Fighting Inequalities in the Anthropocene

Social Cohesion Report Enables a Greater Comprehension of the Recent Developments

The “Social Cohesion Development” report has been published by researcher Aysen Ataseven this year on behalf of INGEV. The report, which was prepared using data gathered from 1514 interviews across 26 provinces in Turkey, focuses on comprehending the dimensions of social cohesion and the current situation in the country.

As the subject continues to be relevant, INGEV in cooperation with Istanbul Bilgi University has published a Social Cohesion Development Report in 2020 as part of the Human Development Monitor in order to understand the current situation and to monitor the integrity of the transitions in the social dynamics in Turkey. The study enables a greater comprehension of the recent developments in social cohesion.

The Social Cohesion Index created as a result of this study lays out important evaluation indicators for social life and will make it possible to more methodically follow this issue in the future

Research in this study was carried out with the aim of determining the level of social cohesion in Turkey during the recent period of increasing political polarization. In order to bring greater clarity to the issue, the report prepared a framework for the creation of a “Social Cohesion Index,” which was modified from the social cohesion model of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) and Bertelsmenn Stiftung.

Using this approach, social cohesion was examined under three main headings, adhering to its conceptual framework:

  • Connectedness
  • Social relations
  • Understanding of Common Benefit

Accordingly, cases subject to social adaptation were determined under each heading and corresponding sets of questions were developed based upon this.

The Social Cohesion Index

In the face of deepening polarization, social cohesion has become one of the most pressing issues on the political and public agenda in both Turkey and the rest of the world. In 2018, INGEV, in cooperation with the Istanbul Policy Center, developed a research approach for evaluating the social cohesion process prior to conducting a national survey, the results of which were then published as a report for political decision-makers to identify current strengths and challenges and offer policy recommendations for improving social cohesion in Turkey.

Since 2018, Turkey and many places around the world have been experiencing a period of system transformation, where new social norms are emerging as societal tensions are being addressed and the relationships with political bodies are being redefined. Accompanied by the 2020 COVID pandemic, this transition period has truly become a challenge in many critical areas for citizen-state relations for Turkey and governments worldwide. Throughout the pandemic, the main demands of citizens from their governments have remained effective economic management, full transparency, and strong actions.

To read full report

INGEV Works to Ensure Disabilities Can’t Stand in the Way of Women’s Success

According to the most recent data published in the 2013 Population and Housing Survey, 7.9% of the female population in Turkey is composed of women with disabilities accordingly. Disabled women are often exposed to discrimination and many violations of their rights due to being both women and disabled, yet these problems often remain invisible to the rest of society. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities works to make disabled women and their problems visible by making special reference to women with disabilities, and encourages policymakers to take confident measures to empower these women and girls.

At INGEV, ensuring the full and effective participation in social life of disabled women and girls, increasing their participation in decision-making processes, guaranteeing that they can fully benefit from the rights and freedoms in international and national legislation are of great importance and focus in human development programs.

One of the main rights that disabled women face discrimination is the right to work. Since March 2020, disabled women have become INGEV’s priority target group in the “Improving Access to Livelihoods for People with Disabilities Project,” which has been carried out in partnership with Relief International and with BPRM funding support. INGEV is working to provide employment and entrepreneurship support to participants within the scope of the livelihoods project in order for disabled women to confidently benefit from their right to work.

Selen Göknar is one of these women able to benefit from INGEV’s entrepreneurship support. In spite of her hearing impairment, Göknar, who has experience in cooking and pastry in important kitchens, was able to establish her own pastry shop after applying to INGEV’s program. The success of her shop, ‘Silent Bakery’ attracted the attention of Anadolu Agency, who published a report about her and gained more public support for her business.


EBRD Expresses Thanks to INGEV Mentors for Efforts in Strengthening Capacities of SMEs

During the second year of the INGEV business development mentoring project supported by EBRD, many entrepreneurs came together online with many of Turkey’s well-known mentors in the sector to participate in a series of meetings on how to improve trading functions and develop business capacities.

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, entrepreneurs had the opportunity to learn how to strengthen the weaknesses of their businesses while building new networks from the public to private sector.

During a February online event, EBRD Deputy Head of Turkey (Corporates) Hande Işlak met with the mentors to express appreciation for their cooperation in the “Business Development Mentorship” project. INGEV would also like to thank all of the mentors and the EBRD for walking on this path with us.

Support to Digitalization of Refugee Women-Led Companies

As the Covid-19 pandemic enters its second year, the digitalization of businesses and the ability to work remotely became more crucial than ever before. Funded by the Japanese government and run by UNDP, INGEV launched the emergency support to Syrian SMEs project.

