What follows is an account of work conducted in relation to the EU:
To follow developments in the regional policies of the EU and contribute to Turkey’s adaptation to these policies,
To conduct studies on regional policies and ensure coordination both within and between relevant organizations and agencies,
To represent the Administration in sub-committees and various other units carrying out work under the coordination of the General Secretary of EU.
Identification of Project Areas Related to the EU and Ensuring the Coordination of Project Proposals:
Searching for possibilities of making use of EU structural funds and other funding schemes under the EU,
Conduct of project development work to make use of these funds and design of projects confirming to project cycle management and process as adopted by the EU.
EU Related Information and Training:
Compilation and sharing of information about the policies and practices of the EU including those of special interest for the GAP (i.e. expansion, integration, decentralization, subsidiary, transparency, sustainable development, entrepreneurial support, etc.),
Creation of a database covering the institutions of the EU as well as those of its candidate States,
Development of a training scheme and organization of seminars, conferences and panel discussions on various topics of relevance including project cycle management in the first place.
EU-GAP REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
The GAP Regional Development Program took effect upon a financing agreement acted on 7 December 2001 by the Turkish Undersecretariat of Treasury, GAP Regional Development Administration and the European Union. The program covers an implementation period of 5 years starting in 2002. 47 million Euro, which is the budget of the program, is given fully as a grant.
The program has its objectives including such national ones as the improvement of economic and social status of people living in this region of Turkey; Contribution to stable economic growth; Mitigation of regional development disparities and enhancing the production and employment capacity of the region.
The GAP Regional Development Program has three components: "Development of Cultural Heritage", "Rural Development" and "Support to Small and Medium-Size Enterprises".
About 34 million Euros out of the total program budget of 47 million Euros will be used to support projects developed by small and medium-size enterprises end non-profit organizations (i.e. civil society organizations, governmental organizations, municipalities, universities, etc.) in the region.
Known also as "Fertile Crescent" and "Upper Mesopotamia", the GAP region is historically the cradle of many civilizations and has served as a bridge between the Anatolian Peninsula and Mesopotamia. The GAP region is of international significance with its cultural properties dating back to various historical epochs and civilizations, its unique features and tourism potential. The region, however, is facing a serious threat of cultural erosion along with rather rapid developments taking place more recently, which stems from such factors as construction of large dams and irrigation facilities, farming practices on many tumulus, uncontrolled urbanization, migration and unwarranted changes in cultural structure. It needs to be underlined that especially the rich cultural heritage of the region has fallen prey to a rapid process of degradation and destruction within the last decade. An inevitable outcome of this process will be the loss of many archeological and cultural sites and shrinking income opportunities for many local households.
All these point out to the need to address historical and cultural properties in the region in a distinct and thoughtful manner.
In 2003, the Culture Heritage Development Project was launched in this context with grand provided by the European Commission. The GAP-RDA is now implementing the project to support local initiatives for the development of culture tourism while protecting the cultural and historical heritage of the region. As such, the project focuses not only physical properties such as historical structures/monuments and archaeological sites, but also on local lifestyles, cuisine, local handicrafts and folk culture.
1. Cultural Heritage Development Project (CHD):
In this project, the EC Representation to Turkey holds the authority for all related contracts while the GAP-RDA is in charge of technical implementation. For practical implementation, the GAP-RDA acted a service contract with a consortium led by ÇEKÜL Foundation and is now working with a technical support team formed under the contract.
The selection of the executing agency was made in line with relevant EU procedures on tendering. The consortium (composed of ÇEKÜL Foundation, IMC, Project Management and BETAPLAN) was awarded the contract, which was approved by the EC Representation on 24 February 2003 and by the Consortium on 25 March 2003.
The CHD project is after 3 concrete targets:
Training: 250 persons from different groups in the region are to be trained in project development confirming to the EC standards;
Integrated Strategic Action Plan: Participatory preparation and adoption of an "Integrated Strategic Action Plan for Cultural Heritage" to provide a framework for all future policies, plans, programs and budgets related to the development of cultural heritage and culture tourism in the region.
