Statement by the Delegation of Turkey on Agenda Item 57, "Groups of Countries in Special Situations" at the Second Committee of the 62nd General Assembly

-- 06.11.2007
Madame Chair,

We would like to thank the Secretary-General for his reports submitted under preliminary agenda item 59 (a). We also thank Under-Secretary-General Mr. Cheick Sidi Diarra for his comprehensive introduction yesterday. As Turkey has aligned itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Portugal on behalf of the European Union, I would just like to expound on a few points regarding the agenda item before us.

When we assessed the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (BPoA) during last year's midterm comprehensive review, we were particularly pleased to note that considerable progress has been achieved since the initiation of the Programme. We were also pleased that some of the LDCs were sustaining high rates of growth. The general positive economic outlook of some African countries was indeed an encouraging sign for all of us joining forces for the full implementation of the BPoA. However, as was outlined in the Secretary-General's report, there is still room for improvement as regards the even and effective implementation of the BPoA.

Most recently we gathered for the Third High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development in New York. The Monterrey Consensus represents a solid basis for attaining the overarching goal of poverty eradication. Its closely interwoven nature with the World Summit Outcome signifies its indispensable role for the sustainable development. Therefore, we consider the latest High-Level Dialogue on FfD as a noteworthy step as it provided useful stock-taking of the efforts for achieving the MDGs as well as lively interaction between the developed and the developing countries.

Madame Chair,

Turkey is fully committed to the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action and its objectives which constitute a fundamental framework for a solid global partnership to advance development in the LDCs. Turkey strongly supports the efforts of all LDCs, including those in transition phase for graduation from the LDCs' list in implementing the IADGs.

We commend the governments of the LDCs in their efforts to strengthen their policies for developing their productive capacities, to improve good governance, together with their macro-economic performances and for their achievement through structural reforms, trade liberalization and privatization. It is also commendable that the governments of the LDCs took the initiative to formulate the Cotonou Strategy for further implementation of the BPoA.

Despite these noteworthy efforts of the LDCs and the increased assistance by their development partners, much remains to be done particularly in the field of poverty reduction. Extreme poverty still appears to be the main challenge and life expectancy is declining in several LDCs. Some of them are seriously affected by the communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, some by severe food shortages and some by civil strife. This ordeal is for us morally unacceptable.

The promotion of economic growth, sustainable development, enhancing human and institutional capacities, poverty eradication and good governance are essential components for the improvement of living conditions of over 600 million people residing in 50 LDCs.

We sincerely believe that additional efforts are needed to help the LDCs for meeting the goals and targets of the Programme. In this context, full, effective and timely implementation of all related documents is vital to address the special needs of the LDCs.

Madame Chair,

Turkey, as a donor country for the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, is strongly committed to do her share to help LDCs, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

We actively participate in the international efforts aiming at the eradication of poverty. We consider Official Development Assistance as one of the main tools in reinforcing development efforts of the LDCs. As a developing country itself, the Official Development Assistance provided by Turkey in this regard, has been steadily increasing over the recent years. Last year we provided 750 million USD as ODA, which stood at 0.18 % of our GNI.

Presently, Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) is carrying out hundreds of projects in partner countries spanning from Central Asia to the Balkans, from Middle East to Africa, and from Asia-Pacific to the Caribbean. With 22 field offices, it contributes to the development of many countries in various regions. These projects have already started to make a positive impact. For this reason, a fund of 15 million US Dollars was specifically earmarked for the implementation of projects through TİKA in the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS.

As a manifestation of our contribution in global development efforts especially for the LDCs, we hosted the annual Ministerial Conference on the theme "Making Globalization Work for the Least Developed Countries" in July 2007. At the Conference we pledged an additional 5 million USD to finance small and medium scale regional development projects in the LDCs.

We believe that it is also essentially important to promptly assist some LDCs in their struggle to overcome disastrous effects of acute food shortages and famine. Turkey now globally provides significant humanitarian and technical aid. For instance, in 2005, we provided funds and assistance in kind amounting to 233 million USD to 25 countries in various continents. This figure does not include the aid provided by the Turkish NGOs. During the last two years, Turkey has reached out to 17 African countries, mainly through the World Food Program (WFP). We are proud to be referred to as being one of the major donors in the efforts to resolve the food crisis in Africa by the WFP authorities. We extend assistance in the fields of agriculture, health and environment protection and are determined to continue our assistance in the future.

As set out in the BPoA, international trade is vital for the development of LDCs. Mindful of this fact, we put special emphasis on the development of bilateral commercial relations with these countries. Funneling the Turkish investment to the LDCs is also another component of our policy.