Istanbul, TURKEY, 17 September 2012/ IICPSD/ ACP:A high-level ACP-EC delegation from Brussels were hosted by the UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD) on 11-12 September, along with various representatives of Turkish institutions including the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economy, the Turkish Agency for Cooperation and Coordination, TOBB, DEIK, and BUTGEM.

Discussions led to renewed commitments of support for accelerated socio-economic development in the ACP countries.

The event was attended by African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States Secretary General Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas accompanied by Ms. Shazi Sahadutkan, ACP Expert in charge of private sector engagement. The European Commission was represented by Ms. Francesca Mosca, Director Sub-Saharan Africa and Horizontal ACP Matters and UNDP Brussels by its Director Mr. Antonio Vigilante and by Policy and Programme Advisor for Africa Ms. Nelima Okhoya. Also present was Dr. Mohammed Dhaoui, Director Business, Investment and Technology Services Branch (BIT) of the UNIDO. Ms. Simona Marinescu, Director of IICPSD office in Istanbul, and UNDP RC a.i/DRR Ulrika-Richardson Golinski also participated as hosts.

A high-level meeting with H.E. Dr. Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul, President of United Cities and Local Governments and Member of the UN High-Level Panel for the post 2015 Development Agenda took place at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality followed by media event in which Dr. Topbas, Dr. Chambas, Ms. Mosca and Mr. Vigilante expressed confidence that the IICPSD will play a key role in establishing the institutional partnership with the private sector that could leverage businesses’ role they are capable and willing to play for a world that is less poor, less discriminating and less exposed to environmental and climate change-driven risks.

Brussels delegation visiting the IICPSD in Istanbul last week, including the European Commission's Director for Sub-Saharan Africa and ACP Horizontal Issues Francesca Mosca (front row, second from left), and following her, the Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas, ACP Secretary General Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas and UNDP Brussels Director Antonio Vigilante.

The involved parties announced their intentions to further enhance the role of private sector in development in cooperation with IICPSD for the benefit of the 40 Least Developed Countries belonging to the ACP space. The increasing significance of the role of private sector in the ACP countries as a necessary partner for sustainable development and as a bridging actor within the global market was underlined. The participating Turkish institutions explicitly declared their willingness to share their experience in trade and economic cooperation with the ACP countries involving the IICPSD and in coordination with UNDP Brussels and the European Commission. The ACP Secretariat expressed its commitment to encourage ACP countries to utilize the experience of Turkey and of the European private sector in developing inclusive value-chains and in identifying business solutions for poverty alleviation. The European Commission stated its interest in partnering with the IICPSD towards developing institutional capacities for inclusive market building across ACP countries.

The cooperation between ACP-EC is based on the provision of the Cotonou Agreement, which is a comprehensive framework for the EU’s relations with 79 countries from Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific concluded in June 2000. The second revision of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, addressing the challenges of climate change, food security and state fragility was signed between the two parties in March 2010.

On 10 May 2012, UNDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ACP to enhance collaboration within the south-south cooperation and to promote inclusive economic growth and fulfillment of the MDGs. Hence, UNDP and the EC have explored ways to improve bilateral dialogue and institutional cooperation with regards to sustainable development.

IICPSD was launched by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark on 21 March 2011, with the goal of supporting inclusive and competitive markets and business models, fostering private sector engagement in development, becoming a center of excellence in developmental solutions and creating innovative and continuous partnerships with the private sector.

For the purpose of materializing the MoU in the area of inclusive business and private sector-led human development, the IICPSD and UNDP Brussels Office launched negotiations with ACP and the EC in Brussels, 4-6 June 2012, and agreed to resume discussions in Istanbul to streamline cooperation and to explore interest of Turkish institutions and businesses to partner for progress achieving MDGs in the ACP Least Developed Countries.

(Pictured top: ACP Secretary General addresses audience in Istanbul/ Photos by IICPSD)