|2007 Second Evaluation Meeting (Istanbul Hilton Hotel) - 13 November 2007|
2007 Second Evaluation Meeting of the United Nations “Joint Program to Protect and Promote the Human Rights of Women and Girls” was held at Istanbul Hilton Hotel.
At the opening of the meeting, Guler Sabanci, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Sabanci Foundation, Sahabettin Harput, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior Affairs, and Kemal Dervis, the Chairman of the United Nations Development Group and Development Program delivered their speeches.
At the Evaluation Meeting, Governors, Mayors and representatives of the women organizations and academia discussed the Local Equality Action Plans that have been prepared within the scope of the pilot application ongoing in 6 cities (Izmir, Kars, Nevsehir, Sanliurfa, Trabzon, and Van) to create “Women Friendly Cities” and the developments that have been achieved so far.
The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Sabanci Foundation, Guler Sabanci stated that “Sabanci Foundation not only supports the joint program financially, but also actively takes part in the processes and decision-making mechanisms in the implementation of the program”. Sabanci stated that the last evaluation meeting was held in June 2007 in Sanliurfa and added that Local Equality Action Plans have been prepared since the start of the joint program based on the matters and priorities specific to each city. Guler Sabanci also stated that they have started Sabanci Foundation Grant Program in order to put these plans into action and that out of the 67 applications made in 2007, 11 projects were provided grants.
Sabanci explained that one of the projects to be applied targeted to have women candidates in Kars in 2009 local elections, one other project was geared towards providing health services to the women and girls working in Sanliurfa as seasonal agricultural workers while another project included providing education to the mothers with visually impaired children in Trabzon. Guler Sabanci also added that 33 high school teachers were given a 3-day training by Sabanci University on women rights and that at the end of the training all teachers who attended the training were awarded with “Purple Certificates”.
The Chairman of the United Nations Development Program, Kemal Dervis said “As a result of a research conducted in more than 70 countries we have learned that the bureaucracies and organizations where women hold stronger positions there is a more transparent administration and less corruption. That does not necessarily mean that the women are always more honest. However, we see that in environments based on the equality of men and women, honesty is better appreciated, people tend to behave with higher morals and control each other better”.
Dervis stated that the only way to transform the cities into egalitarian, and women-friendly cities was to allocate sufficient resources, human resources and financial resources along with the political will and determination and added "Furthermore, a properly functioning monitoring mechanism needs to be established. Development and strengthening of the dialogue between the parties is an important factor that will contribute to the process towards achieving women-friendly cities”.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Sahabettin Harput noted that one of the most important changes realized in Turkey regarding women oriented policies was changing of the definition of general equality in the constitution in 2004. Reminding that due to this change the state was obligated to implement the necessary regulations and take the required measures to ensure that men and women gain equal rights and opportunities in all areas, Harput also noted that important legal arrangements have been effected during this process.
Drawing attention to the fact that the joint program run jointly with the UN was an important step in reaching the target of “Happy individual, peaceful society” Harput explained that the aim of the program was to realize equality between men and women on national and local levels and to develop local service models geared towards the needs of the women and girls.