New Horizons

UN İstanbul Regional Hub

Podcast 134

In this episode, we talk about new Istanbul Regional Hub, inaugurated in April.

Faik Uyanık: This is the New Horizons Podcasts prepared by United Nations Development Programme in Turkey. In this episode, we talk about new Istanbul Regional Hub, inaugurated in April. The United Nations and the Republic of Turkey on 23 April officially launched the new Istanbul Regional. The Hub also hosts UNICEF and UN Women regional offices. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, delivered a speech at the inauguration ceremony and said that a dream has come true:

Helen Clark: I think for so many of us today is a dream come through to have modern office here for regional activities of UNDP in İstanbul. We have had so many very productive conversations over several years now with a very very strong supporters and the Government of Turkey and the city of İstanbul. And you see throughout strongest supporters sitting here today, without whom it would be impossible. And you have always been so welcoming of us coming to a city which is no one else where East meets West and the vision for İstanbul has been to use its convening power of centuries in time to bring people together. And here in UNDP, we aim to bring people together for human progress.

Faik Uyanık: Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator. Helen Clark was joined by Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, and Mr. Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, to inaugurate the new Hub and unveil a plaque on the premises in Key Plaza in Istanbul. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, delivering a speech at the ceremony, talked about why this Regional Hub is important for them:

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu: There are different meanings for us to have this hub here in Turkey, in İstanbul. Above all, this is a reflection of our multi-dimensional and active foreign policy. One of the important elements of this multi-dimensional and active foreign policy is to support international and regional organizations and play an active role in these organizations. Today, Turkey is co-chairing many important UN initiatives, along with its role in the UN. Turkey is the co-chair, together with Spain, of the Alliance of Civilizations. Likewise, Turkey is the co-chair of Peace Mediation Initiative, together with Finland. On the other side, Turkey is also the co-chair, together with the USA, of Global Counterterrorism Forum.

Faik Uyanık: Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The result of a strategic partnership, the new Hub recognizes the increasing role and engagement of Turkey and emerging economies in the region in shaping and contributing to global development issues. The Hub operates within a framework that will help deliver quality, accessible and locally relevant services to the 22 countries and territories in which UNDP works in Europe and CIS. Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, stated that the inauguration of İstanbul Regional Hub is a historic moment for İstanbul and underlined the importance of Hub for İstanbul:

Kadir Topbaş: We, as the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, always tried to express that UN Offices can be located in İstanbul due to its geographic location, history and its importance in the region. We wanted İstanbul to be like a UN island. Today, here, we see this inauguration ceremony of İstanbul Regional Hub as the reflection of our intentions and wishes and, seeing the result, I would like to express my appreciation.

Faik Uyanık: Developing and transition economies of Europe and Central Asia are showing  poverty and inequality, even in some upper middle-income countries, as well as declining life expectancy relative to global averages in many countries, according to analysis in Poverty, Inequality and Vulnerability in the Transition and Developing Economies of Europe and Central Asia, recently released by UNDP. A changing climate and rapidly growing exposure to disaster risk also present the region with new and evolving challenges. The support of the Istanbul Regional Hub will enable countries to pursue development paths that are responsive to these and other issues, including sustainable growth, governance and peace-building, gender equality and women’s empowerment, energy, disaster resilience and climate change, and the protection of children’s rights. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator:

Helen Clark: At this time, we already have more than 135 people in the hub from UNDP and from UN Women as well, a sister organization. And our people here are providing policy and programme support across everything UNDP does. All the policy areas across sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, climate change, rule of law, governance you name it, and we are well positioned to support our country offices and partner governments right through the European and Central Asia region.

Faik Uyanık: Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator.The Istanbul Regional Hub and the Republic of Turkey will jointly advance efforts to promote south-south cooperation and share Turkey’s important development experience with other countries. This strategic partnership recognizes the increasing role of Turkey as an emerging donor for development cooperation across the world. Helen Clark talked about the strategic partnership between UNDP and Turkey during her speech:

Helen Clark: We have really a unique relationship with Turkey which sees it active and supporting our affairs at every level, the country level where the programme of Turkey is growing, at this regional level where our move here has been facilitated by the Government but also the Government is backing an ongoing contribution to our regional programme. We have the support for the Global Policy Center on the private sector and development here in İstanbul. And of course Turkey has also become a core funding partner for UNDP and as well as very involved with us in dialogue and the convening around the big issues in global development. And we estimate that this regional hub already since it opens its doors to start work last year has organized and hosted more than twelve regional and global UN events. And that is really just the beginning. So, we are confident Mr. Minister, Mr. Mayor that with the strong support of the Government of Turkey and the dedication of all our colleagues who you see here, this İstanbul Regional Hub will be recognized as a Center of Excellence and Development and as a very important partner to countries throughout the region and beyond.

Faik Uyanık: Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, says that the partnership between Turkey and UNDP will strongly continue and adds the following:

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu: İstanbul is now the second city in the world after New York, in terms of locating the most diplomatic missions and offices. In other words, it is not in competition with Ankara. İstanbul is the second city in the world after New York where there are 184 offices for foreign representations and international organizations. UNDP opening a regional hub here in İstanbul, Turkey is actually a strong indicator and also complementary with our idea of supporting and giving such importance to development projects and programmes. We, both as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, have been giving logistical support to the Hub, and we will continue to do so. In addition, we will continue to give financial support in order to support the success of this Hub we are inaugurating today. We will voluntarily contribute 3 million dollars every year during the next five years in order to support the kick-off of the projects apart from other contributions we have made. In other words, we will contribute 15 million dollars to UNDP, voluntarily.

Faik Uyanık: We have come to the end of New Horizons prepared by UNDP in Turkey this week with the words of Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey. In this episode, we talk about new Istanbul Regional Hub, inaugurated in April. This program has been recorded at the studio of Radyo İlef of Ankara University Communications Department. You can follow our program on FM frequency in İstanbul, on Açık Radyo (Open Radio) on Internet, on university radios in our broadcasting network, on iTunes, Soundcloud, TuneIn, Pure Connect, Yodiviki, Audioboo and TTNET Müzik in podcast format, and also on tr.undp.org. Our user name for social media is undpturkiye. Hope to see you soon, good-bye!

Contributors:

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator

Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

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