Need for stronger alliances
Highlighting the need to establish stronger alliances and coalitions, December 19 marked the International Day for South-South Cooperation, celebrated in 2009 under the theme “Innovative Solutions through Inclusive Partnerships”.
New Horizons - In his message for the International Day for South-South Cooperation, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the countries of the South to deepen their cooperation and urged countries of the North to support their efforts.
Ban Ki-moon drew attention to the fact that many countries of the South have increasingly strong institutional, technical and financial capacities and said “South-South financial flows have been critical in warding off some of the impacts of the global economic crisis”. Despite these developments, developing countries still feel the burden of hunger, job losses, AIDS and other fallouts caused by the global crisis, thus increased commitment is needed to realize the great potential of South-South and triangular cooperation.
A pivotal country within the South-South Cooperation, Turkey is becoming an important actor in shaping the global development agenda to eradicate poverty and to contribute to the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Turkey not only caught the developing country standards in development aid, but also became frequently referred to among the emerging donor countries. Through the South-South Cooperation project, UNDP aims to strengthen Turkey’s role in international development cooperation by developing the capacity of the Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TIKA) with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. UNDP provides assistance to TIKA in preparing and managing Turkey’s development assistance programmes, in order to increase the effectiveness of Turkish Official Development Assistance (ODA) in line with the Paris Declaration Principles. Turkey’s ODA contribution is approximately 0.1% of its Gross National Income (GNI) rising from $601 million in 2006 to $780 million in 2008 and it is determined to be more engaged in international development assistance. The total net development assistance amount for 2008 was USD 1,576.75 million. Turkey's 2008 total development assistance increased by 30% in comparison to 2007. All of the total ODA amount of USD 780.36 million, realised in 2008 was in the form of grants, with USD 735.74 million representing bilateral aid and USD 44.62 million representing multilateral aid delivered via international organisations.
The country’s ODA has a special focus on the global commitment to the MDGs, with a particular emphasis on the Least Developed Countries (LDC). While the main geographical focus is currently on the Caucuses, Central Asia, Balkans and the Middle East, TIKA would like to scale up support to other regions, particularly in Africa. The country has been responding to humanitarian crisis situations in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Sudan by implementing projects in education, health, economic and social infrastructure, commerce, industry and communication. TIKA’s Agricultural Cooperation and Training Programme for East and West African Countries project for instance, includes practical training by Turkish experts provided to locals in each host country. The project will continue through 2010.
Two international conferences have also been organized jointly by the UNDP and TIKA since the project’s inception to form platforms as a means of sharing experiences and best practices. At the International Conference on Women and Democratic Governance held in 2008, government and NGO representatives, academicians and experts from all over the world discussed ways of empowering women to increase their participation in politics. More recently, the “e-Transformation in Public Administration from e-Government to e-Governance” conference created a common platform to explore collaboration potentials where practical experiences on e-government project implementations were exchanged. The conference took place in December in Antalya, and was attended by more than 300 senior government officials from Turkey and along with more than 40 country representatives. Seven UNDP Country Offices (CO) with strong e-Governance portfolios from the region, were also present.
Another key operation within the South South Cooperation project is the establishment of a talent bank of experts from different ministries within the Turkish Government, including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, to provide technical assistance to other countries within the framework of the development work that TIKA is undertaking. Experts in various fields are registered in a database and interlinked through international communication networks. These networks enable capacity development by allowing for experts to share their experiences and knowledge with their peers.
With the implementation of the “South-South Cooperation” project, Turkey’s contribution to the achievement of the MDGs in developing countries will be strengthened through the sharing of its experience and “best practices” as an emerging donor.
Since its establishment in 1975 as part of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA), the South-South Cooperation (then called Technical co-operation among developing countries or TCDC) has advanced trade and opened new avenues for economic growth and is a critically important dimension as a means of building communication, and of promoting wider and more effective co-operation among developing countries. Although the South-South Cooperation is thriving, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautioned that it is not a substitute for North-South cooperation and pointed the need to establish more North-South partnerships.