Resident coordinator country profile

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29 August 2012


1 Country Turkey

2 Duty Station

Location Ankara

Classification (A,B,C,D,E) Category A

Period of Assignment based on Classification above 4+1

Family or non-family Family

3 Required Language(s) English

4 Languages that would be an asset Turkish

5 Country Situation

Political Scene:

The ruling “Justice and Development Party” (AKP) has been in power since November 2002, and is the only political party in Turkey’s history to have won three successive elections ever since. The mandate of AKP was convincingly renewed in June 2011 elections and its popularity could be well gauged from the fact that it received more votes in each election than the previous one.

There are presently 4 political parties in the Parliament: 1) the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which formed a majority government after winning just under 50% of the popular vote; 2) the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP); 3) the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP); and 4) the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). HE Abdullah Gül, a former AKP executive and MP, has been elected as 11th President in August 2007 despite opposition by the secularist parties including the military. The political scene remains polarized and characterized by schism among the key political parties displaying no consensus on issues of vital significance like constitutional reforms, next general and local election, Kurdish issue etc. The pro-religious inclination of AKP with alleged implications on the secular and fundamental nature of the Republic etc. is a further source of divisiveness on the Turkish political landscape. Some of the major current issues and political developments are summarized below:

  1. Elections:

The next general election is expected in mid-2015. Before that, in 2014 local elections will be held. It is also expected that the first direct election of the President of the Republic will take place in 2014, as well as a referendum on a new constitution. There is presently a debate on the timing of local as well as general elections; however a consensus has yet to be reached. The current President, HE Abdullah Gül, was elected by the Parliament for a single seven-year term in August 2007. The Law on Presidential Elections put into effect on 20 January 2012 envisages that the presidential elections will be held in 2014 instead of 2012; within 60 days following the end of the seven year term of incumbent President Gül. The High Court in June 2012 decreed that Gül could run for a second (5-year) term in 2014. The election in August 2014, for the first time, will be by universal direct suffrage. The next President could serve a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms. Unless the AKP's bylaws are changed to allow party members to be elected to Parliament for more than three terms, the political analysts expect the Prime Minister Erdoğan, to contest presidential elections and become Turkey's first directly elected President in 2014.

  1. EU Agenda:

Turkey has been a candidate country for EU membership since 1999. Accession negotiations started in October 2005. The accession process has continued at a relatively slow pace. The Cyprus issue and opposition in some EU states to Turkish accession together with domestic resistance to reforms, notably to resolve the Kurdish issue and overhaul the constitution, continue to hinder Turkey’s EU negotiations. Turkey has so far started negotiations with EU on 17 of the 35 Chapters and only one chapter (science and research) has been concluded since October 2005. One additional Chapter of the acquis communautaire was opened in 2010 leaving some to speculate that Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU were heading for a political and technical stalemate.
According to the EU Progress Report of October 2011, the country has made progress in meeting EU membership criteria; however, further results are needed as regards fundamental rights, in particular to assure freedom of expression in practice. The report further stresses that the June 2011 elections presented the government with a window of opportunity to address reforms with fresh vigor. While Turkey continued improving its ability to take on the obligations of membership, the report concluded that full implementation of the obligations under the Customs Union and progress towards normalization of relations with Cyprus are needed before the country can advance more vigorously in its accession negotiations. However, according to a recent public opinion poll, Turkish public support for Turkey’s EU bid went down to historical low levels. There is also a growing skepticism on the part of many Europeans whether Turkey should be embraced as a member of the European family fueled, in part, by the ongoing debate within parts of Europe over the implications of the growing Muslim population in Europe and the impact Turkey’s admission into the Union would have on Europe’s future.
In short, the major problems facing Turkey's membership are, inter alia, the following:

  • Turkey’s failure to extend diplomatic recognition to Cyprus or to live up to its agreement to extend the benefits of its customs union with the EU to Cyprus;

  • The continued reluctance by Turkey to open its sea and air ports to Cypriot shipping and commerce until a political settlement has been achieved on Cyprus;

  • The size of the country which could put too much weight in decisions in the Council of Ministers and the influence that it would wield as well as the affect that it would have on the larger countries and their power structure.

