The new Permanent Representative of Turkey to UN-HBITAT, Mr. Salim Levent Sahinkaya, on Friday presented his credentials to the Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka.
At the occasion, Mrs. Tibaijuka thanked the Government of Turkey for its continued support to UN-HABITAT. She recalled that it was in the Turkish city of Istanbul, in 1996, that the conference that led to the revitalization of UN-HABITAT was held.
She stated that the Government of Turkey is supporting the implementation of the Slum Upgrading Programme in Mombasa, Kenya, to the tune of USD200,000. She said that the funds for the project are provided to UN-HABITAT through the Turkish International Cooperation Agency.
Mrs. Tibaijuka also informed the envoy that UN-HABITAT currently has in its database 165 organizations from Turkey with which the agency works in the areas of human settlements, environment, water conservation and basic sanitation. She stated that UN-HABITAT also works with Youth for Habitat-Turkey, in the implementation of decisions of the Habitat and Agenda 21.
Mrs. Tibaijuka also informed the envoy that UN-HABITAT has been working closely with the Turkish Association of Local Authorities (TALA) to ensure the participation of Turkish Mayors in UN-HABITAT events of global importance, such as the World Urban Forum and the Governing Council.
She informed the envoy that UN-HABITAT supported and coordinated a major conference in Turkey to promote the issues of social inclusion and peace in human settlements and that a Turkish national, His Worship Hassan Uenver, the Mayor of Nevsehir, is currently the Chair of the United Local Authorities for Peace (ULAP).
The Executive Director also informed the envoy that the Government of Turkey and UN-HABITAT would be hosting the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul from 16-27 March 2009. The theme of the Forum is: “Bridging Divides: Water for a Sustainable 21st Century.” At the Forum, municipalities around the world will be seeking solutions to water related challenges in cities.
Mrs. Tibaijuka called for even greater support from the Government of Turkey particularly in the area of core activities of the organization. She invited Turkey to participate fully in the fourth session of the World Urban Forum to be held in Nanjing, China, from 3-7 November 2008.
Responding, Mr. Sahinkaya, who is also his country’s ambassador to Kenya, assured the Executive Director that Turkey would continue to support and participate actively in the activities of UN-HABITAT. He stated that he would visit Mombasa soon to assess the progress in the slum upgrading project in the costal city.
Mr. Sahinkaya also paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Executive Director, Ms. Inga Björk-Klevby, who appealed to the envoy to spare some time on UN-HABITAT issues.