We are pleased to present this new publication providing information about some of the initiatives which UNDP supported in Turkey in 2017 and 2018. These initiatives were only possible thanks to close collaboration with our numerous partners and the generous contributions of our donors. Special recognition goes to the Government of Turkey for our fruitful partnership.
As the leading UN Agency in the field of development and largest development network, we are providing support to the Government of Turkey in its efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
We are always seeking to identify and implement innovative and practical ways of making people’s lives better and protecting our planet for future generations. Through our website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts, our monthly e-magazine New Horizons and other communications channels, we make a point of sharing stories of people whose lives have been changed for the better thanks to the activities of UNDP. We encourage you to discover these people’s stories and see the impact UNDP has had on their lives. We hope that their stories will give hope to others and inspire them both to empower themselves and lead better lives and to develop solutions to help others in need.
Following the referendum in April 2017, the parliamentary system of government was replaced with an executive presidency. Most of the changes brought about by the Constitutional Amendment entered into force in 2018, when general and presidential elections were held simultaneously.
On the economic front, a swathe of governmentled stimulus packages has helped sustain economic growth and employment in 2017. The pace of UNDP’s activities accelerated under strong Government stewardship.
In 2017, preparations for the 11th National Development Plan (NDP) began (E3). The strong presence of UNDP in the NDP ad-hoc commissions was an opportunity for UNDP to produce a policy impact on development goals moving forward, aligning them with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) nationalization process.
Turkey was hosting around 3.4 million Syrians at the end of 2017 (E4), more than 2.9 million of whom were living outside of camps, alongside host communities. Although Syrians have brought economic benefits to communities, the mass influx has also placed a deepening strain on local communities, especially in terms of access to basic services, as well as employment and livelihood opportunities. Given the protracted nature of the crisis, the Country Office steered its efforts towards medium and longer-term development gains for both host communities and Syrians.
The strong presence of UNDP in the National Development Plan ad-hoc commissions was an opportunity for UNDP to produce a policy impact on development goals moving forward, aligning them with the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) nationalization process.
The resilience component budget under the 3RP (Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan) ballooned by over 100% compared to 2016 and was expected to grow further in all sectors in 2018. The resilience budget rose from USD434 million in 2017 to USD539 million in 2018. The shift in focus was also reflected in the Country Office’s strategic priorities and through the expansion of the UNDP Syria Crisis Response and Resilience Programme in 2017.
Progress on gender equality remained a matter of great concern in all fields, even though key policy documents were renewed in 2017.
The new documents were:
2018 was a benchmark year for Turkey in both political and socio-economic terms. With the presidential and parliamentary elections, Turkey put an end to its parliamentary system of government and adopted a presidential system.
With the Syria Crisis in its eighth year, Turkey still hosts the largest number of refugees and asylum-seekers in the world, and economic, humanitarian and social challenges persist. Considering the protracted nature of the refugee situation, a progressive shift from humanitarian to development assistance has been prioritized by the Government as well as the donor community, with a focus on inclusion, self-reliance and providing sustainable socio-economic support and livelihood opportunities within Turkey. UNDP has achieved leverage with its strong and clear comparative advantage and added value in Turkey in its engagement in the Syria Crisis Response.
The Turkish economy followed a downward course in 2018. Following a robust performance in 2017, when GDP grew by 7.4%, economic growth slowed progressively.
Turkey’s economic outlook increases the importance of the work of our country office, such as providing policy advice on total factor productivity for sustainable growth. Country office programmes to create an enabling environment for job creation for Syrians and members of the Turkish population, with a specific focus on women, have been leveraged in the short and medium-term programmes of the Government.
In order to operationalize the Strategic Plan and the concept of the “integrator platform” in Turkey, the country office initiated the Business for Goals Platform (B4G) and Connecting Business Initiative (CBi) with private sector umbrella organizations.
A. Sustainable, Inclusive Growth and Development for All
B. More Effective Policies and Practices on Sustainable Environment, Climate Change and Biodiversity
C. Transparent, Accountable, Pluralistic and Gender Sensitive Governance Systems Transparent and Efficient Judicial System
UNDP Turkey is #1 in the region regarding social media influence
UNDP Turkey Monthly Magazine New Horizons was rebranded with a more dynamic and user-friendly platform in the beginning of 2018. UNDP Turkey became the first CO to complete transition to the new web design layout.
“Beşte5” told the stories of five powerful women from five different places of Turkey to draw attention to the Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality on International Women’s Day 8 March. The campaign had widespread acclaim and was featured in many conventional media channels.
Engineer Girls of Turkey campaign in July 2018 was published just in time with university application season and aimed at encouraging young girls into choosing engineering careers. The campaign reached over 1 million people.
