The Organization of Turkic States (OTS) and UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency responsible for sustainable urban development, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the OTS Secretariat in Istanbul on 27 February 2023, APA reports citing OTS.
The OTS and UN-Habitat have agreed to collaborate and jointly advocate for urban development to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements in the Turkic States.
At the official signing ceremony, the OTS Secretary General Ambassador Kubanychbek Omuraliev emphasized “In line with the goals stipulated in the Turkic World Vision - 2040 as well as the relevant provisions of the OTS Strategy for 2022-2026, we are convinced that establishing cooperation with UN-Habitat can be crucial for promoting sustainable urbanization, accessing global expertise, mobilizing resources, participating in policy dialogue, and getting access to capacity building resources and improve their own capacity to promote sustainable urbanization in the OTS region”.
The Secretary General also stressed that “taking into account the current circumstances and emergencies occurring in our region, in particular natural disasters and earthquakes, together with UN-Habitat, the OTS will assist our countries in their earthquake recovery efforts by providing technical assistance, mobilizing resources, and supporting community-led recovery initiatives, such as conducting assessments of damaged housing, infrastructure, and public spaces, rebuilding damaged infrastructure, funding for infrastructure projects, as well as support for capacity-building initiatives”.
The Executive Director of UN-Habitat Maimunah Mohd Sharif stated that “Cities are here to stay, and the future of humanity is undoubtedly urban. But cities are not only the sources of problems. They offer innovative solutions to address the challenges – COVID, Climate and Conflicts. We need to better plan, build and manage our cities.”
The collaboration between the OTS and UN-Habitat will focus on building capacity in Turkic countries, supporting the development of city-level governance frameworks and introducing participatory budgeting mechanisms. The MoU will help collect and analyze data on urban governance as well as develop and run public awareness campaigns to promote urban governance reforms. The parties are also planning to organize a Regional Urban Forum for the Turkic States.