedom” and “dignity” are two important keywords that combine the two concepts together. Human rights can be powerful tools that can help promote the MDGs as they provide a platform for legal changes. Moreover, human rights can empower people in different ways; while the power of law may help reduce people’s vulnerabilities, they can also empower people in claiming their rights. Human rights bring a sharper focus on justice in human development and bring new mechanisms for empowering the disadvantaged. As the 2000 Human Development Report quite appropriately indicates: “Human rights and human development are close enough in motivation and concern to be congruous and compatible, and they are different enough in strategy and design to supplement each other fruitfully”.

How can Local Agenda 21 help to promote localizing MDGs in Turkey?

Local Agenda 21 consists of City Councils that each include municipalities, women and youth parliaments, deputies, governors, foundations and associations, universities, syndicates etc who all work for the promotion of participation, democracy, capacity building, transparency and sustainable development by encouraging the civil society.