In May 2012, EU embarked on “Positive Agenda” to give stimulus to negotiations with Turkey on EU accession. The basic aim of this initiative is to keep the accession process of Turkey alive and put it properly back on track after a period of stagnation.

  1. Turkey’s Foreign Policy:

The foreign policy of Turkey is primarily governed by “peace at home, peace abroad” dictate of Ataturk. The “zero problem policy” with neighbours, a pro-active role in the international arena, emergence as a donor through increase in its ODA and blend of trade and business, are the main pillars of this policy. Recent strategic cooperation with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Russia and expanding Turkey’s presence in Africa are clear manifestation of this policy. However, with the Arab Spring in 2011, changing political climate in the region led some distortions in this trend. Deteriorating relations with Syria and to a certain extent with Iran are the clear indicators of this. The “Mavi Marmara” incident impacted the relations with Israel. The relations with Armenia, despite a process of normalization initiated in 2008, continue to be problematic because of “Karabakh dispute” between Azerbaijan (a close ally of Turkey) and Armenia and the alleged “genocide” of Armenian by Ottoman Turkey during 1915-17.

  1. Turkey’s role in the Middle East and Syria:

One of the successes of Turkey’s foreign policy in recent years has been its ability to play a credible role as a negotiator in thorny political issues across the region. Earlier it has been successful in easing tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as supporting dialogue between Syria and Israel. Turkey has also been encouraging Iran to engage in more transparent cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency over its nuclear programme. Developments in the Arab world and particularly in Syria have, however, exposed the limits of the AKP’s assertive approach to foreign policy, especially towards issues in the neighboring region. Having previously enjoyed positive relations with Syria, the government has repeatedly called for Assad to leave power. Relations have worsened since late June 2012, when Syrian air defenses shot down a Turkish military jet in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey faces the challenges of a significant humanitarian crisis as there are tens of thousands of refugees from Syria now in Turkey (78,409 as of August 28, 2012 as reported by the Government of Turkey), with the numbers increasing over recent months.

  1. Cyprus issue:

The AKP government supported the UN-backed efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue. However, the progress on this front has been very slow. The opening of Turkey’s ports and airports to Cyprus is also the basic issue for starting the negotiations on most of the vetoed chapters. Ankara argues that the EU should first end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. The Cyprus issue indeed remains a major obstacle to Turkey’s EU accession prospects owing, inter alia, to Turkey’s refusal to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the EU since 2004. The Cyprus six-month rotating EU Presidency from July-December 2012 is expected to further curtail Turkey-EU relations though the Turkish government has expressly stated that it would continue to work with the European Commission and European Parliament during this period.

  1. Fight against PKK:

The Kurdish issue is perceived as a major threat to political and social stability as well as a major obstacle to Turkey’s EU accession prospects. The “Democratic Opening” or “Kurdish Opening” initiative of the AKP government which, inter alia, involved negotiated settlement, the initiation of Kurd media, restricted use of Kurdish language etc., did not fructify and ultimately engendered huge political controversy because of lack of political inclusiveness. The state has, however, continued to respond with force to the campaign of violence unleashed by Kurdish terrorist groups (PKK) including operations across the border inside Iraq. This has increased social and political tension, making it unlikely that progress will follow from the AKP’s agreement in June 2012 to cooperate with CHP on the opposition party’s proposals to find a democratic settlement of this longstanding issue. The PKK’s recent attacks targeting the civilians also mark a distinct shift in its strategy and are being interpreted as a conscious choice to pursue violent means to achieve its goals. An allegedly “planned” meeting of some BDP MPs and terrorists in the outskirts of an eastern province was heavily criticized by all political parties.