Social Good Summit, under UNDP’s ownership was organized in October 2018 by the TBWA For Good platform in partnership with Doğan Holding, TEDxIstanbul, Idema Development Consultancy and Hey Moments the Experience Design Company. SGS İstanbul 2018 brought together a wide range of participation from the business world, academics, representatives of non-governmental organizations, press and influencers.
UNDP Turkey appointed regionally acclaimed actor Mert Fırat, best known for his movies, TV series, theatre performances and social responsibility projects, as its first Goodwill Ambassador in Turkey in October 2017. Fırat has been working with UNDP to increase the visibility of its projects, attending UNDP events and contributing to the visibility of the SDGs since 2015.
Participated in the Social Good Summit Istanbul 2018.
Supported the event of Engineer Girls of Turkey Project.
Participated in field visits in Şanlıurfa and Troy Culture Route.
On Instagram, UNDP Turkey’s posts about Mert Fırat’s activities received ten thousand likes.
The most popular post on Twitter received 2,400 likes and 155 retweets.
Mert Fırat’s UNDP-related activities were mentioned in 55 news articles in Turkish print media.
The Dreams Academy was established with the goal of supporting disadvantaged teenagers in their engagement in social and professional life through cooperation between the Alternative Life Association (AYDER) and the United Nations Development Programme with a grant from the Vodafone Foundation of Turkey.
Located at a campus in Çukurbağ village in the forests of Kaş, this place fills a big social void despite its humble appearance. The Dreams Academy is a voluntarism-based space for socialisation where, every summer, the dreams of hundreds of teenagers with disabilities and disadvantages come true. Its main functions are to support persons with disabilities in engaging in social life and developing daily life skills and also to increase awareness among the volunteers. The Dreams Academy helps these teenagers to experience many things that are not normally possible for them, to socialise with each other and the volunteers and to go home with new skills.
People who have been working here as volunteers for a long time define the Dreams Academy in Kaş as a sustainable living space nested in the local community and history.
Vehbi Tutmaz is a forestry engineer. It is a profession he has practised passionately for 42 years. He has fought against dozens of fires, losing colleagues in the process, and worked in all the main areas of forestry in Turkey.
Mr Tutmaz has delivered training sessions to villagers and officials from nearby institutions in 50 villages in and around the five pilot areas selected for the Integrated Forest Management in Mediterranean project.
The training sessions on fires were delivered in forest villages by the General Directorate of Forestry of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in cooperation with UNDP with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Syrian women in Turkey find a way to carve their own paths and support others.
Kareemat, the “Association of Honourable Women”, was founded in Kilis, Turkey, by Najjla Sheekh, a woman displaced from Aleppo six years ago due to the protracted war in Syria. Beginning with small gatherings among the Syrian women in the city, it later became a full-fledged community centre. Currently, Kareemat hosts over 200 women per day and provides vocational training for various sectors, as well as Turkish and English language courses, to Syrian and local women.
Syrian women take on new roles in the workforce with their rediscovered skills.
Sene Abuhammed, 27, is one of the 3.4 million Syrians who were displaced to Turkey due to the Syria Crisis. While this introductory sentence is no different from many others in the reports and stories we have heard so often over the seven years since the conflict began, there is much that deserves to be told in Sene’s story. She is one of those strong and hard-working women who have had to mobilize all their skills and competencies to build a new life in Turkey and support their families.
Sene came across the vocational training courses provided by the Strengthening Social Stability in the Southeast Anatolia Region project. The project is implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP) Regional Development Administration and is funded by the Government of Japan. Sene improved her agricultural skills at a training course provided by the GAP Agricultural Research Institution.
Ardahan, Kars and Artvin are among the least socio-economically developed provinces of Turkey. The rough topography, the high altitude, the long and severe winters, the short growing season and the remoteness of these provinces from other parts of the country all exacerbate socio-economic problems of the rural population.
The Ardahan-Kars-Artvin Development Project (AKADP) is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in cooperation with UNDP with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Mobile Shepperd’s Shelters with Solar Power
At present, there are a total of 86 mobile shepherd’s shelters in use: 61 in Ardahan, 20 in Kars and 5 in Artvin
Modern Livestock Markets Enable Trade in Healthier and Better Conditions
A total of seven livestock markets are to be built in the central, Posof and Hanak districts of Ardahan; the Selim, Sarıkamış and Kağızman districts of Kars; and the Ardanuç district of Artvin.
Women are Happier in Family-Style Greenhouses
Family-style greenhouses aim both to accustom women to raising crops in greenhouses, and to alter the uniform nutrition regime. A total of 82 greenhouses were built : 50 in Ardahan and 32 in Kars.
Triticale is The New Hope For Farmers
Another key element of the Ardahan-Kars-Artvin Development Project (AKADP) is triticale. A hybrid of wheat and rye sown in the fall, triticale is very important for livestock in Kars, because it helps meet the need for quality rough fodder.