Statement by Dr. Özhan Üzümcüoğlu, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Forty Fifth Session of the Commission for Social Development

Özhan Üzümcüoğlu 08.02.2007
Distinguished Delegates,

At the outset, I would like to express our congratulations to you and to other members of the Bureau on your election. We are confident that under your able leadership we are going to have a fruitful session of the Commission for Social Development.

Turkey aligned itself with the statement made by the EU. Therefore, I will briefly touch upon the report of the Secretary General on the priority theme "Promoting full employment and decent work for all". Then, I will mainly focus on the situation in Turkey, as well as Turkey's efforts with regard to the priority theme of this session.

We examined the report of the Secretary General on the priority theme. The report clearly indicates that although more than a decade has elapsed since the World Summit for Social Development, held in Copenhagen in 1995, the achievement of full employment and decent work still remains a global challenge.

We concur with the findings of the report that the goal of full employment and decent work for all rests upon the promotion of an enabling overall macroeconomic environment, based upon the implementation of an integrated and coherent set of policies both at the national and international level. Thus, full employment and decent work should be a central goal in national economic and social policy making at the national level. Furthermore, they should also be considered as global objectives at the international level to be pursued through a more balanced and coordinated strategy.

Distinguished Delegates,

This year Turkey starts to implement the Ninth Development Plan covering the period of 2007-2013. Before giving information on the strategy and policy objectives of the Plan, let me touch upon some of the economic and social developments which took place in Turkey during the period of the Eighth Plan:

Following a crisis in 2001, Turkish economy grew at an annual average of 7.5 per cent in 2002- 2005 period. Yet, the impact of economic growth on employment remained limited. The employment created during 2000-2006 remained less than the increase in working age population and the labor force. The participation rate of women to the labor force and the employment rates remained lower than the desired levels.

Beyond doubt, employment should be considered together with the notion of descent conditions of work. In light of the past developments and the structural changes the country is going through, Turkey set the following objectives for the Ninth Development Plan:

-Increasing employment and improving the conditions of the labor market,
-Increasing the sensitivity of education to labor demand,
-Developing active labor policies,
-Improving income distribution, social inclusion and fight against poverty,
-Increasing the effectiveness of the social security system.

Within the framework of an employment-focused sustainable growth, Turkey is now aiming to create skilled human resources required by a competitive economy and information society, to improve employment opportunities, to reduce unemployment and to make a more efficient labor market. The dimension of employment will be taken into consideration in economic and social regulations to be undertaken.

Equal opportunities will be provided for women, young generations, long-term unemployed, and persons with disabilities who encounter difficulties in the labor market. With the aim of increasing the participation of women in the labor force and employment, their access to childcare and other similar services will be facilitated. Programs will be developed to provide the youth with experience in the labor market.

Interaction between education system and labor markets will be strengthened to raise the qualified labor force. Existing education programmes in vocational training and higher education will be revised and new education programmes will be determined according to manpower requirements. Transformation to a modular and flexible system in vocational and technical education will be realized.

It will be ensured that vulnerable groups, particularly the disabled, elderly, women, children and migrants, that are subject to poverty and social exclusion, will actively participate in economic, social and political life.

The social security system will be provided with a structure which will cover the entire population and meet changing needs of the society, and have financial sustainability with an effective audit mechanism.

Distinguished Delegates,

Promoting full employment and decent work for all requires global policies. Therefore, international cooperation and coordination is highly crucial. We believe that the deliberations of the Commission for Social Development will provide a fresh impetus for the efforts aimed at realizing the objectives put forward by the ECOSOC Ministerial Declaration, adopted in Geneva in July 2006.

Thank you.