  1. Constitutional Reform:

AKP is seeking to introduce a civilian-friendly constitution to replace the current one, which was prepared in 1982 under the guidance of the military and still fails to fully comply with democratic norms and principles notably protection of minority and individual rights, despite being amended over the years. While there is a political consensus on enactment of a civilian constitution, major differences on the shape of the planned changes continue to divide the parties in parliament. A Commission in the parliament in May 2012 started to work on articles of a “new and civilian” constitution. AKP’s desire to enhance powers of the Presidency, before Erdoğan’s expected candidacy for the post in 2014, is also a potential source of political conflict and instability. The 327 seats won by AK Party are slightly less than the 330 required to propose constitutional changes to a referendum without the support of other parties in parliament. It also falls far short of the two-thirds majority needed to rewrite Turkey's 1982 military constitution unilaterally without the need for a referendum.

  1. Judicial Reforms:

The progress in Judiciary Reform has been praised by the EU in their latest progress report. The reforms included restructuring of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, reflecting Council of Europe’s Venice Commission guidelines. Some of the reforms, introduced by enacting new and/or amending existing laws, however are yet to be implemented, including regional appellate courts etc. The reform package is rather comprehensive and aims increasing efficiency and effectiveness of the legal system while converging the Turkey’s judiciary system more strongly with that of the EU.

  1. Government Restructuring:

The Government machinery underwent a significant restructuring in the aftermath of the 2011 General Elections. The restructuring process involved merging of ministries, renaming most of them, redefining mandates and shifting departments from one ministry to another in accordance with the newly defined mandates. Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, Ministry of Development (former State Planning Organization), Ministry of Science Industry and Technology, Ministry of Economy were among the ministries most affected by the restructuring.

  1. Civilian oversight:

According to EU Progress Report on Turkey (2011), overall good progress has been made on consolidating the principle of civilian oversight of security forces. On the eve of the Supreme Military Council meeting of August 2011, the then Chief of Staff, along with the Force Commanders, requested their retirement which was accepted by the Government. Appointment of the force commanders in the Supreme Military Council meeting without any delay affirmed the Government’s control over the appointment of top-level commanders.

  1. Coup Cases:

The “Sledgehammer” trial, the first ever trial into an alleged coup plan in Turkey, began in December 2010. Around 200 people, including some generals are accused of planning to overthrow the government in 2003. The trial of the alleged criminal network Ergenekon continues with the judicial investigation expanding further. According to official data, the number of defendants has risen to 238, 53 of whom are under arrest. Requests for the release of defendants were assiduously refused . Long time lapse between trials and delayed presentation of indictments has been generally criticized by EU and political observers.

  1. Freedom of Expression and Media:

The high number of violations of freedom of expression continues to attract serious concerns. Freedom of media has allegedly been widely restricted in practice. A large number of journalists remain in detention. The alleged media involvement in Ergenekon case led to the detention of a number of prominent journalists. In March 2011, copies of an unpublished book written by one of the arrested journalists were confiscated on the orders of a court for being a "document of a terror organization". Confiscation of an unpublished book as evidence of crime invited considerable criticism about press freedom in Turkey. The lack of any authoritative source of information and transparency on all these issues of wide public interest from either the prosecution offices or the courts indeed raises concerns in the public about the legitimacy of the coup cases.

  1. Headscarf issue:

The headscarf debate continues unabated as one of the most polarizing issues in Turkey. Supporters of lifting the ban contend that in a country like Turkey where 99% of the population is Muslim, there is no justification to deny female students wearing a headscarf and the write to education. Opponents say that lifting the ban will be the first step towards transforming Turkey into a religious state. Previously the Turkish Council of State, Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights determined that wearing headscarves at universities is against the secular nature of the Turkish Constitution. In February 2008, in an effort to lift the headscarf ban at universities, the Turkish parliament amended two articles of the Turkish constitution (Article 10, which ensures the equality of all citizens, and Article 42, which guarantees access to education for all) by 411 votes in favor to 103 against. The amendments were jointly introduced to the parliament by the ruling AKP and opposition MHP. However, the Constitutional Court annulled the amendments saying they are against the secular nature of the Constitution and the Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals opened a closure case against the AKP. The Constitution Court decided that the AKP has become the focal point of anti-secular activities but closing the party would be a very heavy penalty. Therefore the AKP was fined rather than closed. Though the headscarf issue remains deadlocked, with the help of the President of the Higher Education Council (YOK), female students now seem to have more freedom to wear headscarves. The AKP has failed, however, to make a constitutional change on the issue. The CHP chief, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, tried to move in the direction of a solution but the process stalled again when he asked for guarantees that the ban would remain for civil servants and elementary and secondary school students.

