Statement by Turkey Economic and Social Council 2016 Session Humanitarian Affairs Segment General Discussion
Güven Begeç 27.06.2016
Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year’s Humanitarian Segment is particularly relevant and timely, as it provides us with the first inter-governmental platform to discuss the outcomes of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and the ways to take them forward, and also follow-up our commitments.
Contemporary humanitarian crises worsen in degree and complexity. Moreover, such crises are transcending borders as the recent tragic exodus of refugees and effects of epidemics like Ebola have bitterly reminded the international community once again. What is more distressing is the ever-growing dichotomy between increasing needs on unprecedented levels and limited available resources.
There is still a lot of work ahead of us to tackle these challenges.
However, the determination of the member states and other stakeholders put forward at the Istanbul Summit gives us hope for the future of humanity. The level of participation of member states and other stakeholders at the Istanbul Summit and the global attention it has garnered demonstrated a strong call for our shared committment to humanity. In the next months and years, we should recall this spirit of solidarity and act together to reduce and prevent human suffering.
The conflict in Syria has led to the largest refugee crisis of our time, with colossal human, economic and social costs for the refugees, host countries and host communities. We have a collective responsibility to act on the immediate consequences as well as on the underlying causes of conflict.
Turkey has maintained an "open door" policy since 2011 for Syrians fleeing from violence in their country, and we remain committed to this policy. Besides safety and protection, Turkey attributes utmost importance to their well-being, through provision of health care, education, oas well. They are also provided with food and non-food items, psycho-social assistance and vocational training.
While we are hosting millions of Syrians in need in Turkey in an examplary way, we also contribute to efforts to stem irregular crossings in the Aegean Sea based on an agreement with the EU. The agreement which led to a success in decreasing the irregular crossings is built on the spirit of burden and responsibility sharing that Turkey has been advocating since the eruption of the Syrian crisis.
We made this agreement not only to curb irregular migration in the Aegean but also to create legal pathways towards the EU countries.
We believe that the United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on 19 September will provide an important opportunity to emphasize and catalyze action on the need for global responsibility sharing and comprehensive response to refugee crises around the world. It will also serve as a platform for member states to follow-up on their commitments announced at the Isatnbul Summit on the issue of displacement and leaving no one behind.
Turkey’s helping hand will continue to reach not only the displaced around it, but also to all those affected by disasters and conflicts in its neighborhood and beyond, which essentially contributes to the stability of international community as well.
The theme of this year’s Humanitarian Affairs Segment is particularly relevant. The effects of humanitarian crises can be alleviated by humanitarian aid. but they can be never eliminated without a sustainable and holistic approach. It is crucially important to address the humanitarian crises of recurrent and protracted nature.
In addition, a crucial part of the Sustainable Development Goals is related to taking urgent action to combat climate change and other environmental challenges.
This is the main philosophy behind the Turkish policy. Our approach is based on the combined use of humanitarian and development assistance along with various tools in a concerted way. To finance our activities, Turkey has steadily increased its official development assistance, reaching the level of 3,91 billion Dollars in 2015.
Turkey reiterates its readiness to share its experience and expertise in its policies helping to overcome humanitarian-development divide for the benefit of those in need in relevant crises.
Turkey considers Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as one of the main inputs for its national development plans, strategies and visions, while ensuring a national setting that facilitates the effective contribution of all relevant stakeholders for the planning, implementation and review of SDGs.
Progress in realizing the 2030 Agenda cannot be made without addressing the challenges of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The High Level Comprehensive Mid-Term Review of the Istanbul Program of Action (MTR) in Antalya on 27-29 May was an important opportunity to reaffirm the global commitment to address the special needs of the least developed countries.
Turkey’s hosting of the Mid-Term Review is a reflection of its increasing contributions to finding solutions to global to international development cooperation.
Whether it is through inter-governmental platforms like ECOSOC, initiatves such as “Solutions Alliance” or through the efforts of cross-regional groups like MIKTA, Turkey stands ready to build on the global momentum the World Humanitarian Summit generated and to work in partnership with all stakeholders to improve our collective response.