Kocaeli pioneers in MDGs

01 Mar 2008

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Kocaeli is a western city in Turkey which has already started to internalize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and conducting all its activities according to these targets.

New Horizons - Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality, which has been part of the LA21 Programme since 1996, was selected as one of six pilot cities under the project, ‘Linking Human Rights to Turkey’s Localising MDGs Programme.’ In a recent visit of Mahmood Ayub, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative in Turkey to the town, it was noted that the Municipality of Kocaeli has prepared a Strategic Plan that fully integrates the principles of Sustainable Development and adopts targets that are in line with localized MDG priorities. Most notable were the initiatives of the Municipailty to enhance maternal and child health and reduce poverty by universal provision of milk to expecting women and mothers. The Municipality also prepared a Performance Based Budget in line with Law 5018 on Public Financial Management and Control.

During his visit to Kocaeli on 20 February, Mr. Ayub stressed the importance of localizing Millennium Development Goals and congratulated the Kocaeli Municipality for adopting the Human Development concept and sustainable development as the underpinning paradigm of local development in Kocaeli. Indeed, the Strategic Plan of the municipality balances well social, economic growth prerogatives with environmental considerations all of which are formulated as strategic targets and sub-targets.

Kocaeli Municipality is also part of “Our City Supports the Millennium Development Goals” campaign which promotes local governance as the primary and essential means for attaining the MDGs. The aim of the campaign is to build the capacities of local authorities and City Councils to monitor and support the realization of the MDGs through the development and internalization of local governance practices; and establish the support, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for localizing the MDGs.

In Kocaeli, UNDP Representative Ayub called for more cooperation between the local authorties and the private sector for the achievement of the MDGs at local level. Ayub, in his speech at the 1st General Assembly meeting of Kocaeli City Council highlighted the importance of the MDGs to the private sector and encouraged Kocaeli to benefit from the on-going partnership between UNDP and TOBB which provides grants to demonstration projects that address specific MDGs at the local level (please click here to read Mahmood Ayub’s full speech).

Mahmood Ayub also presented the Guidebook published by UNDP on ‘Linking Human Rights to MDGs in Turkey’ to assist the City Council and key actors in developing concrete strategies for cooperation between civil society and local bar associations in the pursuit of MDGs and in strengthening their advocacy and programming activities with the strength of law.