Statement by Fazlı Çorman, Deputy Permanent Representative and the Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the Turkish Mission to the UN at the UN General Assembly

Fazlı Çorman 01.07.2011
Mr. President,

It is a great pleasure for me to co- introduce the resolution titled “Improving the effectiveness and coordination of military and civil defence assets for natural disaster response” together with the Dominican Republic and the State of Qatar.

I would like to thank all Member States for their valuable contributions and flexibility during the negotiations. With the inputs we received from various delegations, the text has been significantly developed. Let me also express our special appreciation to those Member States that co-sponsored this resolution.

In the last years we have had major disasters in different parts of the world, first in Pakistan, then Haiti and lastly in Japan, just to mention a few. All these developments led us to have a fresh look at how to improve the effectiveness and coordination of the military and civil defence assets to tackle natural disasters.

We appreciate Qatar for launching the HOPEFOR initiative last year. Parallel to that initiative, Turkey has been working on how to better address this issue as well. H.E. President Abdullah Gül made a specific emphasis on this matter in his statement at the high level general debate of the General Assembly in September 2010. At the same debate, H.E. Dr. Leonel Fernandez, President of the Dominican Republic, made a similar call to all Member States.

Since the endeavors of Turkey, Qatar and the Dominican Republic have coincided, we have decided to join our individual efforts and energy to bring once again this important issue to the agenda of the UN. It is our hope that this resolution and the activities that will follow will draw the utmost attention of all Member States.

Turkey has its own experience in the need to use the military and civil defence assets. In the 1990’s we had two major earthquakes at the heart of our country, during which we lost thousands of our citizens. In the aftermath of these earthquakes, not only the civilian actors, but also the defence forces have played a significant role on the ground. Due to its familiarity with this matter and its first hand experience, Turkey believes that an effective use and coordination of the military and civil defence assets can make a real difference in responding natural disasters.

We trust that the International Doha Conference will set the stage for a comprehensive discussion on the use of military and civil defence assets, by bringing together Member States, key UN officials and other relevant actors active in this field. We will continue to be engaged in this critical issue with our partners and will bring the outcomes of the said international conference later this year to New York.

Thank you, Mr. President.