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National development plans surpass MDG requirements

Turkey in on its way to achieving many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the targets set by the Government of Turkey for the MDG Report of 2005. There are still pockets of poverty in the country, however, and significant domestic structural inequalities that are largely due to gender and regional disparities. Therefore, the Government of Turkey and the United Nations system in Turkey, particularly UNDP, pay special attention to MDG 1 (eradicating extreme poverty and hunger), MDG 3 (promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women) and MDGs 4 and 5 (reducing child mortality and improving maternal health). The country faces challenges in these areas because of the significant gender and regional disparities.

The State Planning Organization attached to the Prime Minister’s Office is the overall coordination agency for national planning and development policy instruments, including the formulation of Turkey’s MDG Report. The State Planning Organization was also responsible for the ninth National Development Plan (2007-2013). This Plan and other current social and economic plans of the country overlap with the MDG-related targets and go even further by incorporating policy plans and instruments for accession to the European Union. In line with the country’s upper-middle-income status and relatively high levels of development, targets for MDG 1, for example, are set at higher thresholds.  The MDGs are not specifically cited by name in the national programmes, however.

The most outstanding achievement of Turkey in the past five years in attaining the MDGs has been the reduction of the levels of poverty, using the national poverty line as a yardstick. Applying the local cost of the basic needs basket (including non-food items), the poverty rate, 26.9 per cent in 2002, was reduced to 20.5 per cent in 2006. This figure is no doubt related to the steady growth rates of the economy. Poverty, defined as living on a dollar a day, has practically been eliminated, standing at 0.02 per cent in 2006, down from 0.2 per cent in 2002.

In addition, local social partners formed platforms and developed Local Actions Plans to combat unregistered employment, a major macroeconomic problem for the country. This resulted in an increase in the number of registered workers in pilot provinces.

Turkey also became a lead country of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Youth Employment Network, which indicates the country’s commitment to the development of a National Plan of Action on youth employment.

Last updated 1 November 2007

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NOTE: The MDG data presented here is the latest available from the United Nations Statistics Division. The World Bank has recently released new poverty estimates, which reflect improvements in internationally comparable price data. The new data estimates set a new poverty line of US$1.25 a day and offer a much more accurate picture of the cost of living in developing countries. They are based on the results of the 2005 International Comparison Program (ICP), released in first half of 2008. Country-specific poverty estimates will be released by the World Bank in late 2008