During Project implementation, 48 female-led refugee companies received a mini recovery grant to finance their urgent business needs. Out of those 48 female-led refugee companies, 31% received digital marketing support as well to increase their brand awareness and enable them to reach wider and new client base. In addition, 44% of them received digital infrastructure grants support in the form of providing them with unlimited internet access and/or cloud-based business management tool. The digital infrastructure grants aims to lay the foundation for a digitalized business that can operate in the current business environment. Finally, trainings organized by INGEV which aimed to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to overcome the current challenges imposed by the covide-19 outbreak, such as: digital communication tools, digital marketing practices, digital sales channels, managing social media tools for businesses and Turkish government response & support to SMEs during the pandemic.

District Mayors Awarded During 2020 Human Development Index-District Virtual Event

During an online conference held by INGEV on January 29th, the results of the 2020 Human Development Index-Districts (HDI-D) were officially announced, with the mayors of the districts who achieved “Very High Human Development” receiving awards. The HDI-D is prepared yearly by INGEV in support of encouraging human development at the district level.

The opening speech of the meeting was given by INGEV President Vural Çakır. Prior to the start of the awards ceremony, Istanbul Policy Center Director Prof. Turkey Fuat Keyman alongside UNDP Turkey UNDP Assistant Resident Representative (Programme) Seher Alacacı Arıner discussed the topic “New Localism and the Vision of Human Development.”

INGEV President Vural Çakır: “While creating 2020 Human Development Index – Districts, we focused on the categories that are effective in determining the roles of local governments.”

IPC Director Prof. Fuat Keyman: “Under New Locality, three are three points that can be carefully evaluated and considered as a suggestion: 1) A City with Virtue 2) A City in Digital Transformation 3) A City with a City Management Coalition.”

UNDP Turkey Assistant Resident Representative (Programme) Seher Alacacı Arıner: “The 2020 Human Development Report analyzes the coexistence of human beings and our planet, which is the defining issue of our age.”

The coordinator of the HDI-D, Prof.  Murat Şeker also gave a presentation explaining the HDI-D working system before announcing the results.

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Top Performing Metropolitan Cities

The results of the 2020 Human Development Index-Metropolitan (HDM-M) report have been announced by INGEV. The conference commemorating the occasion was held online on February 24th, with many Metropolitan Mayors receiving awards for their success in human development.

At the start of the meeting, INGEV President Vural Çakır and Istanbul Policy Center Director Prof. Fuat Keyman held a discussion on the topic of “Localized Human Development”.

Following this, Prof. Murat Seker spoke on the structure of the HDI-M research, and INGEV experts Cenk Ozan and Berna Yaman shared the results of the index.

The Human Development Index, previously evaluated only at the district level for the past three years in Turkey in support of human development at the local level, was for the first time this year expanded by INGEV to the Metropolitan level. The project was carried out by a team of experts, led by Istanbul University City Policy Center Director Prof. Murat Şeker with contributions in statistical analysis by INGEV.

Published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) at the country level since 1990, the Human Development Index aims to measure and compare human development through income, health and education in different countries. The report is calculated by taking into account income per capita, life expectancy at birth, literacy and schooling rates.

The HDI-M 2020 Study consists of 228 variables grouped into 9 sub-indexes

In the process of determining the HDI-B model variables in accordance with Sustainable Development goals, the UN Sustainable Development Indicators were consulted and adapted alongside the TURKSTAT Sustainable Development Indicators 2010-2019 studies conducted by the Ministry of Development and the Socio-Economic Development Rankings of Provinces and Regions from previous years.

The nine sub-indexes determined are: Governance and Transparency, Combating Inequalities, Quality Education, Healthy Life, Sustainable Economy, Social Life, Sustainable Environment and Energy, Gender Equality and Transportation and Accessibility. Alongside a detailed examination of local government activity reports and strategic planning, the collection of central statistics, an analysis of the municipality websites and social media accounts, and consultations with “secret citizens” on a total of 21 subjects were included in the index.

Qualified Education and Healthy Living areas have been found to be the areas with the highest average value in metropolitan cities. Sub-indices with the lowest performance average are Governance and Transparency, Social Life, Gender Equality and Struggle with Inequalities. The report concluded that metropolitan cities need to carry out more studies in terms of human development in these areas.

Istanbul ranked first place among provinces in the Human Development Index 2020

Istanbul ranked first place in the HDI-M 2020 Human Development Index, followed by Ankara, Izmir, Muğla and Antalya. Other provinces that stand out in the ranking are Eskişehir, Bursa, Denizli, Sakarya and Kocaeli.

Among the metropolitan cities, the average score on the main index scale is 45.3, with the highest being 65.7 and the lowest, 24.7. Of the 30 provinces, 16 metropolitan cities lie above the average, and 14 below. The cities which fall below average are Trabzon, Malatya, Kayseri, Adana, Manisa, Ordu, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kahramanmaraş, Hatay, Diyarbakir, Van, Mardin, and Sanliurfa.

