STATEMENT BY THE DELEGATION OF TURKEY AT THE 15TH SESSION OF THE HIGH LEVEL COMMITTEE ON SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION

-- 30.05.2007
Mr. President,

My delegation joins others in congratulating you and the members of the Bureau on your election, and expresses its gratitude to the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation for its valuable work in promoting South-South cooperation.

My delegation aligned itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Germany on behalf of the European Union. Given the importance of the issue, I would like to touch upon a few additional points from our national perspective.

Mr. President,

My delegation wishes to express its appreciation for the reports before us. The Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) represents a major milestone in the evolution of technical cooperation among developing countries. As was underlined in the report, SSC/15/1, considerable progress has been achieved in implementation of the BAPA and towards a new direction strategy for South-South cooperation. However, a great deal of work needs to be done in certain areas, particularly in designing a new architecture to ensure coherence and coordination of South-South cooperation in addressing transnational development challenges at the sub-regional, regional and interregional levels.

Turkey, as a strong supporter of the South-South cooperation, sees it as one of the important means of international cooperation for development. In this context, we are particularly pleased that United Nations entities and regional organizations are increasingly adopting South-South approaches in their policies and operational programmes, particularly in dealing with transnational development challenges.

Mr. President, now I would like to give a brief summary on Turkey's activities in enhancing south-south and triangular cooperation.

Turkey attaches utmost importance to strengthen its multilateral and bilateral technical and economic cooperation with other developing countries in order to increase the effectiveness of its development assistance as well as reinforce its emerging donor country status at the global and regional level.

After having redressed the wounds of a major earthquake in 1999 and the impact of the economic turbulence in 2001, Turkey has been in a much better position to actively support and participate in the international development efforts over the last few years. The Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided by Turkey in 2004 amounted to 340 million US dollars, and exceeded 600 million US dollars in 2005, which corresponds to 0.17 percent of Turkey's GDP. The Official development assistance of Turkey for 2006 is estimated about 700 million US dollars.

Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) which was established in 1992 is the lead agency in coordinating the flow of Turkish Official Development Assistance (ODA). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the other hand, is the official channel and has the overall responsibility for coordination of multilateral and bilateral technical cooperation activities.

While delivering assistance to partner countries, Turkey, aware of its responsibility, also shares experience and know-how on areas where considerable achievements have been made in Turkey.

Being a country transformed from an agriculture-based economy to a trade and industry-based economy, Turkey has a lot to share with the countries that are in the same process and facing the challenges of globalization. This transfer of experience and know-how was initially aimed at Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans. All the activities and projects have been undertaken with an utmost desire to help partner countries in attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

Therefore in recent years, Turkey has also started to focus on assisting African countries in their struggle against poverty and the development of their infrastructure.

Today, TİKA has 22 field offices in various countries, 3 of which are located in Africa. TİKA field offices in Ethiopia, Sudan and Senegal perform as liaison offices for the neighbouring countries as well.

In 2006, TİKA implemented a record number of projects in comparison to previous years. Ninety countries benefited from over 930 projects and activities. This represents a 66% increase in comparison to 2005. Half of these projects were implemented in the Caucasus and Central Asia, 30% in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, and 15% in Africa and the Middle East.

While developing and implementing these projects and activities, TİKA cooperates with other bilateral donors, as well as multilateral donors, thereby facilitating a more effective implementation process. Turkey's activities in partnership with recipient countries from the South, alongside cooperation with a third party from the North, provide a good example of triangular cooperation. Turkey's partners in this regard are mainly OECD, UNDP, UNIDO, FAO, ITC and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).

Mr. President,

Turkey, which was identified as a TCDC (Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries) "pivotal country", has also a TCDC umbrella project, co-funded by UNDP and the Turkish Government. Up to its current year of implementation, 200 TCDC arrangements have put into practice in the field of group training, study tours, job training consultancy services and project implementation.

The second phase of the project which was launched in 2001, particularly focused on the following cooperation areas: Achievement of MDGs; combating poverty and reducing social disparities; democratic governance; small and medium size enterprises' development; ICT and capacity building for specialists and institutions through on the job training programmes; conducting baseline surveys, seminars, workshops, study tours.

Mr. President,

We sincerely believe in the benefits of cooperation among developing countries as a key factor in the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs. We equally desire to share our experiences and resources. Therefore, I would like to reaffirm our government's decisiveness in continuing our efforts in taking appropriate measures to create a favorable environment for more dynamic South-South cooperation which will continue to complement the North-South cooperation.

Before concluding Mr. President, I would like to state that we concur with the view that the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation should be encouraged to help deepening South-South and triangular cooperation arrangements. Therefore, institutional and financial capacity of the Special Unit should be strengthened. Its resource mobilization efforts must be intensified through new innovative mechanisms that will attract more resources. We strongly support the idea of enhancing the cooperation and coherence between the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation and the UN development system, particularly UNDP country offices.

Thank you Mr. President.