Statement by H.E. Mithat Rende in "UNDP-TİKA Conference on International Development Cooperation:Trends and Emerging Opportunities-Perspectives of New Actors"

Mithat Rend 19.06.2014
UNDP-TIKA Conference on
International Development Cooperation: Trends and Emerging Opportunities-Perspectives of New Actors
June 19-20, 2014
Istanbul, Turkey

Statement by H.E. Mithat Rende
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of
Turkey to the OECD

I would like to express my appreciation to TIKA and the UNDP for organizing such an important conference in Istanbul.

Istanbul, given its strategic location between the East and the West is the right place for such an event concerning the role and perspectives of new actors in the global development landscape.

This conference is also very timely in that the international community has been in search of a new development paradigm, one that is inclusive and transformative, leaving no country behind.

One important reality is that wealth is shifting to emerging economies, particularly to the east to Asia and Southeast Asia.

OECD countries account for 60% of the global economy. Together with BRIICS (including Indonesia-BRIICS with two “I”s), they account for almost 90% of the world economy.

Economic and financial crises of 2007-2008 assumed a global nature very quickly. The global recovery remains very fragile. Growth has been uneven and unequitable. People are insecure. That is why the need and call for governments must put societies, people and fighting inequality at the center of policies emerged very visibly. This is the key challenge.

The West has been trying to establish the root causes of the crisis so that necessary lessons could be learned and traditional concepts of growth and development are revised with a view to having more sophisticated and in-depth approaches. The recent crisis showed us all that GDP growth alone will not suffice for achieving sustainable development embracing all segments of our societies.

We are now looking at growth models for all segments of societies and all sectors. One that is more energy efficient, sustainable and, more importantly, equitable. This is the inclusive growth model.

While the LDCs and the poorest segments of the global community did not cause the global crises, they were the ones that got affected the most. That is exactly why “equality” and “empowerment of the people and societies” through higher rates of growth and job creation underlined by “equal opportunity” came to the forefront in recent years.

All governments across the globe are looking at the social impact of the global crises and problems arising from inequality. The best-selling book on Amazon today is on impact of inequality and equitable growth.

How the current state of inequality globally came around? While the prospects for economic growth look dim, will the poor get left behind, again?

This is even more relevant for the LDCs. The key question here then would become whether or not the LDCs will get left behind in this process of global and sustainable economic growth.

Development policies and models must be more integrating and inclusive. The post-2015 development agenda, therefore, becomes all the more important today.

Turkey believes that post-2015 development agenda should be inclusive with a “no-one left behind” approach.

MDGs and post-2015 goals should be considered as a framework for developed countries towards the developing world also within the “development cooperation” perspective.

This framework should go beyond being a set of performance indicators for developing and less developed countries for their own development level and turn into concrete action. We are encouraging the OECD to contribute to preparing an “action plan” or a “roadmap,” setting how to support the post-2015 goals by developed countries in global scale.

Development Assistance Committee is already doing substantial work on this, which Turkey follows closely and with great interest.

Sustainable development should be at the core of the agenda so that global environmental concerns can be integrated with economic and social priorities. The principle of the supremacy of the rule of law should constitute the fourth dimension.

Economic growth should concentrate on job creation and inclusiveness. Institutional arrangements should be reconsidered for good governance to ensure open, accountable and effective institutions for all.

Promoting gender equality and women is a specific target that is gaining even further traction. For post-2015 agenda, goals related to empowerment of the youth and disadvantaged, vulnerable or underrepresented groups could be designed.

In short, fighting poverty and ensuring a standard of living that is dignified for all should be our utmost priority.

Trade will also play a key role for the development agenda. We need to stay clear from protectionist measures, which were on the rise in response to the global crises. Freeing trade in a more equitable way for the development process will be important. We should look for ways so as to further integrate developing countries into GVCs. The development aid policies should be designed to help building developing countries’ capacity to trade successfully. Developing countries want acknowledgement that this process is a “two way street.”

In other words, open trade and investment policies and a transparent and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system are crucial for restring long term global economic growth. The Trade Facilitation agreement reached in Bali has renewed our faith in the multilateral system.

Aid and development assistance will remain to be central in global development efforts, especially for the LDCs.

