The global development cooperation landscape is changing quickly, with emerging powers as well as non-state actors playing an increasing role, and the international community being in search of a more inclusive and flexible model that allows to go beyond the “North-South” divide. This has implications for aid and cooperation modalities, for how knowledge sharing takes place and how traditional and emerging players alike adapt their strategies, structures and priorities. Against this backdrop, the Conference on International Development Cooperation was organized jointly by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA). The Conference took place on 19-20 June 2014 at Çırağan Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. The Conference was held on the theme “Trends and Emerging Opportunities-Perspectives of the New Actors.” High-level policymakers, senior representatives of international development organizations, business leaders and academics from all over the world attended the two-day meeting. SESRIC was represented at the Conference by Prof. Savaş Alpay, Director-General, accompanied by Mr. Nadi Serhan Aydın, Senior Researcher.
Turkey is eager to contribute to the exchange of experiences and perspectives with other emerging players such as South Korea, Mexico, China and Brazil, India, South Africa, Russia and other partners. At the same time, the country is interested in facilitating a broader dialogue amongst “traditional” and “new” development cooperation players to support an inclusive multilateral discourse on development cooperation. In this context, the Conference served as platform for dialogue for discussing the main challenges and opportunities for development cooperation and to propose workable, practical solutions that improve transparency, efficiency and impact of development cooperation.
In his welcoming remarks to the Conference, H.E. Mr. Emrullah İşler, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, commended the UNDP for its work in putting together a successful and timely conference with TİKA and choosing İstanbul as its venue. He said that the world was living in an era which was characterized by “inter-dependence”. In this regard, he noted the importance of integrated global targets, as well as the identification of the most effective common ways and means and involvement of all stakeholders in reaching these targets. Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of the UNDP, on the other hand, applauded Turkey for its significant and growing contribution to the global development agenda overall, both as an important funder and partner, and expressed her pleasure for having met in Istanbul where UNDP was about to complete the relocation of its Regional Centre for Europe and the CIS.
Prof. Alpay addressed the Conference as a panellist in the Plenary Session titled: “Development Cooperation with the Least Developed Countries.” The Session examined the development priorities and challenges faced by Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with implications for the development cooperation agenda, with particular emphasis on the roles of emerging providers for the implementation of the Istanbul Plan of Action (IPoA) and other relevant documents. In his speech, which consisted of two main parts, Prof. Alpay first presented his views and perspectives on the recent trends in development cooperation between LDCs, with particular emphasis on the potential role of South-South Cooperation (SSC) and, second, the contribution of SESRIC to the development of cooperation between the 57 developing members of the OIC. In this regard, he underlined the fact that the number of LDCs had almost doubled since 1971 and said this was an indication of the inadequacy of development policies. He also stressed that developing SSC was a common concern for OIC, having 21 LDCs in its membership. Prof. Alpay said that the cooperation among the Global South, which is based on shared experiences, sympathies and solidarity, could contribute substantially in areas such as human and productive capacity building as well as technical assistance and exchange of best practices.
Furthermore, deliberating on the SESRIC initiatives in the context of SSC, the Director-General briefed the participants on Centre’s apex programme for knowledge and expertise sharing among the OIC member countries, known as OIC-VET. He said that so far over 200 capacity building programmes had been organized in more than 40 OIC countries, including about 20 LDCs, in areas such as statistics, agriculture, trade, skill development, health and tourism. In addition to OIC-VET, Prof. Alpay also mentioned some other recent initiatives of SESRIC, in cooperation with other partners, which he said could feed significantly into the development of a more vibrant cooperation relationship among Southern countries. These included the OIC Strategic Health Programme of Action (OIC-SHPA) 2014-2023, the Study on Managing Disasters and Conflicts in OIC Member Countries, International Forum on Financial Systems: Sustainable Finance for Sustainable Development, as well as the Study on Mapping Turkey’s South-South Potential.
The Conference served as an open discussion space for a variety of actors in development cooperation, with a view to contributing to the preparations of the Fourth UN Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) due on 10-11 July 2014 in New York, USA, which will build on the First High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation held in April 2014 in Mexico City, Mexico.
For more information, please visit the official website of the Conference.