New rural development project launched

01 Jul 2007

UNDP has joined forces with the Turkish government for a new rural development project in Southeast Anatolia.

New Horizons - The Diyarbakir-Batman-Siirt Rural Development Project was jointly launched by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Mehmet Mehdi Eker, and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Turkey, Mahmood Ayub on June 23, 2007 in Diyarbakir.  The high-level event was attended by the governors of the three project provinces.

The project aims to achieve real improvements in the lives of rural people in terms of assets, income, and the capacity to participate in a market-oriented rural economy, in line with Turkey’s National Rural Development Strategy.  The project is nationally executed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the UNDP. 

Committed to reducing inter-regional economic and social disparities through sustainable rural development measures, the overall objective of the Diyarbakir-Batman-Siirt Rural Development Project is to develop innovative strategies with real impact on the ground in the three targeted provinces.  The project will also undertake rural infrastructure investments, based on needs identified by villagers, in order to improve standards of living and create an enabling environment to encourage growth investment to the region.

The project partners, MARA, IFAD, and UNDP recognize the transformative impacts that will be achieved through a strengthened rural economy, which explains the project’s emphasis on identifying profitable and sustainable opportunities, and developing strategies to link people in rural communities to these opportunities—thereby connecting them to the more dynamic sectors of the market and empowering them to become active participants with a say-so in the outcome of their lives.  By empowering farmers and producers in rural areas to think in terms of basic economics; responding to market demand; and accessing regional markets, lasting and meaningful impact can be achieved.

Mahmood Ayub emphasized that the success of the project hinges on engaging and involving villages in every step of the development process:  “As this project will demonstrate, the relevant issue in rural development  is to enhance the capacities of rural communities to contribute to the process of growth by empowering them to participate, on more equitable terms, in the dynamics of the market economy. . . Central to this project’s approach is empowerment of rural communities to participate as partners in their own development and involving them in setting results-oriented development targets based on locally-identified needs and potential for growth.”  

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Eker, added that a rural development project of this scope and depth is a first for Turkey, and will channel much-needed resources, attention, and importantly, capacity to the region.

With the launch of the Diyarbakir Batman Siirt Rural Development Project, UNDP is now implementing all internationally funded rural development projects in Turkey. The project has a budget of over 30 million USD and will be implemented over a period of 5 years, until 2012.

Globally, UNDP is committed to designing and implementing innovative solutions to addressing rural development challenges.