Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, in Response to the Report by Dr. Yurdakul Yiğitgüden, Coordinator of the Economic and Environmental Activities, at the 987th Permanent Council

Tacan İLDEM 06.03.2014
Thank you Mr. Chairperson,

I would like to join the previous speakers in warmly welcoming Dr. Yurdakul Yiğitgüden, Coordinator of the Economic and Environmental Activities, back to the Permanent Council and thank him for his comprehensive presentation of his Office’s work plan for 2014.

We support the OCEEA Work Plan for 2014. It clearly reflects the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security and the priorities of the Chairmanship. As the report rightly points out, strengthening of the Office’s coordination and cooperation with field presences, and greater involvement of the Partners for Cooperation in economic and environmental activities are essential for the success of our activities in the Second Dimension.

We are looking forward to having constructive discussions in the Economic and Environmental Forum meetings this year in line with the overall topic selected by the Chairmanship. The Office of the Coordinator on Economic and Environmental Affairs will provide valuable insight to these discussions. We consider that responding to environmental challenges with a focus on natural disaster risk reduction is a most relevant theme. It will provide us with an important opportunity to explore ways and means to enhance our cooperation in this area. The First Preparatory Meeting, which was held in Vienna on 27-28 January 2014, provided a good platform for fruitful and thought provoking discussions, in which we took an active part. We are confident that the Second Preparatory Meeting on 20-21 May 2014 in Montreux will offer us an additional impetus for furthering our fruitful discussions in this area.

I also wish to seize this opportunity to voice once again a longstanding call we have been making over the years at all levels: Turkey strongly advocates the view that the status of the Coordinator’s Office should be upgraded and reinforced in terms of staffing and resourcing in a manner commensurate with its true value and importance for and within the Organization. Such an action would not only present the Office of the Coordinator the leverage necessary for it to successfully discharge its mandate, but also endow it with an enhanced capacity to meet the participating States’ expectations.

Under the current circumstances, no matter how much we try our best to bring a qualitative difference, we continue to believe that the potential of the Economic and Environmental Dimension is still not being fully utilized. The Helsinki+40 process offers us an important opportunity to review the work in the Second Dimension and to identify areas where we can further strengthen the OSCE’s capacity to address economic and environmental challenges in our region and generate added value.

In conclusion, I would like to thank once again Dr. Yiğitgüden and his able staff for this report and for their valuable work.

Thank you.