MARUF’21 was held October 1-3, with a focus on “Cities Developing Solutions.” The forum aimed to highlight efforts of those that are working to find solutions to pressing urban issues, as well as evaluate local needs and priorities in light of global trends. Two panels in the forum were supported and hosted by INGEV.
“The notion that guides all endeavors of local administrations is human development – an idea at its core.”
Held on the first day of the event, the panel “City’s Logbook: Voluntary Local Reviews of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Journey” featured Vural Çakır, president of INGEV. According to Çakır, human development should guide the endeavors of local administrations.
- “Local administrations, metropolitans and districts must be in constant contact with citizens, and involved in their daily lives,” Çakır said. “They must take into consideration SDGs on a daily basis, in addition to internalizing them and adapting them to local needs. They should work as such. Remaining absent in citizens’ lives is the biggest risk.”
- “Localizing goals and indicators is the most critical matter,” he continued. “To be more specific, human development must be impartially measured, which is why local administrations need to be audited by an independent and reliable institution.”
- “Another noteworthy issue is the objective positioning and localizing of data within our daily lives,” he noted. “We are currently working on an open portal to be in service next year that will support local administrations for their 2030 goals, which will be available to all.”
The panel was carried in collaboration with the Marmara Municipalities’ Union, UN-Habitat and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Executive representatives of local administrations from Barcelona, Colombia, Izmir and Sultanbeyli shared their local experiences.
“The refugee issue is a universal issue for humanity, and not just a matter concerning the borders of a country.”
On the second day of the event refugee entrepreneurship was discussed in the panel, “Refugee Entrepreneurs: Pioneers of Development and Social Cohesion”. Opening the panel with his keynote speech, Çakır underscored the fact that issues surrounding refugees are a universal issue for humanity, and not just a matter limited to the borders of a country. Other highlights from Çakır’s speech can be found below:
- “One of the most prioritized fields of study in Berlin and across Germany today is social cohesion,” Çakır said. “Turks’ journey to Germany has a history of 60 years. This is a universal issue, and achieving social cohesion is actually a process that may take years to come.”
- “Refugees living in Turkey are living with us now – they are our new citizens,” he said. “That is why a roadmap must be put in place to improve their contribution to urban employment and to support social cohesion. And we have to stick with this roadmap.”
- “If we look at employment situation right now, we can see that 951,00 Syrians go to work every day. In addition, there are 15,000 companies registered to Syrians and 140,000 work as freelancers. Even so, they have a high rate of unemployment, at 36%.”
- “It is critical to include refugee entrepreneurs to the process, just like the host community, by employing an egalitarian approach to banking and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) financing,” he said. “At the same time, a formula that is not male-dominant must be developed to include women entrepreneurs to the workforce.”
- “Regulations to encourage registered trade activities are needed,” he continued. “The integration of refugees’ entrepreneurships into the supply and trade networks is of paramount importance. Toward that end, city-specific and urban entrepreneurship, vocational and language trainings will be created.”
- “If we want to succeed in social cohesion and development, we must come up with a strategy that is above politics, based on human development and includes the former owners and new citizens for the sake of a peaceful and virtuous city,” he emphasized.
Participants from UN Development Program (UNDP) and the Syrian International Business Association (SIBA) painted the overall picture of refugee entrepreneurship in Turkey in the panel, “Refugee Entrepreneurs: Pioneers of Development and Social Cohesion”, while the second part of the session featured inspiring stories from female refugee entrepreneurs regarding their journeys of trade and of founding companies.