On the Occasion of Sustainable Development Days

18 Mar 2008

Statement by Mahmood A. Ayub
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative


Your Excellency, Deputy Prime Minister, Nazım Ekren,
Head of EC Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador Marc Pierini
Distinguished members of the Turkish Parliament, Honorable Undersecretaries,
Members of State Planning Organization and our other partner public institutions,
Non governmental organizations and academia,
Members of the Press,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me to begin by welcoming you all to this important two-day event, which will  focus on the  concept  of sustainable  development. The  discussion  will involve high level Turkish officials, distinguished members of non-governmental organizations, and academia with the contribution of international experts.

The  United  Nations has defined sustainable development as "development which meets the needs  of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". This is a difficult enough task already in view of the major impact of climate change based on the human activity of the past. It becomes even more challenging when we take note of the fact that in 1945 the world population was just under 2.2 billion, and today it is well over 6 billion.

Progress in achieving sustainable development is only possible through close partnership and cooperation among the various stakeholders. In that respect, the project on "Integration of Sustainable Development into Sectoral  Policies", which has just been completed, is an excellent example of such cooperation. The project was financed by the European Commission, was implemented by UNDP,  and  guided  by  the  State  Planning Organization. Other important contributors include the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Ministry of Natural Resources  and Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the  Ministry of Public Works and Settlement,  TUBITAK, the  private  sector, NGOs,  and  the  academia. This  gives  us  an  idea  of  the  range  of  actors involved as part of this important network.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank to those who supported and contributed to our project activities.

I am convinced that every effort made to integrate  sustainable development principles  into national and regional development strategies in line with the Sustainable Development Strategy and the 6th Environmental  Action Plan will need time and continuing effort. But it is an effort well worth undertaking.

Let me conclude, Ladies and Gentlemen, by expressing my sincere wish that the Sustainable Development Days, with all its panels and discussions as well as  its creative atmosphere, will inspire new ideas, new vision and new projects, academic studies and institutional cooperation at the local, national and international level.

I would like to thank you all for listening and being with us today. We have a great deal of work ahead of us. But we are committed to our common destiny.