  1. Mandatory Education (4+4+4) Row:

A recent law that redefined the terms of mandatory education in Turkey has opened up a new debate in the country. The law increases the term of mandatory education in Turkey to 12 years on the basis of three tiers, with each tier consisting of four years of schooling. The first two tiers of education will consequently be defined as primary education, while the third tier, consisting of schools that provide general, vocational or technical education, is going to be defined as secondary education. The Government also introduced new optional courses for pupils including: Quran, the Prophet’s life and Kurdish language (added later than the first two). Another course on Religion and Ethics (Din Kültürü ve Ahlak Bilgisi) is already mandatory in all schools. Inclusion of possible courses on other religions/denominations and languages is still being debated. These dimensions draw reaction from the Nationalist and Secularist parts of the society as departure from the “democratic and secular state”. The legislation allows students to attend religious schools (İmam Hatip Liseleri) after their first tier. However the rest of vocational high schools will not have “second tiers” (Orta kısım). First real-life implementation of the law will be witnessed from September 2012. The law has faced harsh criticism for potentially opening the door for conservative parents to remove their daughters from high school in favor of home study, as a distance learning option is also introduced for the last four years. The mai n opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) appeal for the annulment of the controversial 4+4+4 education bill on procedural grounds was unanimously declined by the Constitutional Court. However, the party intends to file a revision petition to the court for the annulment of the law for substantive content. The CHP’s first court case was based on an argument that most articles of the bill were approved without any debate in Parliament’s Education Commission.

  1. Turkey as a global strategic partner:

Supported by its strong economic growth, Turkey is gaining an increasingly pro-active role in the international arena, including through its foreign policy; increased role as a donor; and a blend of international trade and business. In 2011, Turkish ODA grew by 30 percent, reaching almost $1.3 billion. Turkey’s global engagement, including through the United Nations, has also increased significantly on a number of priority issues:

  • Turkey is elevating its role and emphasis on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), hosting a number of international conferences in this regard including the LDC IV Conference in Istanbul (May 2011); as follow-up, the country pledged $200 million to its LDC fund. Turkey has expressed strong interest and commitment to supporting LDCs through its ODA and through south-south cooperation. Turkey also hosted the Second Istanbul Conference on Somalia (May 2012).

  • In line with its growing ODA, there is an increasing engagement by Turkey’s development agency, TIKA, to cooperate on specific projects in the Europe and CIS region (notably the Western Balkans and Central Asia) as well as the Arab States, Africa, and Afghanistan. A key component of this would be TIKA’s engagement in supporting south-south cooperation and also triangulation, drawing on Turkey’s expertise and experience as a Middle Income Country. In particular, strengthening TIKA’s capacities would be linked with its leading role among MICs in sharing knowledge and expertise.

  • Turkey is committed to sharing its experience with a strong and dynamic private sector with other countries in the region as well as globally, including with LDCs. The Government has committed $3 million to establish the UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development in March 2011, to engage the private sector constructively in supporting global and local efforts to address development challenges.

  • Turkey co-hosted the Global HD forum in Istanbul and took an active stance at Rio+20, where UNDP supported its side-event. UNDP is supporting Turkey’s leadership linking its post-Rio vision and its role in development cooperation with the global process of formulating post-2015 goals, in which Turkey is very interested (it will chair the G20 in 2015)

  • Turkey is considering OECD-DAC accession, and sees UNDP as a crucial partner in making this happen. Also, given Turkey’s ambition for the G20 presidency this could have positive implications for the development agenda.

