No: 256, 27 September 2013, Press Release Regarding the Opening of the United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Service Centre for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (UNDP-RSC) in Istanbul

The agreement for relocating the United Nations Development Programme Regional Service Centre for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (UNDP-RSC) in Istanbul was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu and the UNDP Administrator, Mrs. Helen Clark today (27 September 2013) at the margins of the 68th UN General Assembly in New York during a ceremony organized at the Turkish Center with the participation of Turkish Minister of Development, Mr. Cevdet Yılmaz.

The UNDP decided to transfer its Regional Service Centre for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (UNDP-RSC) to Istanbul taking into consideration Istanbul’s central location within the region, its own strategic partnership with Turkey, as well as Turkey’s increasing role in the international arena. The signing of the agreement, which constitutes the legal basis for this decision, is one of the final steps towards the relocation of the Regional Centre to İstanbul.

As is known, Turkey’s relations with the UN and its specialized agencies have gained momentum in recent years. Turkey’s cooperation with the UNDP, which is one of the most important specialized agencies of the UN, has a special significance in this context.

Our cooperation with the UNDP, which implements economic and social programmes in the field of development and contributes to countries in their efforts to establish development models in accordance with their own structures, can be traced back to the 1950s. UNDP has carried out a number of projects in Turkey in three main areas, namely, poverty reduction, democratic governance and environment and sustainable development.

Apart from producing joint projects with the UNDP for the benefit of Turkey, Turkey has become an important cooperation partner within the UN system as a rising economy and donor country. Thus, government development assistance to least developed and developing countries, which continues to increase even in times of global economic crisis, has become an inseparable part of Turkey’s multidimensional foreign policy. The “Turkey-UN Development Programme Framework Agreement for Partnership” signed with the UNDP in 2011 has carried our relations with this organization to the point of “strategic partnership” and confirmed the position of Turkey as a global development partner.

The fact that UNDP-RSC will henceforth continue its activities in Istanbul is a concrete indication of the increasing importance that we attach to our foreign policy’s development cooperation dimension.

UNDP-RSC’s establishment in Turkey also constitutes an important step towards our goal of turning Istanbul into a regional hub for the United Nations.