Address by H.E. Ambassador Kenan Tepedelen Coordinator for Turkey's Relations With the LDCs at the Special Event on "Making Globalization Work for the LDCs: Follow up the Ministerial Conference of the LDCs (Istanbul 9-11 July 2007)

Kenan Tepedelen 02.04.2008
Mr. High Representative
Mr. Administrator,
Distinguished Permanent Representative of Bangladesh
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank High Representative Mr. Diarra for helping organize this special event as well as for his kind introduction.

In my capacity as the Coordinator for Turkey's Relations with the Least Developed Countries, it is a distinct pleasure for me to be able to address such a distinguished audience on this significant occasion.

As you know, we are gathered here today as part of a follow-up to the Ministerial Conference of the LDCs held in İstanbul on 9-11 July 2007. In this regard, H.E. Mr. Kemal Derviş will kindly introduce a new publication illustrating the results of this Conference, which was prepared under the leadership of the UNDP and for which we are truly grateful.

Also, the Chairman of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) will give you a briefing on the development assistance provided by their organization to the LDCs and how best to make use of this assistance.

These being the substantial elements of today's meeting, allow me to first share with you Turkey's general approach towards the LDCs and what in tangible terms we have been doing to respond to the challenges faced by those countries.

First and foremost, the world can not be a safe place to live unless we ensure an equitable and sustainable development for all. One part of the globe can not advance and benefit from globalization, when other parts are suffering from its consequences.

Therefore, meeting the formidable challenges facing the LDCs in particular and enabling them to enjoy sustainable development become a collective responsibility for the entire international community.

It is with this conviction that Turkey has decided to pursue an active and robust foreign policy geared towards developing its relations with the LDCs, including through exploring and putting in place mutually beneficial projects of cooperation.

To this end, we have been active in almost all possible fronts delving upon political, economic, social and cultural areas of cooperation. But for the purpose of this meeting, I will confine myself mainly with our assistance activities which cut across almost every aspect of our developing partnership with the LDCs.

In fact, Turkey's role as an emerging donor country has been quite visible for some time. Initially, our contributions have rather focused in our immediate vicinity. But in time and in parallel with our efforts to further deepen our relations with the LDCs, the share of the African and Asian countries within Turkey's total assistance has been on a steady increase.

In this regard, and to give you a better idea of what I am referring to, allow me to share with you some figures starting with Turkey's Official Development Assistance (ODA).

For instance, the Official Development Assistance provided by Turkey in 2006 amounted to 715 million US Dollars. However, this number reached 1.7 billion US Dollars when you include the private sector development assistance.

Even more importantly, though, we estimate that we have managed to increase this figure by almost 50% in 2007, although I do not yet have the final figures.

With a particular focus to the LDCs, on the other hand, a fund of 15 million US Dollars was established for the implementation of projects in the LDCs, Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Furthermore, during the Istanbul Conference of last year, Turkey has also earmarked another 5 million US Dollars in order to provide financing for small and medium scale regional development projects solely in the LDCs.

Later on, in September 2007, Turkey pledged 1 million US Dollars at the Stockholm International Donor's Conference for the "Enhanced Integrated Framework Fund" which was founded to support the efforts to improve the trade capacities of the LDCs.

And today, I have the pleasure to announce that an additional amount of 50 million US dollars has now been allocated by the Turkish Government for the financing of development projects in African countries over the next five years. Furthermore, Turkey, as a first step, has also decided to open 10 new Embassies in Africa with a view to expanding its web of relations with the countries of this continent.

This very recent funding and the decision to couple it with the opening of new diplomatic missions will allow Turkey to have a more balanced allocation of its LDC-focused assistance, given that a great number of the LDCs are from the African continent.

However, I want to assure you that it is the firm intention of the Turkish Government to continue its assistance programs by funding further development projects of the developing countries beyond Africa. Likewise, Turkey is also committed to increase the number of its diplomatic missions in the LDCs and we are hoping to announce decisions to this effect in the near future.

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would not like to take much of your time and I will now leave the floor to the representatives of the TİKA to better illustrate the purposes and modalities of our assistance activities.

But before doing so, I have a final announcement to make, which, I believe, is very much pertinent to the objectives of this gathering, where Turkey and the LDCs join their hands around a common vision as set out by the UN Millennium Summit.

In this regard, it is a great pleasure for me to declare our willingness to host the Fourth UN Conference on the LDCs, to be held before the end of the decade.

We are aware that this is an ambitious undertaking. Nevertheless, we are determined to work with our partners in the LDCs, the specialized UN agencies and the rest of the international community to ensure a successful outcome from this Conference.

We hope that the rapidly developing partnership between Turkey and the LDCs will set a modest example for all other interested countries, further encourage South-South cooperation and thus will contribute to the achievement of the millennium development goals through collective and cooperative efforts.

Thank you.