By Burc Eruygur
ISTANBUL (AA) – The Organization of Turkic States (OTS) and UN-Habitat, a UN body responsible for promoting human settlements and sustainable urban development, signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday.
“The OTS and UN-Habitat have agreed to collaborate and jointly advocate for urban development to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements in the Turkic States,” read an OTS statement.
The deal was signed at the organization’s headquarters in Istanbul.
The OTC is “convinced that establishing cooperation with UN-Habitat can be crucial for promoting sustainable urbanization, accessing global expertise, mobilizing resources, participating in policy dialogue, and getting access to capacity building resources and improve their own capacity to promote sustainable urbanization” among its member states, said the statement, quoting OTS Secretary General Kubanychbek Omuraliev.
He also said the OTS will assist countries in efforts surrounding earthquake recovery by “providing technical assistance, mobilizing resources, and supporting community-led recovery initiatives.”
Omuraliev listed such initiatives as conducting assessments of damaged housing, infrastructure, and public spaces, rebuilding damaged infrastructure, funding for infrastructure projects, as well as support for capacity-building initiatives.
For her part, Executive Director of UN-Habitat Maimunah Mohd Sharif stressed the need for planning, building and managing of cities, the statement said, further noting that the future of humanity is “undoubtedly urban.”
“The collaboration between the OTS and UN-Habitat will focus on building capacity in Turkic countries, supporting the development of city-level governance frameworks and introducing participatory budgeting mechanisms. The MoU will help collect and analyze data on urban governance as well as develop and run public awareness campaigns to promote urban governance reforms,” the statement concluded.
The OTS, formerly called the Turkic Council, is an international organization comprising prominent independent Turkic countries that work together to elevate relations and the union among themselves.
Its members are Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.
Hungary, Turkmenistan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have observer status.