“On the Pathway to Deliver Commitments to LDCs: National Strategies and Actions” 18 December 2014

Mithat RENDE 18.12.2014
Distinguished Participants,

I wouldlike to thank the OECD Development Centre and Chairman of the Governing Board Ambassador Hans Jurgen Heimsoeth for organizing this meeting for launching the LDC IV Monitor Report.

I also thank Mr. Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre and his Deputy Mr. Federico Bonaglia not only for their important contributions for bringing out such an important source of reference on the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) for the LDCs, but also for their efforts to make this launch possible today.

The Monitor is an important collaborative initiative of the Development Center with several think tanks from OECD members and LDCs. I am pleased that the University of Galatasaray from Turkey is also part of this consortium.

Distinguished Participants,

One of the principal goals of Turkey’s foreign policy is to help secure a peaceful, prosperous, stable and cooperative environment which is conducive to human development in its region and beyond.

Turkey has been a dynamic actor in the international development cooperation architecture. Development cooperation has become an integral part of Turkey’s foreign policy.

In addition, Turkey has recently emerged as an important donor. The 3.3 billion Dollars of aid realized in 2013 constitutes 0.41percentage points of the GDP. This number is above the OECD average and reflects a 30% increase in comparison to 2012 figures.

As a development partner, we place particular priority to the challenges faced by the LDCs. We are contributing to global efforts to raise awareness within the international community regarding LDCs’ development-related problems and priorities.

It is with this understanding that Turkey hosted the 4th United Nations Conference on the LDCs in Istanbul in May 2011. The Istanbul Program of Action (IPoA) adopted during this Conference was a historical milestone for bringing the LDCs’ challenges and problems to the attention of the international community.

The most prominent features of the IPoA are the greater importance given to building the productive capacity of the LDCs’ economies, promoting structural transformation and the commitment for half of the LDCs to reach the criteria of graduation by 2020.

The latter may seem ambitious. However, in our view it is achievable if the necessary political will is displayed on the part of development partners.

We believe that IPoA must be effectively followed up and implemented. To this end, Turkey has offered to host a high-level Midterm Review of the IPoA in Antalya for a period of 3 days in June 2016 at the highest possible political level. A draft decision titled "Follow-up to the United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries" is expected to be adopted soon by the Second Committee in UN.

Distinguished Participants,

Another significant initiative was Turkey’s Economic and Technical Cooperation Package towards LDCs which remain heavily dependent on ODA. The Package commits 200 million US Dollars annually to LDCs.

I am pleased to inform you that the total value of projects implemented in LDCs in 2012 and 2013 were 337 million and 286 million USD, respectively.

The Package is ambitious and wide-ranging. Its principal elements include, among others, developmental 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.

During the IV. UN LDCs Conference, we have also declared our commitment to increase the level of direct investment in the LDCs through the involvement of the Turkish private sector to a total of 5 billion dollars by 2015 and strive for increasing this amount to 10 billion dollars by 2020.

Dear Participants,

Turkey's national development agency, TİKA, is in charge of the evaluation and implementation of our development program and projects.

TİKA currently operates in 120 countries through 39 Program Coordination offices. 8 offices out of these 39 are located in LDC’s (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Niger, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen).

We continue to contribute to the development of African LDCs by improving economic and commercial ties in the context of “The Strategy for Improving Commercial and Economic Relations with Africa” which has been implemented since 2003.

Under this strategy, our trade volume with African countries, which was 5.5 billion dollars in 2003, reached 23.4 billion dollars at the end of 2013.

Our investments in this region reached nearly 6 billion dollars.

We believe that the establishment of a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Center (Technology Bank) dedicated to the LDCs will be an important step in assisting LDCs to achieve the goals in the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA).

Turkey announced in 2011, its readiness to host the Technology Bank. We have committed to make a contribution of 200.000 Dollars for its feasibility study as well.

The UNSG Ban Ki-moon has recently appointed the Chair and members of the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) which will carry out the work for its establishment, including a Terms of Reference for its feasibility study. The first meeting of HLPE will be held in İstanbul on 16-17 February 2015.

Dear Participants,

In addition to the huge burden assumed to host 1.6 million Syrians, our assistance to Somalia had a significant share in Turkey’s total development aid. In fact, Turkish humanitarian and development aid to Somalia has amounted to around 400 million USD so far.

Besides humanitarian aid, Turkish government and NGOs have been building and operating hospitals in and outside of Mogadishu. We are also actively involved in the field of education by training and educating Somalian professionals and supporting educational infrastructure of Somalia.

Turkey has also been active in the rehabilitation of transport infrastructure. Turkish Airlines is still the only international airline flying directly to Mogadishu.

Lastly, an important part of our support to Somalia involves the security sector. We are supporting the Somali National Army in various ways in close coordination with international partners. Turkey is co-leading the Second PSG (Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Group) on Security together with the US as part of the Somali Compact, the international community’s framework for development in Somalia.

Distinguished Participants,

The deadline to meet Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is fast approaching. We are in a process to draft a new set of universal development goals for the next decades. 2015 will be a key year for development cooperation as United Nations Summit will be convened in September during which post-2015 development agenda is expected to be adopted by member states. The Third International Conference on Financing for Development as well as the First Human Development Summit will also be held in 2015, the latter to be hosted by Turkey in İstanbul.

Special attention should be given to complete the unfinished business of MDGs as well as to address emerging challenges for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) linked to climate change, environmental degradation, food and energy security. Views and concerns of LDCs must be reflected in the post 2015 development agenda.

In that context, during G-20 Presidency Turkey will place development at the center of its G20 agenda. Our primary focus will be on further enhancing the integration of developing and low-income countries into the world economy through concrete and growth-oriented actions.

During our Presidency, we will emphasize the link between growth and investment, especially on infrastructure which is vital to the LDCs. We will put effort to bring together the reforms that improve the investment climate and unlock private sector investment for both infrastructure and SMEs.

Long term investment is essential for infrastructure which is key for production and trade. Lifting growth, boosting demand and creating jobs are all investment related issues that will have priority in the agenda of the Turkish Presidency.

Supporting food security in the developing world will be given particular attention, focusing on sustainable food systems and improving productivity in smallholder farms. During our Presidency, the Food Security and Nutrition Framework will be implemented for the first time. We intend to provide the much needed global traction to this field by convening the Ministers of Agriculture of G-20 countries. Meetings of G20 Ministers of Energy and Ministers of Labour will also be held.

Major issues for sustainable development such as energy and climate finance will also be key focus areas of the Turkish presidency. Given that 2015 will be a crucial year for climate change negotiations under the UNFCCC, the issue of climate change and more specifically the climate finance architecture will be accorded due attention. The G20 leaders will have a unique opportunity in November 2015 to give a clear message to the world ahead of the COP 21 which will take place in Paris in December 2015.

To conclude, I would like to stress that Turkey values very much the significant contribution of the OECD and the Development Centre to the work of G20 and we look forward to working closely with the OECD Secretariat and member countries towards strong and inclusive growth, sustainable development, good governance, poverty reduction, prosperity and well being.

Thank you.


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