Children are poorest in Turkey

01 Jun 2009


A seminar on Social Policy Trends and Reforms in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was hosted by the Graduate School of Social Sciences Social Policy Program at METU on 30 April 2009. 

New Horizons - The seminar, organised by The United Nations Office in Turkey and The World Bank Turkey Country Office in the scope of Turkey Human Development Dialogue Speaker Series highlighted the importance of implementing active social policies to overcome child poverty, unemployment and income inequality which are all comparatively higher in Turkey than in the rest of the OECD countries.

The fourth seminar featuring a presentation by the Head of Social Policy Division at the OECD, Dr. Monika Queisser, explained that active social policies address the root causes of widening market income, reorient spending towards investment in children and youth and put a heavy emphasis on employment.  

According to her research titled “Transforming Social Protection For The 21st Century”, child poverty rates are highest in Turkey, with 24.6%, almost doubling the OECD average rate of 12.5%. In contrast, Turkey’s poverty rates for lone parents are surprisingly low, which Queisser claimed could be attributed to the cultural and social implications that limit the number of lone parents in the country.

Seminar findings indicated poverty could only be overcome by improving employment conditions through implementing active social policies. However, Queisser called attention to the difficulties in the acceptance of active social policy which is expensive and expected to be fruitful only in the distant future. The seminar ended with a Q&A session with questions generally concerning social policies in Turkey.

The Human Development Dialogue is an initiative supported by the United Nations in Turkey and the World Bank Turkey Country Office. It aims to facilitate a dialogue on human development by inviting speakers from abroad to talk about new analytical findings and evidence as well as ongoing policy discussions and reforms. Previous speakers have included Dr. Francisco Ferreira of the World Bank, Prof. Nicholas Barr, professor of Public Economics at the London School of Economics (LSE), and Prof. Paul Gertler, Professor of Economics at University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkley).

The 5th Seminar on Climate Change

The 5th seminar in the series where Dr. Cecilia Ugaz provided valuable insights on The Social Impacts of Climate Change and Government Reactions was held on 29 May 2009 at the METU Conference Center. Dr. Ugaz who is the former Deputy Director of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, is currently the deputy resident representative at the UNDP Argentina Office. Her presentation on "Climate Change: A Major Threat to Human Development" highlighted the inequalities of developed countries who were responsible for the majority of carbon emissions and developing countries who were most vulnerable to them. 

For more information about The Human Development Dialogue please click here.

To view the complete “Transforming Social Protection For The 21st Century” presentation please click here.

To view Dr. Ugaz's complete presentation please click here.