  • Interaction with Turkey since December 2011 has included several high level visits: Associate Administrator in March and mid-April 2012, RBEC Director in July 2012.

  • The Government of Turkey has expressed its strong interest in Istanbul as a regional hub for the United Nations. In this context at least one UN Agency (UNFPA) has already relocated its regional presence to Istanbul, while discussions with UN Women, FAO, WFP etc. are underway. Turkey’s commitment to its partnership with the UN is also evident through the new Partnership Framework Agreement between Turkey and UNDP signed in 2011.

Turkey continues to be an important player in the global economy. The economy has shown remarkable performance with its steady growth over the last eight years and the country is listed as the 16th largest economy in the world and the 6th largest economy when compared with the EU countries, according to GDP figures in 2011. The macroeconomic strategy and major structural reforms in effect since 2002 have transformed the country into one of the major recipients of FDI in its region. The improvements in the economy have also boosted foreign trade, while exports reached USD 135 billion by the end of 2011, up from USD 36 billion in 2002. Similarly, tourism revenues, which were around USD 8.5 billion in 2002, exceeded USD 23 billion in 2011.
Growth Rate: As the reforms have strengthened the macroeconomic fundamentals of the country, the economy grew with an average annual real GDP growth rate of 5.2% over the past nine years between 2002 and 2011. GDP reached over USD 800 billion in 2011, up from USD 231 billion in 2002. The economy expanded by 9.2% in 2010, and 8.5% in 2011, thus standing out as the fastest growing economy in Europe, and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. According to the OECD, Turkey is expected to maintain record of its economic performance among the OECD countries during 2011-2017, with an annual average growth rate of 6.7%. The Economist Intelligence Unit, however, predicts that the real annual GDP growth is expected to slow down from 8.6% in 2011 to 3.2% in 2012, before picking up to about 4% in 2013 and 5% in 2014-16.
Poverty rate in Turkey is 18% while extreme poverty rate is less than 0.5%. The percentage of the population at risk of poverty is, however, very high especially in rural areas and among children. Decreasing unemployment is one of the top priorities of the Government. The unemployment rate was 6.5% in 2000 but increased to 14.0% in 2009. According to the latest employment data (May 2012): unemployment rate is 8.2% (down from 9.4% in May 2011); youth unemployment rates is 15.9% (down from 17.5% in May 2011); women’s labor participation rate is 30.2%, showing marginal improvement but remaining unacceptably low when compared to that of men: 69.8%.
Inflation: Partly because of the weakening of the lira in 2011 and a spike in oil prices earlier in 2012, consumer price inflation has been running well above Central Bank’s target. The Producer Prices increased by 6.13% in July 2012, on a year-on-year basis. With 9.07% change in the same period, consumer prices increased at a higher rate. According to the Central Bank inflation will slow down to 6.5% this year and reach the 5% target by mid-2013.
Current account deficit: A key macroeconomic issue in Turkey has been the sizeable current account deficit, which amounted to about 6 % of GDP during 2006-2008. It reached 10% of GDP in 2011, driven by a credit-fuelled rise in import demand and higher oil prices. Much of this deficit has been traditionally financed through large foreign direct investment and portfolio inflows. The rapid increase in Turkey's current-account deficit in 2010-11, however, raises serious concern about the sustainability of its economic performance in the years to come.
Structural reforms: The main objectives of the structural reforms, hastened by Turkey’s EU accession process, were to increase the role of the private sector in the Turkish economy, to enhance the efficiency and resiliency of the financial sector, and to place the social security system on a more solid foundation. The key transformation in the social security and health sector included the disbandment of the former social security institutions and creating a single social security scheme for civil servants, employees and self-employed. However, important structural reforms remain, especially related to Turkey’s high tax rates, a large informal economy and energy supply bottlenecks.
Energy Sector:

Turkey relies heavily on imported energy (natural gas and oil). Turkey’s primary energy consumption is ca. 12bn TEP/annum, 87% of which fossil fuels. The Government has introduced several initiatives to increase the share of renewable energy in Turkey’s total energy consumption. These included provision of incentives for solar and wind energy (though significantly lower than those feed-in tariffs provided in some European Countries), provision of licenses for small-scale hydraulic power plants. The adjustment of energy prices and resumption of privatization of energy distribution signify government efforts to rationalize and reform the sector. The Government has also published its energy efficiency action plan focusing initially on public sector buildings, and expanding gradually to private households, industry and transport.

