Dayanıklılık ve Kalkınma Forumu Ülke İstişaresi - Türkiye


Statement by
Kamal Malhotra
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Turkey
Resident Representative, UNDP Turkey


Excellency Ambassador Mehmet Samsar,

Distinguished Representatives of the Government of Turkey,


Members of Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations,

NGO and private sector partners,

UN colleagues,


I would like to welcome you all to Turkey’s country consultation in preparation for the upcoming Resilience Development Forum on the Syrian crisis, which will take place on November 9th in Amman, Jordan. The protracted Syrian crisis, the spill-over effects of which recently and directly have spread, (on an unprecedented geographical scale since World War II) to Europe, is the primary reason why we are here. Thank you for coming and contributing to our collective thinking to develop some solutions to the challenges which face the Syrian nation and people as well as its neighbors and the international community since this is the responsibility of the entire global community, not just Syria or its neighbors. I see an impressive level of participation from the Government of Turkey, almost all the diplomatic missions which were invited, our NGO and private sector partners, and of course, UN and IOM agency colleagues.

The collective failure of the Syrians and the international community to find a political solution to end the Syrian conflict have repeatedly triggered the need for intensive dialogue and a search for more effective responses to the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Since 2011, the Syrian national and regional tragedy has caused more than 4 million people to leave their country. More than 12.2 million Syrian citizens are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of these 12.2 million, 7.6 million are internally displaced and 4.8 million are in hard to reach areas with access to little, if any, humanitarian assistance. Behind these figures which are now often repeated, there are human faces and a human tragedy of unprecedented proportions.

It is increasingly evident that neither humanitarian action alone or the current levels of humanitarian assistance are sufficient to address a crisis of such scale, intensity and longevity. It is with this understanding that the UN, together with its partners, agreed to develop the UN’s resilience based response to the Syrian crisis in addition to its ongoing short-term humanitarian response, under the joint coordination of UNDP and UNHCR for resilience and refugees, respectively. It launched the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) in Berlin on December 18, 2014, with a new resilience dimension and perspective which it has endeavored to, since then, elaborate on and bring to the attention of the international community, especially those trying to find a solution to today’s even more complex Syrian crisis related challenges.

It is the first time resilience is featuring so strongly as a priority in such a crisis. This is understandable considering the protracted nature and medium to long term projections for the challenges the Syrian population and host communities both currently face and will unfortunately continue to face in the foreseeable future.

The UN has repeatedly noted the generosity and support of all the neighboring states and host communities who have provided humanitarian assistance and temporary protection to Syrians fleeing the conflict. Turkey's role in this respect has been very generous and exemplary. It now hosts the largest number of documented refugees in the world, not just Syrians but Iraqis and many others.

The Government of Turkey, AFAD, DGMM, the Turkish Red Crescent, NGOs, and volunteers as well as UN agencies and others have shown extraordinary commitment and expertise in providing protection and assistance to Syrian refugees and the UN will continue to expand its partnership with all stakeholders in Turkey to ensure protection and assistance for new arrivals.

However, all of us here today are also aware that Turkey’s capacity to respond to the crisis has its limits and a much higher level of international burden sharing and support needs to be provided to Turkey to ensure that it continues to provide its current exemplary support to the Syrian population within its borders.

Moreover, and very importantly in light of recent events in Europe, the balance of the response in Turkey needs to shift from short term humanitarian assistance to prioritize the implementation of resilience building measures including through education, strengthened municipal services and decent jobs and livelihood support to Syrians in Turkey including through the provision of temporary work permits to them under Turkey’s October 2014 Temporary Protection Legislation. This will not be easy but will be critical if we are to find medium term sustainable strategies to deal with the crisis till the time when Syrians can go home.

Over the past two years, one message has been constant:  We need to go beyond business as usual in responding to the crisis.  The future prospects of millions of displaced and vulnerable people in the region are now at a crossroads – as we have seen so vividly over the past weeks in the Aegean Sea and the borders of Europe.  At the same time neighboring countries face the risk of increased impact on their own development with their current trajectories at risk of being steered off course.

Increased support to strengthen the resilience of institutions and capacities of Syria’s neighboring host governments such as Turkey to provide for the refugees here will help the refugees live a more hopeful and dignified life close to their homes in Syria to which many wish to return as soon as feasible. Equally importantly, in the current alarming refugee exodus context, such support will also help reduce the numbers of people risking life threatening journeys to other countries, especially in Europe. Turkey, which among Syria’s neighbors, now hosts the largest number of refugees in the world, needs to be supported much more than it has been in the past, not only because of the sheer numbers of Syrian (and Iraqi) refugees in Turkey and because the Turkey-Greece route is one of the major refugee routes to Europe, but also because it is the only neighboring country that has the capacity to absorb a large number of refugees  close to their homes in Syria, providing them with sustainable livelihoods and temporary protection, thereby reducing the numbers seeking to flee to Europe.

Within the framework of the 3RP, the UNDP led but UNDG supported Resilience Development Forum (RDF) in November is being organized in this new context. We hope that the RDF will result in the articulation of a consistent and collective vision on how to address the pressing challenges arising from the crisis.  The RDF should provide a platform for all partners to agree on a set of new cutting edge recommendations to address the medium-term impact of the crisis, both by emphasizing resilience building in Syria as well as its neighboring countries, including and especially Turkey.

The success of the RDF will be fully dependent on the outcomes of inclusive consultations at the country level both here in Turkey and other neighboring countries. It is my hope that our country consultation today will serve to further strengthen both the understanding of and the strategic partnership around the resilience-agenda in Turkey.  It is time for us to come together with new ideas that can transform how we work together beyond the immediate emergency response if we are to achieve breakthrough results.

For that reason, we have invited representatives of Government, donors, international organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector here today.  I encourage you to have a frank and constructive discussions on the three themes before us today: the role of the private sector, social stability and the aid architecture. Please share your ideas on how we can make changes that transform the manner in which we are currently approaching this crisis. I am counting on your active participation and look forward to seeing the conclusions and recommendations of the consultation today.


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