Ankara, 27 May – UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner today concluded his first country visit to Turkey during which he met with leaders of government and business, investors, the heads of UNDP partner agencies in Turkey, and members of the diplomatic community, and opened the UNDP flagship event the Istanbul Development Dialogues.
“Turkey and UNDP have been partners for over 50 years and more recently Turkey has been a beacon of hope for more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees.” said Achim Steiner. “I appreciated the frank exchanges on the future direction of UNDP’s work in Turkey and I look forward to our continued partnership.”
The UNDP Administrator, accompanied by UNDP Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, met with Vice President of Turkey H.E. Fuat Oktay and Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mehmet Çavuşoğlu to discuss Turkey’s continued support for UNDP’s work in Turkey, the region, and globally.
They also discussed the continued need for supporting Turkey in its work hosting refugees from Syria. Turkey currently hosts more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees and provides many with free access to education, health care, employment and social security.
“Turkey provides both immediate life support for Syrians and an opportunity for them to plan for the future. It is an exemplary model for other countries to emulate,” Mr. Steiner said.
The Government of Turkey has pledged an additional $4 million annually for three years towards UNDP programmes. As part of a 2011 agreement, Turkey has already contributed US$15 million towards UNDP’s regional programme in Europe and Central Asia and supports the Istanbul Regional Hub and UNDP’s global private sector center in Istanbul.
“As we look to the future, I hope we continue to build on this foundation as Turkey supports programmatic work of UNDP both at regional and global level. The latest commitments are a welcome signal of this partnership.” said Mr. Steiner.
UNDP has been present in Turkey for 5 decades, supporting the country in its development planning as it achieved major reforms and opened to foreign trade and finance.
In Istanbul, the Administrator and his delegation also met with business representatives, stressing their role in creating innovative partnership and models to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. “Turkish businesses have been playing a key development role within the country and in the Balkans, Central Asia, and Caucasus, and there are significant new opportunities for them to scale up their engagement towards achieving the SDGs” said Mr. Steiner.
On 27 May, Mr. Steiner delivered keynote address at the Istanbul Development Dialogues on Financing for Development, speaking to more than 200 investors, business leaders, development experts and government representatives alongside Mr Naci Agbal, Head of the Strategy and Budget Presidential Office, Presidency of Turkey.
“If the connection can be made between the 2030 Agenda and financial markets, the SDGs are possible - in Turkey and beyond,” said Mr. Steiner. “Aligning trillions of dollars in private assets with public policies to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals is an urgent necessity and the way of the future”, Mr. Steiner told the audience.
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