Statement by Turkey at UNICEF Executive Board Meeting

Başak Yalçın 18.09.2018
Mr. President,
Madam Executive Director,

We cannot commend enough UNICEF for its ardent advocacy for children.

A child is a child.

Whether stateless, undocumented, seeking asylum, refugee or migrant. Every child has the very same right to be protected, to keep learning and to receive the care and services.

Unfortunately, multiple humanitarian crises of our time put this most vulnerable group at risk.

The number of child refugees under UNHCR’s mandate has more than doubled in just 10 years.

Nearly 50 million children have migrated across borders or been forcibly displaced.

As governments, we have the primary responsibility to address their needs.

By adopting the “New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants” in 2016, we acknowledged children’s vulnerabilities and specific needs, and committed to fully protect their rights, regardless of status.

This year, in New York and Geneva, we negotiated 2 key documents, to coordinate our policies for providing better living conditions to migrants. UNICEF has a crucial role to play in the implementation of the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migrants.

As the largest refugee hosting country in the world, on different occasions, we shared our experience with Syrians who sought refuge in Turkey. We will continue our efforts towards the resilience and well-being of more than 1 million Syrian children in our country.

Mr. President,

Responses to humanitarian crises should also involve the private sector. In recent years, OCHA has been forming innovative partnerships with the private sector to strengthen emergency preparedness and response. This model of collaboration has become more and more important given the increasing number of people affected by humanitarian crises.

Madam Executive Director, in her speech, mentioned innovative ways to marry technology and the needs of children and communities.

I also would like to share a Turkish example. The electronics brand BEKO launched this year a global campaign to help prevent childhood obesity via its “Eat Like a Pro” initiative. While BEKO highlighted awareness about the challenge of obesity in childhood, it also raised one million Euros for UNICEF by encouraging people all over the world to share their healthy eating habits on social media.

We should multiply these initiatives in order to improve lives.

I also would like to briefly touch upon the Young People’s Agenda, which is dedicated to expanding opportunities for youth. The Agenda is key given the complexity of the present crises, to ensure that every young person is in school, learning, training or employment by 2030. We attach importance to UNICEF’s contribution to the goals of the Agenda and support resource mobilization for the implementation of its Strategic Plan for 2018-2021.

On a final note, as we will discuss UNICEF’s response to the cholera epidemic in Yemen during this session, we commend the tireless efforts of UNICEF staff who helped replenish health centres and provided vulnerable groups with basic health items.

Turkey allocated 1 million USD to UNICEF, in order to support its programme on cholera response for children in Yemen. We are committed to do all we can to assist the children and young people of this country.

Mr. President,

We will continue to promote the mission and work of UNICEF so that every child is:
-protected from violence and exploitation,
-living in a safe and clean environment
-and has a fair chance in life.

The 5 goal areas of UNICEF’s Strategic Plan should be the driving force in our endeavors to contribute to the realization of the rights of all children.

Thank you.