Of the top ten regions in the index ranking, the Black Sea, Eastern Anatolia and Southeastern Anatolia are not represented.

INGEV is expanding its efforts to support human development at the local level

As localization gradually increases, local policy tools that influence human development are also becoming more diversified. Effective use of data-based management tools by local governments on a micro-scale with support by other stakeholders, especially central governments, can increase the quality of life of constituents.

INGEV places great importance on understanding the manageable variables which can affect daily life, and as such has been conducting the Human Development Index-Districts (HDI-I) study since 2016. In addition to the HDI-I study, this year has seen steps taken by INGEV to develop and monitor human development at the local scale with the Human Develop Index-Metropolitan (HDI-B), which analyzes data collected from metropolitan municipalities in around 30 provinces.

Please click on the link to watch the HDI-M event

Success of Students During Distance Learning Limited By Digital Inequalities

Digital inequalities are preventing society from fully embracing distance learning, concludes a recent Human Development Monitoring Research report conducted by INGEV-TAM in collaboration with Istanbul Bilgi University Faculty of Communications.

The report found that lack of digital access is the most prominent factor in preventing students from being able to participate in distance learning programs. Due to socio-economic barriers, students may not have access to necessary technological devices or internet connection to be able to successfully complete their classwork.

Lack of digital literacy observed in the parents of students has emerged as another barrier in students’ access to distance education. As the constant presence of students at home places important, and at times overwhelming, responsibility on parents to take on the role of teacher in face-to-face education, the issue of digital literacy becomes more relevant.

Altogether, these report findings point to how the underlying inequalities in society have led to varying levels of digital access and literacy within different segments of the society.

Localizing Human Development: HDI-M and HDI-D Book Published

INGEV is celebrating the e-book release of its Human Development performance evaluation. The book details human development levels of both the District and Metropolitan levels across nine categories. One of the most important features of the book is that it also includes a model for establishing a more methodical connection from the Sustainable Development perspective.

This truly pioneering work, the “Localizing Human Development” finds global relevancy extending past the Turkish context, and the book includes many visionary perspectives and contributions from esteemed academics. This e-book was prepared by Prof. Murat Şeker and features an additional piece written by INGEV President Vural Çakır discussing the interrelation between Human Development and Sustainable Development.

You can find the book here. (Only in Turkish)

Fighting Inequalities in the Anthropocene

A follow-up meeting on the 2020 UNDP Human Development Report “The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene” was aired via live streaming on the INGEV’s social initiative Vibio TV Youtube Channel on March 17th.

Under the theme “From the INGEV Perspective: Social Inclusion and the Struggle Against Inequality in the Anthropocene,” the event follows the global release of the report on December 15 of last year. The report was launched in Turkey as a cooperative effort by UNDP Turkey, the Habitat Association, INGEV, and the Turkish Economic Policy Research Foundation (TEPAV).

INGEV President Vural Çakır: “Combating inequalities has become a survival issue. The income group of a baby’s family becomes a very influential factor in the inequalities that he or she may have to struggle with throughout his/her life.”

UNDP Private Sector Programme Manager Hansın Doğan: “There is not a single country that has achieved very high human development without exerting great pressure on the planet. We must support all countries to reach a high level of human development “that does not cost” to the earth. We are the generation that should bring about change.”

LOSC Lille and Turkish National Team Player Yusuf Yazıcı: “Despite the magnitude of the problems in the world, everything is in our hands. Without harming our planet, we can reduce inequalities and develop at the same time. If we want, we can achieve it!”

Published by the UNDP since 1990, the 30th annual issue of the Human Development Report “The Frontier Ahead: Human Development and Anthropocene” issued a call to all of humanity to come together in creating a new way forward for the future development of our world.

In this new geological age that we have labeled the Anthropocene, or the Age of Humanity, humans are consciously shaping the planet. Our actions are directly leading to the destruction of our world, through climate change, the acidification of our oceans, the pollution of our air and water, the degradation of our soil, and the loss of biodiversity. A quarter of the remaining species on our planet are now facing extinction, some of which are predicted to completely disappear within the next few decades.

The UNDP’s 2020 report places the focus on rebalancing the relationship between humans and nature, emphasizing the need to find long-lasting solutions for improving human life. The report brings up important questions, such as how will human development change in this new era and how can we find a new way to expand human freedoms, choices, and action, while at the same time removing the pressures on our planet?

Focusing on these issues, the report provides evidence that the recovery from this unprecedented pandemic can be both environmentally and socially sustainable.

Please click on the link to watch the follow-up event