6 Will there be Additional Functions?

The Resident Coordinator acts as the Humanitarian Coordinator in case of an emergency. This role has been particularly important recently due to the Van earthquake in 2011, and the influx of refugees from Syria in 2011 and 2012 (currently at approximately 74,000 as per UNHCR estimates).

7 Is RC also the Director of UNIC?

8 Is there an SRSG or other Special Envoy of the SG assigned to the country?

9 List all represented UN Funds, Programmes and Agencies

The UN system in Turkey is currently comprised of 12 resident agencies FAO, ILO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNIC, UNICEF, UNIDO, UNODC, WFP and WHO. IOM is also invited to the UNCT. Additionally the Resident Coordinator represents UNIC, UNEP, UNOPS, WHO, IOM, UNODC, WFP, and UNESCO.

10 List all Inter-Agency Task Forces and/or UN Theme Groups operational in the country
Thematic Groups have been established both as a platform of inter-agency collaboration and as means for monitoring the implementation and progress of the UN Development Cooperation Strategy. The Theme Groups are:

  • Public Administration and Justice,

  • Gender;

  • Environmental Sustainability and Resilience;

  • Equity and Inclusive Public Services;

  • Regional Development and Poverty Alleviation;

  • HIV/AIDs;

  • Knowledge Management and Communication; and

  • Office Management Team.

11 Status of Development Planning Instruments

    • Country Strategy Note (CSN): Superseded by CPD 2011-2015

    • Common Country Assessment (CCA): MDG Report prepared in 2005

    • Harmonization of Programme Cycles: UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA Country Programme Cycles are harmonized since 2001 and were aligned to Turkey’s 9th 5-year Development Plan of 2007-2013, in line with the EU accession requirements and its planning to EU cycle 2007-2013.

    • United Nations Development Cooperation Strategy: The UNCT under the ownership and leadership of the Government has undertaken a pioneer initiative to develop a prototype for repositioning the UN system in the Middle Income Countries. Accordingly instead of United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), a novel, lighter and higher level focused “UN Development Cooperation Strategy (UNDCS)” covering the period 2011-2015 has been developed and is being implemented by UNCT in Turkey. UNDCS not only aims to assist Turkey in addressing its development challenges but also provides for the opportunity to UN system to benefit from the knowledge, expertise and development experience of Turkey and help other developing countries through SSC and triangular cooperation etc.

12 Key Political and Socio-Economic issues significant for UN System Development Assistance and Cooperation:

  • Transition period in membership to the European Union continues

  • Governance and participatory development policies

  • Gender Mainstreaming

  • Local governance and revision of legislation on local authorities

  • Reduction of socio-economic and regional disparities

  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives

  • Preserving cultural heritage

  • Increased awareness of the UN Conventions and increased mobilization of human and financial resources for their implementation

  • Rights of children and youth

  • Contribution to the 10th National Development Plan and the post 2015 development framework

  • Partnering with Turkey and leveraging its expertise, knowledge and ODA to help other developing countries

13 Highlights of UN assistance for disaster risk reduction and preparedness

  • Under UNDP’s programme with the Ministry of Planning for Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’, for the establishment of a Regional Centre for Disaster Information and Research in Turkey, was signed by Turkey, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan in 2007 in Ankara.

  • Since 2008 studies have been undertaken to examine the possibility of a national platform in Turkey. Those studies have been led by a committee consisting of main actors involved in disaster management in Turkey.

  • In 2009, after a restructuring period, the newly established Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Turkey (AFAD) continued being the focal point of those studies.

