After her first field visit to Gaziantep, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Turkey, Louisa Vinton paid a two-day visit to İzmir to carry out an on-site examination of the work of UNDP Turkey supporting local socio-economic development.
UNDP Turkey’s Resident Representative Louisa Vinton paid a two-day field visit to İzmir, a province where UNDP Turkey works to increase local resilience and promote sustainable growth.
91 percent of the Syrians in Turkey live in urban areas in the South-eastern provinces and the metropolitan areas with significant impact on the local labour markets and economy. İzmir, the third most socio-economically developed province of Turkey, is among them. Hosting a multi-sectoral, diversified local economy and demographic structure as well as offering a myriad of opportunities in jobs and education, İzmir is one of the most attractive provinces both for domestic migrants and Syrians. The province plays host to a significant number of the estimated 3.6 million Syrian refugees now living in the country. With around 170,000 Syrians under Temporary Protection (SuTP), it is among the provinces that are under pressure due to the post-crisis effects of the Syrian conflict.
During the two-day field visit to İzmir, Ms. Vinton visited the Textile Machinery Operators Training and Harmonization Centre, İzmir Model Factory and Innovation Centre; met with Yavuz Selim Köşger, the Governor of İzmir; Tunç Soyer, the Mayor of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality; Mehmet Yavuz, Secretary-General of İzmir Development Agency; and local stakeholders, and finally attended the Certificate Ceremony of the last two pilot programmes at İzmir Innovation Centre.
Visit to the Textile Machinery Operators Training and Harmonization Centre
The visit commenced with Ms. Vinton’s tour at the Textile Machinery Operators Training and Harmonization Centre which contributes to employability in the field of textile. The various vocational and technical trainings organized within the Centre support the development of professional skills and employability of Syrians residing in İzmir under temporary protection as well as the members of the host community. In addition to vocational trainings, Turkish language courses targeting the Syrians are also conducted in the Centre with the aim of supporting their integration into economic and social life.
At this Centre, a total of 153 people, of whom 102 are Syrians and 51 are of Turkish nationality, have successfully completed the "Menswear Sewing Course" and 20 percent of the trainees have been directed to employment opportunities through İŞKUR, the Turkish Employment Agency. An additional 139 migrants most of whom are Syrians have been granted certificates of Turkish language courses at A1 level.
In this respect, trainings implemented under Turkey Resilience Project in response to the Syria Crisis (TRP) offer a great opportunity for the inclusion of Syrians and Turkish citizens in the active labour market more quickly and appropriately. Thus, the Centre sets an example for developing new jobs and livelihoods and thereby increasing the resilience of Syrians and host communities.
Meeting with Local Partners
Following the visit to the Centre, Ms. Vinton later met with Mehmet Yavuz, the Secretary-General of İzmir Development Agency (İZKA). The Industrial Symbiosis Project, implemented in cooperation between UNDP and İZKA to enable a better environment for industrial symbiosis, was on the agenda of the meeting.
Her next visit was to Yavuz Selim Köşger, the Governor of İzmir in order to discuss the overall conditions of Syrians residing in İzmir in terms of their livelihoods and the progress having been made at the Textile Machinery Operator Training and Adaptation Centre so far.
Ms. Vinton’s next stop was the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality so as to meet with Tunç Soyer, the Mayor of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality and his delegation. The agenda of the meeting was the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals with a cooperation between UNDP and İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, other cooperation opportunities for the upcoming period, and the overall conditions of SuTP in İzmir from a livelihoods perspective.
Visit to İzmir Model Factory
On the second day, Ms. Vinton visited and conducted an on-site examination at İzmir Model Factory which would provide guidance to enterprises on digitalization and lean manufacturing.
Applied Capability and Digital Transformation Centres (Model Factories) were established in İzmir, Gaziantep and Mersin under the Job Creation Component of Turkey Resilience Project in Response to Syria Crisis implemented jointly by UNDP and the Ministry of Industry and Technology with funding from the European Union. Aiming to improve productivity by transforming the local manufacturing industry through innovation and Industry 4.0 practices and to open new channels of exports by contributing to the competitiveness of enterprises, Model Factories provide practical training, consulting services and guidance to local enterprises and SMEs on digitalization and lean manufacturing. Thus, they create new job opportunities for Turkish host communities and Syrians, and contribute to sustainable growth.
Visit to İzmir Chamber of Commerce and İzmir Innovation Centre
Following the visit to İzmir Model Factory, Ms. Vinton visited the İzmir Chamber of Commerce for the certificate ceremony of the two pilot programmes named the Innovation Leadership Programme and the Mentorship Programme within the İzmir Innovation Centre.
İzmir Innovation Centre aims to support sustainable development at the local level and make İzmir a national and global city, a regional hub for design, innovation and entrepreneurship. The Centre was established and operationalized in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Technology, İzmir Chamber of Commerce and UNDP. It’s among the three innovation centres established under the Job Creation Component of Turkey Resilience Project in Response to Syria Crisis funded by the European Union.
The primary objective of the Innovation Centres is to support local businesses and entrepreneurship ecosystems to become a centre of attraction for innovative businesses and large companies, through increasing competitiveness and innovative competencies of the economic actors in İzmir, Mersin and Adana. They offer education and certificate programmes, consultancy and mentorship support, capacity building services, specialized programmes (Innovation Roadmap, Commercialization Roadmap, Growth Accelerator etc.), laboratory and office services, awareness and ecosystem development activities for entrepreneurs. Focusing on transforming İzmir, Mersin and Adana into national and global hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship, the Innovation Centres also support sustainable development in these cities.
In the province of İzmir where Resident Representative Louisa Vinton paid a two-day field visit, and in other provinces affected by the Syrian crisis, UNDP works with local organizations, chambers of industry, business organizations for economic integration, social cohesion, supporting local capacities, and regional development.
Thanks to its expertise of over 50 years in sustainable development and its projects focusing on resilience, local and sustainable development, UNDP offers long-term, comprehensive and structural solutions to overcome the precariousness of Syrian refugees and the challenges resulting from the Syrian crisis.