Çanakkale Ödül Programı27.May.2008
Honorable Mayor Ülgür Gökhan
Governor Orhan Kırlı
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Çanakkale Chamber of Commerce Mr. Kaya Üzen
Secretary General of Local Agenda 21 Mr. Ismail Tumay
Project Partners, Interest Groups, Members of the Press,
It is a pleasure for me to address you all today on the occasion of this award ceremony that is taking place within the framework of our joint project entitled “Heavy Machinery Operators with a Smile.” Today’s event is one of those opportunities when the UNDP can see the sound and measurable contributions of the private sector in progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
As you may know, the MDG Fund, established by TOBB and entrusted to UNDP, is one of the first of its kind in support of Turkey’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The overall objective of this Fund is to engage the private sector in making the MDGs a reality in the lives of all of Turkey’s citizens. In more specific terms, the Fund also supports demonstrative partnerships between local authorities, businesses and civil society that can result in sustainable developmental gains for people and the private sector.
This democratic method of bringing the private sector to support the achievement of the MDGs through the Local Agenda 21 City Council network has been the Fund’s support strategy. This strategy of mobilizing good governance platforms for achieving the MDGs, is clearly called for in the UN Millennium Declaration of 2000 as the most successful way for promoting sustainable development at the local level.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to congratulate the partners in this project, as well as the 34 young men and women who have successfully completed their training, qualifying them for a G grade license to operate heavy machinery such as the forklifts in Çanakkale. As expressed by the Local Agenda 21 Secretary General, this project has gone beyond responding to the demands of the private sector for licensed operators and creating employment for them. The project has also introduced women to the profession, which is an important statement with regard to gender equality in labor force participation. The experience of the United Nations, in particular of the UNDP and ILO, has been that employment programs targeting women need to “think outside the box” and avoid the trap of pigeonholing women in traditionally female professions. For many years, women in many countries have suffered from traditional roles cut out for them in employment, denying them the opportunities in managerial positions and in many sectors. I congratulate the managers of this project for making it possible for everyone to question the assumption that operating heavy machinery is the domain of only men. Today we see that women can do this equally well if not better. This is the same in all areas of social, economic and political life.
It will be of utmost importance for this project to serve as an example so that the partnerships are sustained between the local authorities, the chambers of commerce and the participatory platforms in delivering employability services for men and women and using this project as a starting point for addressing other priority concerns here in Çanakkale.
In fact in the context of private sector engagement it would be highly desirable for companies that are members of the local chamber to implement strategies to achieve the MDGs, within the scope of core business activities, social investment and philanthropic activities and policy dialogue and advocacy. In this regard, the UNDP’s “Business and the Millennium Development Goals – Framework for Action” could prove as a useful guide on how to do this. One Turkish company that may serve as an inspiration and an example is “Ipek Kağıt”. İpek Kagıt took its place among a handful of companies that were awarded at the World Business Awards in 2006 for their project, “Solo Primary School Personal Hygiene Education Project”, a project implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.
Furthermore, Çanakkale, an early member of Turkey’s Local Agenda 21 program, and has also joined the campaign entitled ‘Our City Supports the Millennium Development Goals’. We look forward particularly to the fulfillment of key objectives of the campaign, such as establishing local targets for the MDGs that are pertinent to Canakkale’s own development situation and integration of MDGs in the strategic plans and programs of the Municipality, and finally building the mutually-supportive linkages between programs for achievement of the MDGs with the broader goal of supporting Turkey’s accession to the European Union. For this dedication, I wish to thank the Mayor and the people of Çanakkale.
Let me end by thanking the Mayor and President of the Chamber for the most gracious invitation to me to participate in this wonderful event in this beautiful city. Canakkale is truly an impressive symbol of Turkey’s rich and proud history. On behalf of the UNDP, I have been honored to be here. In closing, I would like to reiterate UNDP’s continued support to Çanakkale City Council and the Local Authorities in their efforts to achieve the goals of sustainable development and the MDGs in Canakkale.