Statement by H.E. Mr. Y. Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the 68th General Assembly Plenary Meeting on Agenda Item 70: "Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance"
At the outset, I would like to thank the Secretary General for his reports on the progress of humanitarian activities of the UN system. We also would like to commend the efforts of the Under-Secretary-General Ms. Valerie Amos for her tireless efforts to ensure effective coordination in the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Recently, the world has been facing increasing number of natural and man-made disasters. Although the global capacity to respond to these challenges increase in parallel, huge damage and loss of life caused by various disasters still remain a cause of concern. The effective coordination of humanitarian assistance and cooperation among relevant stakeholders are essential. OCHA plays a central role in realizing these goals.
Preparedness to disasters significantly reduces risks and damage, thus ensuring continuity of economic and social life. Adopting a comprehensive approach in humanitarian efforts, including disaster risk management, early response and recovery, is necessary. Disaster mitigation and relief efforts must be part of the comprehensive development agenda.
This understanding is aimed to be reflected in the process leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit that will be held in Turkey in 2016. The Summit process will address the issues of aid effectiveness, serving the people in need, innovation and risk management, with the aim of sharing best practices and broadening partnerships in the humanitarian field. We commend the Secretary General and OCHA for developing this holistic, inclusive and comprehensive approach and we look forward to working together with all humanitarian partners, including civil society and NGOs.
We believe that the World Humanitarian Summit, together with post-2015 development agenda efforts, will mark a new era in our understanding and conduct of risk management and humanitarian assistance. The key to success in these areas undoubtedly lies at increasing the capacity of the local and national institutions as well as building resilience of communities.
As the crisis in Syria approaches to its third year, the suffering of the Syrian people intensifies, the ramifications of the conflict become more alarming. As our hopes continue to find a political and long-lasting solution to the crisis in Syria, Turkey will continue to provide necessary assistance to the Syrian people in close cooperation with the UN agencies.
In the last 4 years, Turkey’s humanitarian assistance increased from 31 million dollars to more than 1 billion dollars in 2012, reaching out to various geographies from Haiti to Philippines, from Myanmar to Somalia. Turkey has spent more than 2 billion dollars from the national budget for Syrian refugees in Turkey only in the last 2 years. The Global Humanitarian Assistance Report indicates that Turkey was the fourth largest government donor in 2012.
Turkey has also been among the contributors to the “Central Emergency Response Fund”. Turkish contributions to the Fund have now reached 2 million US Dolllars since the Fund’s inception.
Turkey is also willing to exchange experience and knowledge on humanitarian issues. The HOPEFOR initiative, co-sponsored by Turkey, Dominican Republic and Qatar, is a case in point. The Initiative aims to strengthen coordination of civil and military assets in natural disaster relief operations.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that Turkey will continue its cooperation with the international community and the UN system, particularly in the process that will lead up to the World Humanitarian Summit. As President Gül highlighted during the high-level week of the 68th General Assembly: “Humanitarian diplomacy is a key objective of Turkish foreign policy”.
I thank you for your attention.