  • UNDP-led national workshop on Turkey’s Disaster Risk Assessment was organized in September 2011 in Ankara where the officials from all relevant institutions of the country where officials evaluated Turkey’s disaster risk situation. UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), through its Global Risk Identification Programme (GRIP), has developed a comprehensive solution package for implementing disaster risk assessment in disaster-prone 8 IPA countries in the Southeast Europe region.

  • In June 2011 UNDP BCPR Disaster Risk Reduction Capacity Assessment Report for Turkey was published.

  • In 2012 UNDP has launched a project, funded by UNDP/BCPR and Kuwait Government, with the General Directorate of Family and Community Services to establish two Community Centers that integrate gender-sensitive crisis response and recovery as well as psychosocial counseling services for women in the Van province, which was hit by a series of earthquake in October 2011.

  • The Government is keen to establish a DRR related Center of Excellence in Istanbul in conjunction with WB, UNDP and AFAD.

14 Highlights of collaborative UN Assistance

UN Development Cooperation Strategy (UNDCS) 2011-2015 has three focus areas: (i) Environmental and Democratic Governance; (ii) Disparity Reduction, Social Inclusion and Basic Public Services; and (iii) Poverty and Employment; and seven high level results which would constitute the bases for contributing to the national development agenda and particularly achievement of the MDGs. Besides, UN system will engage in making use of Turkey’s convening power and development threshold to assist the LDCs and the countries in the region through south-south cooperation and other modalities.
The UN Joint Programmes in Turkey funded by MDG-F are: Enhancing the Capacity of Turkey to Adapt to Climate Change; Harnessing Sustainable Linkages for SMEs in Turkey’s Textile Sector; Growth with Decent Work for All: National Youth Employment Programme and Pilot Implementation in Antalya; Alliances for Culture Tourism (ACT) in Eastern Anatolia.
Joint Programmes on Gender related issues involving the private sector and foundations are gaining significant momentum.
The UNCT in Turkey has also embarked on UN Knowledge Management System to facilitate sharing and exchanging knowledge products, best practices, lessons learned and technical papers among the UN agencies and to maximize synergies. The KM system also purports to prepare a compendium of Turkey’s Knowledge Products to eventually facilitate better, efficieint and more focused delivery of Turkey’s ODA.
15 Key elements of current year’s RC Work Plan

  • Institution of a robust M&E system for successful implementation of UNDCS

  • Engagement with EU and WB to further enhance the aid coordination function with the government

  • Capacity-development for UN staff

  • Strengthening of Thematic Groups

  • Build partnerships for UN Agencies with the private sector in UN’s core areas

  • Ensure sustainability of MDG-F UN Joint Programmes

  • Increase number of joint initiatives/programmes

  • Follow-up on Millennium Development Goals and contribute to the development of post 2015 development framework

  • Further harmonization of inter-agency operational and administrative procedures

  • Gender equality and rights-based approach, bringing HIV/AIDS on the national agenda

  • Strengthening emergency prepared and response function of the UN system

  • Knowledge sharing and full functioning of knowledge Management System.

16 Status of Common Premises

The UN House, comprising UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNIDO, UNIC, WFP, UNODC, WHO, DSS and IOM, was established in June 2002. Since FAO became a sub-regional office and the Ministry of Agriculture has provided it free office space, it moved out of the UN House in 2007. UNHCR and ILO also have offices outside the UN House. UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (EECARO) moved to Istanbul in 2011. UN Women and FAO are contemplating regional/liaison outfits in Istanbul while a request has been made to the Secretary General to establish a UN Hub in Istanbul for which the Government would provide, inter alia, free of charge premises.
17 Status of Common Services

Agencies located in the UN House have common contracts for services on travel, logistics, cleaning, drinking water, security, procurement of goods and services, translation, maintenance services, forwarding and clearing services, pouch and stationary. There is an existing corporate cost recovery system for services provided by UNDP. The Government has also agreed in principle to provide free of charge premises for the construction of UN house in Incek and already written to Treasury to make a budgetary allocation for the purpose (April 2012). The existing UN House is in a private rented building and costs close to $ 850,000 annually for rental and utilities and services.

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