Mrs. Tibaijuka (left) receives the credentials from Mr. Kayalar.
The new Permanent Representative of the Republic of Turkey to UN-HABITAT, Mr. Tuncer Kayalar, today presented his credentials to the Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka. The Executive Director praised Turkey for its contributions to the success of UN-Habitat over the years and also for the progress the country has made in the area of human settlements development. She congratulated the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoðan, for emerging the winner of the inaugural Rafik Hariri UN-Habitat Memorial Award, which was made during the opening ceremony of the Fifth Session of the World Urban Forum held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 22 March 2010.
Mrs. Tibaijuka also expressed appreciation to the Government of Turkey for its USD 200,000 contribution to the Mombasa Slum Upgrading Programme. The project is based in the city of Mombasa in Kenya.
The Executive Director recalled that Turkey has hosted a number of World Forums and Summits, including the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), which was held in the Turkish city of Istanbul in 1996, which contributed immensely to the rejuvenation of the organization; and the Fifth World Water Forum in March 2009. She stated that the country will also be hosting the Fifth World Youth Congress in Istanbul from 31 July to 13 August 2010.
Mrs. Tibaijuka explained to the envoy how the voluntary assessed contribution for UN-HABITAT operates and noted that without member states playing their part in this area, the organization’s activities would be severely hampered.
While noting that “urban experience for more than one billion people is quite precarious,” Mrs. Tibaijuka called on Turkey to establish building materials industry in Africa in order to bring down the cost of building on the continent. The Executive Director presented the envoy with some UN-Habitat publications, including her own book entitled: “Building Prosperity” in which she called for adequate and decent housing to be provided for people around the world, explaining that decent housing would improve workers health and increase their productivity.
Responding, Mr. Kayalar assured the Executive Director that he will do all he can to ensure that UN-HABITAT receives even greater attention from his Government. He thanked the Executive Director for the warm reception accorded him and stated that Turkey has a lot of investments in Africa.
Mr. Kayalar also stated that the priority of his country is to create employment opportunities and gave the assurance that Turkey can make the cost of building materials come down in the short run.