Coordination of aid policies and flows together with policy coherence for development, South-South cooperation, but more importantly Triangular Cooperation will determine the future dynamics.

Emerging economies, as they are becoming key players in the global economy, have also risen as the “new donors” with their own ways and means of developing assistance.

What is Turkey doing for the LDCs against this backdrop?

For the new development agenda, Turkey also believes that a “human centered” development approach will be instrumental, which should have the main axis of equality and sustainability.

Turkey places particular priority to the challenges faced by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

We understand certain needs of the LDCs. We are contributing to global efforts to raise awareness within the international community regarding these countries’ development-related concerns and problems.

Part of the reason why Turkey can empathize is because it went through similar challenges itself as a developing nation.

It is with this understanding that Turkey successfully hosted the 4th United Nations Conference on the LDCs in Istanbul in May 2011. The summit brought together Governments, parliamentarians, academics, as well as representatives of civil society organizations and the private sector.

The Conference was a historical milestone for bringing the LDCs’ challenges and problems to the attention of the international community.

The Istanbul Program of Action adopted at the Conference is a valuable, forward-looking reference document that reflects the international community’s strong political will to support the LDCs.

It must be effectively followed up and implemented. Ownership by all stakeholders is an essential element. New understanding of global partnerships that will support the goals is crucial. Partnerships among government, business community, academia and private philanthropy for better implementation of sustainable development principles should be promoted.

Another significant initiative we have taken is the Economic and Technical Cooperation Package towards LDCs.

The Package commits 200 million US Dollars annually to LDCs towards technical cooperation projects and programs, as well as scholarships. Priority projects have been identified for rapid implementation.

The 200 million Dollar package is ambitious and wide-ranging. Its principal elements include, among others, development and technical cooperation projects, trade support, technology transfer programs and sharing of best practices in areas such as efficient use of water resources, climate change, forestry, agriculture, tourism and poverty alleviation.

To make the work permanent and sustainable Turkey has proposed to host an “International Science, Technology and Innovation Center” and an “International Agriculture Center” dedicated to the LDCs.

Another means of assisting LDCs in their development efforts is our aim to increase the level of direct investment in the LDCs through the involvement of the private sector to a total of 5 billion dollars by 2015 and strive for increasing this amount to 10 billion dollars by 2020.

Turkey has also emerged as an important donor with close to 3.3 billion Dollars of aid in 2013 alone, which is almost 0.41% of its national income. This number reflects a 30% increase in comparison to 2012 figures.

As an emerging donor country and development partner, Turkey is determined to continue its active engagement with the LDCs in all related platforms and is fully committed to further expanding its growing contributions to the efforts for finding lasting solutions to their complex problems and challenges.

As we will assume the Chairmanship of the G-20 in 2015, the LDCs will be one of the priorities of our G-20 Chairmanship.

What needs to be done for LDCs?

The world cannot remain indifferent to LDCs development processes and problems. We cannot act as if it is “business as usual” any more. The world must focus on the problems of the LDCs.

Poverty eradication and integration of LDCs into the global community and economy in a meaningful way remain as key challenges, but not addressing this issue will be tantamount to missing link in the global economy.

A more equitable, just and inclusive growth model with a specific focus on integrating the LDCs at the global level is essential.

While development aid is key, it is not the only tool. We need to transform from aid effectiveness to development effectiveness, meaning that if the donors take the right steps, developing countries and LDCs will also step up to assume their responsibility on education, good governance, transparency, rule of law, creation of more suitable investment environment.

Discussions on Post-2015 development agenda will be determining factor well into 2020s. After the global crises, and the missing link with respect to LDCs this issue has become more important.

Trade should be used more effectively for the global development agenda. Governments should assume a more “human centered” approach through education, skills, pursuit of innovation and technology.

Better and more efficient infrastructure will be essential for development. LDCs’ governments should be supported in their work to guarantee access to energy and water. will be key. They should be conducive to open and transparent environments for SMEs, entreprenurship and investment.

Turkey, in its capacity as an emerging market, and a G20 member with a huge aid program, and with its own development process and challenges as well as experience, and its success stories in various sectors stands ready to contribute to the global development agenda that fosters these elements.

2015 will also be a year of Turkey’s substantive contributions through its presidency of G20 and following up on the UN LDCs Conference of 2011 with a mid-term review conference.


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