From the Representative: Before leaving Turkey*

01 Mar 2013

The month of March 2013 has a special significance for me, for, I will be returning to my homeland Pakistan, after putting in almost 22 years of service with the UN system around the globe.

New Horizons - During the course of my career, I have witnessed with concern and pain, in the same space and time, the sordid concurrence of the abject poverty and starvation on the one hand and wastage and opulence on the other. 

I feel enormously privileged and honored to have had my final stint of 3 years+ in Turkey- a country which has done marvelously well in recent years in terms of its assiduous pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals through people centered, inclusive and sustainable development and its commitment to help especially the least developed countries address their development challenges. 

Turkey truly symbolizes, in policy and practice, an ardent aspiration to create a peaceful, prosperous and just world for the present and posterity. 

It has also been enormously rewarding experience to be a part of a highly dedicated, motivated and competent team of UNDP colleagues who continue expanding the performance horizons in carrying out UNDP mandate; in traversing the path from good to great; and in establishing inclusive and resilient societies. 

Many successful initiatives

Together, we have successfully pioneered a number of initiatives notably: 

(a) articulation of a clear vision, operational strategy and roadmap to re-position the Country Office in the context of: post 2015 scenario based on value-addition and evidence based policy work; a Turkey+ role to facilitate delivery of Turkey’s ODA, experience, knowledge and expertise; and creating a body of knowledge and experience to inform UN system on how to engage with MICs including the countries likely to graduate to MICs status; 

(b) conclusion of the global Partnership Framework Agreement (PFA) with the Government to help, inter alia, address development challenges of particularly LDCs and LICs; increasing Turkey’s contribution to the regional and global development capacity of UNDP; and assisting Turkey in realizing its national development goals; 

(c) establishment of UNDP Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector in Development to maximize private sector engagement in achieving MDGs besides promoting inclusive business models and markets; 

(d) adoption of programme approach with focus on providing upstream policy advisory support and pilot testing models and methodologies for up-scaling; 

(e) aligning the business processes- HR, Financial and IT- to support programme development and project implementation. 

Knowledge management and communication

In the process and in the wake of enormity of development challenges confronting the humanity and rapidly changing world, we have learned that it is absolutely imperative to make use of the vast reservoir of knowledge and successful experiences and share what has worked and what has not worked to address the development problems and ensure accelerated achievement of development goals. 

Greater access to knowledge also means earlier achievement of MDGs; less poverty and hunger; more environmental sustainability; and greater equality and empowerment for women and the underprivileged. A Project Level Processing and KM system has been instituted as the first ever venture in the entire UNDP network to collate and disseminate the Knowledge Products.

Gender as a cross cutting theme

Our greater realization of importance of Gender as a crosscutting theme culminated in: mainstreaming gender in all initiatives of UNDP ranging from climate change to rural development; coherently addressing the existing structural inequalities; promoting greater participation of women in decision making and labor market. UNDP is now one of the lead agencies in Turkey on gender related issues and brings the global best practices and experiences to bear on the national processes while fully respecting the local cultural and anthropological perspectives and contexts. 

Post 2015 development agenda

Last but not the least, our engagement in the articulation of post 2015 development framework provided us with a rare opportunity to contribute to shaping the future global agenda for development. Turkey is one of the countries selected for national consultations for the post 2015 development framework. 

While MDGs, by focusing global attention on clear and measurable human development outcomes, have helped improve the lives of many, the development agenda to follow must be designed and fashioned through participatory, cohesive, voluntary and inclusive process to build a better future for all and advance human rights, democracy, and good governance as intrinsic elements for development. The national consultations process in Turkey has been globally considered as exemplary for having been inclusive and owned by the stakeholders; for reaching out through the online discussions, web portal ( and social media, a wide spectrum of society; for carrying out the advocacy work to align with the 'Future We Want' campaign launched by Secretary General; for organizing eleven thematic meetings and four regional meetings to engage government representatives, NGOs, private sector and local CSO; for organizing 5 university tours to benefit from the perspectives of youth, students and scholars; for arranging Instagram competition to seek the creative vision of the future by amateurs and artists alike; and for capturing the voice of the poor, the marginalized and men and women in streets and markets through street interviews. We believe that contribution from Turkey will constitute substantive input to the post 2015 development framework.

Availing the opportunity, I wish to express my profound gratitude to the colleagues who tirelessly and ably worked to constantly improve the format and substance of New Horizons; to the contributors and subscribers who enriched the quality of its contents; and above all to the readers who patronized us with their immense interest and support. 

I will be carrying with me very fond memories of Turkey, the hospitality and generosity of its people and the warmth of many friends and colleagues who have been tremendous source of inspiration and encouragement during all these years.   


* Shahid Najam, UNDP Resident Representative in Turkey and UN Resident Coordinator in Turkey


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