Statement by His Excellency Abdullah Gül, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, at the High Level Meeting on the General Assembly on the Mid-Term Comprehensive Global Review of the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Development Countries for the Decade 2001-2010
Mr. Secretary General,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to announce that Turkey aligns itself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union.
The Mid-Term Review of the Brussels Programme of Action (BPOA) is indeed most timely to help us take stock of the progress achieved so far, to re-chart our course of action if need be, and to continue our way with even stronger determination to succeed.
In this connection, we welcome all the efforts made by the Least Developed Countries (LDC's) and the contributions of their development partners, the UN System, and other intergovernmental organizations as well as the non-governmental organizations to the process.
We are pleased to note that considerable progress has been achieved since the initiation of the Programme in 2001. However, there are serious challenges and obstacles lying ahead.
We commend the governments of the LDC's in their efforts to strengthen their policies for developing their productive capacities, to improve governance, together with their macro-economic performances and for their achievement through structural reforms, trade liberalization and privatization.
It is clear that the Cotonou Strategy will also contribute to further implementation of the BPOA.
Yet much needs to be done. The LDC's require and seek the assistance and support of the international community to promote economic growth and sustainable development; to build human and institutional capacities, and to eradicate poverty.
The improvement of living conditions of over 600 million people living in 50 LDC's is also our responsibility.
After having redressed the wounds of a major earthquake in 1999 and the impact of the economic turbulence in 2001, Turkey is now in a much better position to play the role as a development partner for the LDC's. And, Turkey is determined to play such a role. We cannot speak about universal peace, harmony, stability and cooperation unless we are able to provide the means for a decent living for humans everywhere.
My country is actively supporting and participating in the international efforts for the eradication of poverty. 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. This does not include private sector contributions.
Our contributions to the various UN funds and programmes as well as our voluntary contributions to a number of international and regional organizations which serve the Least Developed Countries, Land Locked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, will also be sustained and raised to the extent possible, in the years to come.
In this framework, we are trying to contribute to the activities to address the needs and problems of the African Continent.
We have set up local offices of The Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency in Addis Ababa and Khartoum. They serve as coordination centers for our development and humanitarian assistance to the Continent. We will establish more local offices in the period ahead.
Turkey has also been recognized by the World Food Programme as one of the major donors for the food crisis in Africa; reaching out to 17 African countries.
As international trade is vital for the development of LDCs, Turkey also attaches importance to the development of bilateral commercial relations with these countries.
We are ready to extend assistance and to cooperate in the fields of agriculture, health, environment and good governance.
Attracting Turkish investors to the LDC's is another important component of our policy.
Furthermore, we promote the idea of establishing joint business councils or chambers of commerce.
As a manifestation of our keen interest in the issues related to the LDC's, we are offering to host one of their major meetings in Turkey in 2007. We very much hope and support that such a meeting would generate further interest and support for the LDC's both in Turkey, as well as in our region.
We have no doubt that the LDC's will achieve sustainable development, sustained economic growth, good and efficient governance as well as pandemic free environment, which they deserve.
Turkey will continue to support them in every way it can.
Thank you, Madame President.