Covid-19 Resilience and Response

What is the project about?

Covid-19 Resilience and Response Project, which is funded by the Government of Japan is part of UNDP’s rapidly developed integrated response to COVID-19 health, humanitarian, and developmental crisis at global, regional and national levels and complementary with the efforts of the Government of Turkey and other development partners and also it is fully  aligned with the country-specific needs. These efforts on response to Covid-19 crisis will help all partners and decision makers to look beyond recovery, towards 2030, in four main areas: governance, social protection, green economy, and digital disruption.


What has been the situation?

Turkey reported its first positive case of COVID-19 on 11 March 2020. Similar to other countries responding to the pandemic, the number of positive cases in Turkey has increased daily with an expansion in the number of tests conducted nation-wide. As of 29 June 2021, the number of cases stand at 5,420,156, including 49,687 deaths.

The temporary closure of businesses, including 10,000 Syrian-owned businesses in Turkey, have been causing unemployment and loss of income through decreasing wages, affecting all parts of society.

UNDP’s response to COVID-19 crisis is consistent with both, the UN Socio Economic Response Framework and the WHO led Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. UNDP in Turkey is repurposing its current activities in all of its areas of intervention with a focus on most disadvantageous groups. UNDP also co-leads the UN response to the medium and long-term socio-economic impacts and is also co-coordinating with UNHCR the 3RP -Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan- Turkey chapter to support Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey.

UNDP’s solid partnerships with private sector and the Business for Goals (B4G) Platform have allowed for a quick response to support private sector needs to the impacts of the pandemic and surveys were conducted to better understand how the COVID-19 has affected micro and small and medium-scale enterprises in Turkey including Syrian-owned businesses. The survey shows that 62% of local enterprises responded that they were «substantially impacted» while this rate is 65% for Syrian owned enterprises. The business volume of more than half of the companies has decreased by more than 50% for local businesses while this rate is 70% for Syrian businesses. According to the 60% of the Syrian businesses, they won’t be able to sustain their businesses after April 2020 and will have to shut down their business which will result in losing jobs for 455 employees. It is evident that SMEs are the hardest hit and the ones employing the most vulnerable sectors of population. Socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on 4 million refugees in Turkey are observed severely as they have limited access to the livelihood opportunities, public services and information on protective measures of COVID-19.

As an immediate action to the crisis, Ministry of Health established a Scientific Committee composed of scientists and medical doctors, directly reporting to Minister and at the center of decision making/advice for health-related issues.

With the increase of the intense medical requirement, there has also been an increase in medical waste. According to a survey conducted by UNDP Turkey in cooperation with UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector and Development (IICPSD) in May 2020, the volume of the waste increased that brought difficulties in containment, temporary storage, transportation and handling at sterilization units. The survey also shows that waste management practitioners has been severely affected by Covid-19 and this effect will continue until the end of 2021.


What is our mission?

In response to impacts of COVID-19 and the needs identified in consultation with the stakeholders at national and local levels, the project aims to accelerate supporting firms for technological transformation and undertaking investments towards more inclusive, sustainable and climate friendly business models in response to the medium and long term impacts of COVID-19. This will be based on Government’s development priorities and UNDP’s already existing cooperation and partnerships with the Government, private sector through B4G Platform and local authorities for the achievement of SDGs with a specific focus on green growth and Syria Crisis response and resilience. UNDP’s long-standing partnership with Ministry of Industry and Technology and Development Agencies that were established to ensure a bottom-up approach to address Turkey's development needs will be utilized in achievement of the relevant project outputs. The deeper cooperation with Development Agencies will play a crucial role to further UNDP's efforts responding to development-based crisis management and support public-private sector partnerships to address the recovery needs of SMEs. The project is also in full alignment with UN socio-economic response strategy and with the priorities of Government of Japan, particularly focusing on human security and/or humanitarian development nexus and planning to mobilize joint action of the public and private sector for Covid-19 response and recovery towards a rights-based, gender sensitive, refugee inclusive and low-carbon economy.


How are we doing this?

The project will tackle with the impacts of COVID-19 crisis through phases of preparedness, response and recovery with the activities that fall under the outputs of health systems strengthening, inclusive and integrated crisis management and response, addressing the human rights and socio-economic impacts of COVID-19.

