Doğu Anadolu’da Kültür Turizmi için İttifaklar Açılışı/BM Ortak Programı


Presentation by

Mahmood Ayub

UN Resident Coordinator, TURKEY

Dedeman Hotel, Ankara


Excellency Ambassador
Honorable Undersecretary,
Fellow Colleagues from the United Nations
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow to begin by saying what a pleasure it is to welcome you at this launch of the UN Joint Program on Culture and Development in Eastern Anatolia, a Program which is being financed by the Spanish Government.

As some of you know already, at the end of 2006, the UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis and the Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Leire Pajin, signed a landmark agreement. This agreement made available to the UNDP  528 million euros to support the efforts of countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The Millennium Development Goals, as you know, are a set of commitments endorsed by 189 governments at the Millennium Summit held in 2000. They focus on specific targets to be achieved by 2015 in the areas of poverty reduction, education, gender equality, maternal and child mortality, HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases, environmental sustainability, and effective global partnership.

The MDG Achievement Fund—as the Fund is officially called-- aims at awarding funds to UN Country Teams for innovative proposals in several areas-- proposals that have a potential for wide replication and high impact in selected countries and sectors.

The Turkey UN Country Team has been fortunate to have had three of its project proposals selected for funding from the MDG Achievement Fund.

Not surprisingly, one of the sectors  selected was culture and development.

Years of development experience have demonstrated the strong linkage between sustainable human development and cultural social diversity. The World Commission on Culture and Development (2001) described culture as the “common heritage of humanity.” The 2005 World Summit Outcome document underlined the importance of respect and understanding for cultural diversity as a contribution to the enrichment of humankind.

From an economic perspective, culture can clearly facilitate economic growth and job creation through development of tourism and the flourishing of cultural industries. Cultural and creative industries include, among others, visual and performing arts, cultural tourism and related heritage industries, arts, and design and crafts. In addition, creative industries can provide new approaches and new opportunities to improve dialogue among peoples, develop shared identities and lead to greater social cohesion.

In this sense, culture can be seen as a driving force for human development, in respect of economic growth and also as a means of leading to a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. Actions linking culture and development also have a strong potential to target disadvantaged populations with fewer opportunities. 

It is with this understanding-- Ladies and Gentlemen-- that the UN Country Team in Turkey, in cooperation with the Government and non-governmental partners, developed a proposal to foster regional development by leveraging cultural heritage of the less developed North east Anatolia, more specifically Kars.

On the United Nations side, this program is a joint effort of four agencies: UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO and UNWTO. This program will be a good example of United Nations agencies working jointly to address priority development challenges in an effective manner.

You will also hear about each agency’s involvement in this program later in this meeting. 

I am also delighted to note that we, the UN, are supporting Turkey’s priority of  cultural tourism and cultural heritage conservation as a means to support sustainable human development. There are important references to cultural development and culture tourism in the Ninth National Development Plan, particularly under section on Protecting and Improving Culture and Strengthening Social Dialogue. Similarly, Turkey’s Tourism Strategy and Action Plan, covering the period 2007-2013, emphasizes the importance of cultural tourism and identifies ‘brand cities’ the potentials of which will be supported by the Government for increased tourism, and therefore socio-economic development.

Ladies and Gentlemen                  

Anatolia has been at the crossroads of many civilizations throughout its rich history. It hosts a number of heritage sites all across the Peninsula from the West to the East.

The Joint Program focuses on the eastern part of the country, where two significant sites Sivas Divriği-Ulu Cami, a world heritage site, and Kars, which is the province hosting a rich architectural and cultural diversity, are located.

Kars is among the country’s poorest and most remote provinces, both in terms of economic and human development. But at the same time, the Southern Caucasus region-- which is the geographical context of Kars-- has perhaps the greatest density and diversity of cultural heritage assets in the world. So there is a tremendous amount of potential for the cultural and economic development of this area.

What is needed is to enable the people of Kars to benefit from this wealth. This program aims to leverage this vast cultural heritage for the socio-economic development of the region.

In addition, we recognize that further capacity development is needed to develop a good model of site management and cultural heritage conservation in other regions of the country. We believe that this program will address this need with the technical support of our sister agency, UNESCO. 

To summarize, the Joint Program will support pro-poor sectoral development policies by fostering social cohesion, pluralism, dialogue of cultures and establishment of a culture of peace in Eastern Anatolia. This objective can only be achieved with joint action of our partners: central and local government; NGOs; private sector; and local citizens of Kars. I am pleased to see that our partners in Kars are also here with us while we are marking the kick-off of this program.

In closing, let me convey my thanks:

. first to the Government of Spain for providing the funds to support this program, thereby reconfirming its leadership in multilateralism and international cooperation, and expressing its confidence in the UN system.

. second, to our colleagues in the Spanish Embassy in Ankara for supporting Turkey’s efforts to benefit from these funds,

. third, to our government counterparts, particularly the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, for all their support to us in preparing this program,

. fourth, to our partners in Kars for contributing in every possible way to our work, and

. last but not least, to our NGO partners, and to all of you for being with us here at this important event.

I wish you all a very fruitful meeting and looking forward to seeing the positive results of this program.

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