UNDP Regional Director’s visit focuses on employment, climate change and sustainable farmingApr 22, 2015
The United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Director for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Cihan Sultanoğlu, made an official visit to the country last week. During the three days she was here, Sultanoğlu participated in and supported the launch of several important events supported by UNDP and met with numerous representatives of national and local government.
First on Sultanoğlu’s busy itinerary was the launch of a Regional Conference on Employment and Social Inclusion. This event brought together over 100 policy-makers, experts and development practitioners from Southeast Europe and Turkey to discuss how to solve the region’s employment crisis and promote job-rich growth. Organized by UNDP and ILO with support from the Regional Cooperation Council under the title “Creating Jobs for Equity and Prosperity,” the conference concluded with a broad commitment from all the participants to share their available resources and experiences in fighting unemployment throughout the region.
Next up were separate high-level meetings with the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Poposki, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Dime Spasov, the Minister of Local Self-Government, Lirim Shabani, and the Minister of Environment, Nurhan Izairi. These meetings provided an opportunity for the UN Assistant Secretary-General to meet with counterparts in areas where UNDP’s activities are focused and to discuss present and future cooperation.
Sultanoğlu then went on to open the country’s first Climate Camp—the final stage of a nationwide competition organized with UNDP support to encourage innovative solutions from the public for mitigating the effects of climate change. The ten finalists selected to take part in the Camp received expert assistance in further developing their ideas. The two best solutions selected at the end of the event, organized with support from the Swedish Embassy and USAID, will receive prizes of USD 10,000 to help turn their ideas into prototypes.
Sultanoğlu also travelled to the city of Tetovo for a meeting with the Mayor of the Municipality, Teuta Arifi. The meeting’s agenda included discussions on a number of UNDP-backed projects aimed at promoting good governance and increasing social inclusion at local level. During her visit to Tetovo, the UN Assistant Secretary-General also took time to see the city’s famous painted mosque.
Sultanoğlu’s visit concluded with a one-day visit to see firsthand the important achievements of UNDP’s project to restore the ecosystem of the Prespa Lake basin. Active for a decade, the project has received more than USD 15 million in support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Here Sultanoğlu visited the new water monitoring station and the country’s first-ever water monitoring boat, as well as the project’s model orchard for promoting sustainable agricultural practices.
In the region’s main town of Resen, the UN Assistant Secretary-General was shown one of the latest project results—a composting station for recycling organic waste.
Sultanoğlu’s visit also included stops at the beautiful Church of St. Naum and the natural springs on the shores of Ohrid Lake, as well as a tour of the Ataturk Museum in the southern city of Bitola.
The three-day visit provided Sultanoğlu with an opportunity to meet with all the heads of UN agencies and also to visit with all UNDP staff at the new offices that the organization now occupies near Skopje’s City Park.
In special recognition of their services to the country, the UN Assistant-Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Europe and the CIS presented awards to all those UNDP employees who have worked for the organization for more than ten years.