1- Health Systems Strengthening: The project will address the needs on medical waste management and procurement of necessary equipment, which will support the efforts of Ministry of Health to enhance their crises response actions.  

The activities are planned to be piloted in selected provinces and expected to provide a model having good practices and lessons learned that potentially contribute to the overall functioning of medical waste management system of Turkey, which is managed by Ministry of Environment and Urbanization through the municipalities at local level. Also, capacity development activities on medical waste management will be arranged to hospital and municipality personnel and awareness raising activities for general public will be provided and necessary sanitary equipment will be put in public places in coordination with Ministry of Health.

2- Inclusive and integrated crisis management and response: The project will support national and sub-national capacities for planning, coordination and crisis management and in partnership with Development Agencies by developing 25 region-based fragile sector analysis reports and guidelines for textile, logistics, food, machinery, and automotive sectors, which are most effected by Covid-19 crisis. Also, market analysis for business in fragile sectors will be conducted to support these sectors’ business continuity and prevent supply chain disruptions in the crises. This output will be conducted in cooperation with Ministry of Industry and Technology General Directorate of Development Agencies and selected Development Agencies.

In addition, 1,000 SMEs will be provided with technical support and business advisory services to help them develop capacities, through an integrated and harmonized local pandemics and disaster resilience support system, which is based on inclusive and gender sensitive approach to risk-informed resilience. UNDP in cooperation with its private sector partners through B4G Platform and local private sector federations will also provide market-based guidance and support to critical sectors to shift their productive capacities for the production of globally demanded PPEs and other related goods, such as ICTs.

Complementary to UNDP’s existing support to Syria Crisis Response and Resilience programming, the specific needs of the Syrian owned enterprises and businesses to improve digital livelihood opportunities will also be addressed as a vital need while the traditional sectors are shrinking rapidly due to the pandemic. The project will focus on increasing the digital capabilities of Syrian owned businesses such as digital communications tools, marketing practices, sales channel development and managing social media tools for businesses through training and mentorship programs and financial support packages for refugees as well as an online freelance working platform.

Development Agencies will facilitate local mechanisms for empowerment of SMEs and, East Marmara Development Agency (MARKA) is assigned by the General Directorate of Development Agencies to be responsible for the coordination of the activities among Development Agencies and also sectoral technical working groups established.

Private sector partnerships will be ensured  through B4G platform partner private sector volunteer based organizations (TUSIAD and TÜRKONFED) and close engagement of Chambers of Commerce/Industry, Electronic Commerce Companies Association (ETİD), Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), Automotive Suppliers Association of Turkey (TAYSAD), Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exports Associations (İTKİB), Association of Turkish Machine Manufacturers (MİB) and Investment Support Offices (YDO). Regarding the activities addressing the Syrian population UNDP will continue to work with General Directorate of Productivity at Ministry of Industry and Technology, which is the main partner of UNDP in Syria Crisis Response programming supporting entrepreneurship as well as Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Services General Directorate of International Labour Force.

3- Addressing the human rights and socio-economic impacts of COVID-19: The project aims to provide Building Back Better (BBB) type of support to the Government and private sector to open up towards a low-carbon, inclusive and rights-based economy in line with SDGs. This approach will provide guidance to Government and non-government institutions to apply a resilience lens to economic recovery policies.

UNDP Turkey will benefit from the working experience with the Government of Japan in response to the Syria Crisis for increasing capacities within the local communities and economies, and operate in line with the cooperation between Turkey and Japan, as agreed at the 1st Annual Meeting on Japan-Turkey Disaster Risk Reduction Cooperation on December 10th, 2019.

All interventions within this project is people-centered, integrated, context-specific and is multi-dimensional in its crisis response-focus. The project will operate under the principle of delivering as one entity with all key actors including the government, private sector, civil society, and local communities.

How will Turkey Benefit?

The project will support Turkey’s efforts on Covid-19 resilience and response by taking the country-specific needs into consideration. With its human development and human security nexus, this project will strengthen national and local capacities for early recovery and social cohesion based on the principles of human rights and ‘leaving no one behind as the key principle of SDGs.

