Turkey and the United Nations have launched a hub that will support the countries and territories in which the UN Development Programme (UNDP) works in Europe and the Commonwealth of International States (CIS).
Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Istanbul would be second only to New York as a global diplomatic centre.
UNDP administrator Helen Clark acknowledged the skill and knowledge found in Istanbul. “By locating this knowledge and technical expertise in Istanbul, the UNDP will be well positioned to support and engage with partners in Europe and the CIS on the post-2015 development agenda.”
Cavusoglu said the Hub demonstrated Turkey’s pivotal importance. “This is actually an indicator of the importance given to Turkey’s foreign policies and Turkey itself by international organisations and other countries.”
“Considering the number of diplomatic centres, Istanbul is now second after New York in the world,” he added.
With the support of the Istanbul Regional Hub, European and CIS countries will be supported in their development, including the areas of sustainable growth, energy, disaster resilience, climate change, children’s rights and women’s empowerment.
The Hub will also share Turkey’s development experience with other countries, recognising Turkey’s role as a donor for development co-operation across the world.
The Hub also hosts UNICEF and UN Women regional offices.
Clark mentioned Turkey’s efforts to defuse tension across the region, citing the country’s geographical location as a gateway between the Middle East and Europe.
Cavusoglu said that Turkey’s role in global development had plenty of scope to grow, including becoming involved in current conflicts including terrorism, racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
He added that the foreign ministry and the Istanbul municipality have pledged US$3 million to the Hub each year for the next five years, to help fund the projects.
The minister added that the number of diplomatic centres in Turkey is also increasing, with 260 now, as opposed to 158 in 2002.
Mayor Kadir Topbas said that while it’s important for local administrations to establish peace, every individual has a responsibility to work towards this goal, amidst the current problems which have left millions in terrible conditions. These problems affect everyone on the planet, he said.
The UNDP has other regional offices in Amman, Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Cairo, Dakar and Panama.
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