What has been achieved until today is given below:

  • 14 real-time PCR equipment and 66.000 kits used for vaccination studies were provided to Laboratory of General Directorate of Public Health to conduct tests.
  • With Accelerator Lab Turkey, health waste management activities such as waste equipment support to municipalities for public spaces and to hospitals were started to be implemented.
  • Containers for sharps were delivered within the scope of medical waste management. The procurement process of the waste containers and medical waste plastic bags were completed, and they will be delivered to relevant hospitals and municipalities by the Ministry of Health. The first draft of the technical guideline for medical waste segregation was completed. Moreover, medical waste management sector report was prepared in cooperation with the Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD). Training materials on the segregation and management processes of medical wastes are also about to be completed.
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Ministry of Industry and Technology and UNDP Turkey to develop capacity of Development Agencies on risk mitigation and post-disaster recovery policies and processes while strengthening digital capacity of SMEs to respond to impacts of crisis. Based on this cooperation Ministry and Development Agencies are implementing RFF (Digital Way) Project.
  • 25 Region-based Fragile Sector Analysis Reports and Guidelines on textile, logistics, food, machinery, and automotive sectors were completed. New Market Analysis and Product Space Analysis Reports which aims to support these sectors’ business continuity and prevent supply chain disruptions in the crises were also completed. All these reports were launched with the participation of the Minister of Industry and Technology.
  • Moreover, 6 webinars on impacts of COVID-19 on logistics, machinery, textile, food, automotive sectors and new market analysis were conducted.
  • Training programmes for 1.000 SMEs in the fragile sectors, one-on-one business consultancy services for 30 SMEs were conducted. 81 online trainings were held for SMEs, in which 2.000 people attended.
  • 8 modules of resilience alignment, risk management and preparedness trainings that include fundamentals terms of disaster risk management were provided to the 150 experts in the Development Agencies and DGDA. A Tool Kit on Life Security, Business Continuity and Economic Recovery which is first of its kind prepared.
  • 10 PPE producer SMEs received advisory services in export & trade, marketing & business development and finance, also together with the one-on-one consultancy, 3 webinars were organized in related areas. A guideline will be developed including lessons learnt from advisory services and fundamentals in PPE production.
  • 5 online trainings were developed to support digitalization phase of Syrian-owned enterprises and now available online and the topics covered are Digital Marketing Practices, Digital Communication Tools, Managing Social Media Tools for Business, Digital Sales Channel Development, Government Response & Support to SMEs during COVID-19 Outbreak in Turkey
  • 71 Syrian enterprises have benefitted from digital infrastructure grants (unlimited internet access, e-mailing and cloud-based business management tools grant for at least 6 months). Syrian-owned SMEs were also provided mini recovery grants (50 female entrepreneurs benefited).
  • 11 female-led companies and cooperatives attended to Demo Day, which aimed to bring together Syrian and Turkish women entrepreneurs within the context of supporting digitalization of Syrian SMEs.
  • UNDP Turkey and UNDP Bangladesh established the “Dükkan: Freelance Working Platform” with the technical support of Migrant Nation to develop a new social approach to digital works. 23 freelancers and a client registered to the platform for the test run. The Dükkan platform was launched announced on World Refugee Day.
  • Under UNDP-ILO Framework of Action, 2 online workshops and 5 Instagram livestream on impacts of COVID-19 on NEET youth were organized. Also “Hope for Youth Forum” was conducted, and Declaration on Hope for Youth was announced.
  • 3,074 NEET youth participated to training courses on e-commerce, foreign trade and social media marketing that are designed in line with fragile sectors’ needs. 166 NEET youth who achieved greater performance in the 1st phase, accepted to the 2nd phase of training with the focus on digital programs that are widely used in the fragile sectors.
  • Technical meetings held with Japan Bank for International Cooperation to discuss possible cooperation areas, dialogue/consultation with SDG Holistic Innovation Platform (SHIP)-a global platform jointly run by UNDP and Japan Innovation Network. Communication and cooperation with JICA are on-going.
  • In cooperation with IICPSD (Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development) and USHAŞ, a guideline for PPE production namely, “Lessons Learned and Strategies for Local Manufacturing of PPE for Covid-19 Response Based on Literature Review, Experience, and Case Study from Turkey: USHAŞ”, which also includes information on international standards and global market analyzes guide has been prepared.
  • Turkey is chosen as one of the four Global COVID-19 Private Sector Facility Pilot Country and under the project activities this partnership will be utilized.
  • A policy paper on low-carbon, inclusive and rights-based economy in line with SDGs prepared by an international economist.

For more please download Key Achievements brochure