Projects: As can be seen below in relevant parts of the Application Guide, a total fund of 12 million Euros will be allocated to value-added and employment-creating projects developed in the fields of cultural heritage and culture tourism.
Project proposals will be assessed on previously agreed objective criteria by a commission to be formed jointly by the EC Representation and GAP-RDA. Preference will be for those projects that:
Create value added and employment
Directly support culture tourism
Harmonize/reconcile different activities in the fields of cultural heritage and culture tourism
Are sustainable and replicable
Possible project areas include, but not limited to the following:
Inventory work on cultural heritage "cultural properties in archaeological sites (excluding excavation works) and settlements, immovable cultural assets, folk culture, etc.
Publicity and promotion activities for the development of cultural heritage,
Management of historical sites by up-to-date techniques and technologies,
Projects focusing on the development, production and marketing of local handicrafts and products of folk culture,
Training activities for building local capacity in the fields of cultural heritage development and culture tourism.
15 million Euros are allocated for this component. 12 million Euros of this total budget will be allocated to the use of projects proposed by various organizations. It is important that these projects are designed in a way to protect and develop historical-cultural properties without any damage to their original fabric and together with people living in or near-by. Projects should also envisage initiatives to contribute to the economic status of local people.
These projects may be:
35 or 40 small-scale projects each with a total budget of 30,000 to 100,000 Euros.
15-18 medium-scale projects each with a total budget of 100,000 to 300,000 Euros.
9-10 large-scale projects each with a total budget of 300,000 to 650,000 Euros.
Mobilization of funds totaling to 12 million Euros for purposes stated above will trigger initiatives and various activities in the GAP region.
Meanwhile, a Project Office to oversee implementation has been established in Sanliurfa. The TBMM House in this city was allocated to the project for this purpose.
The "Call for Proposals" was made public in Sanliurfa on 16 March 2004 at a press conference participated by the representatives of the GAP-RDA, EC Representation to Turkey and the technical support team in charge of project implementation.
Introductory meetings for the Cultural Heritage Development Project were held on 5-8 April 2004 in Gaziantep (Kilis), Sanliurfa (Adiyaman), Mardin (Sirnak) and Diyarbakir (Batman, Siirt). Participants to these meetings were informed about such headings as the objectives and expected outcomes of the programme as well as conditions for eligibility.
Short-term experts were mobilized for the training "Grant Programme and Project Development" covering all provinces in the region. The training process started with the pilot training conducted in Sanliurfa on 12-15 April 2004. This pilot training was followed by training activities in Gaziantep, Siirt, Diyarbakir, Mardin, Adiyaman and Sanliurfa. The Istanbul meeting for the introduction of the GAP Cultural Heritage Programme was held on 27 April 2004 and another meeting was held in Ankara on 29 April 2004.
A "Project Development Counselling Group" was formed and this group was active from May to June 2004 to inform and advise projects applying for grants on various issues including restoration, tourism, project partnership, budgeting, preparation of work plans, legal issues, capacity building, handcrafts marketing, marketing research, project cycle management ad the grant programme. These services of the group covered 70 organizations and 120 projects in various provinces of the region.
The second meeting o f the Advisory Board was held in Gaziantep on 2 July 2004. Participants to the meeting evaluated the outcomes of the needs assessment study conducted within the framework of "GAP Cultural Heritage Development Project", discussed the paper on the development of a strategic action plan and considered procedures to be adopted in the assessment of grant applications.
The European Commission Delegation to Turkey (ECDT) issued its call for grant applications on 12 July 2004 and the deadline for applications was given as 25 June 2004. An Assessment Committee established by the Commission examined projects delivered to the ECDT within the defined period. This assessment work continued until October and relevant reports were ready in November.
The preliminary meeting for the development of an Integrated Strategic Action Plan under the Cultural Heritage Project was held on 12 October 2004 at the GAP Headquarters. Participants to this meeting included representatives from the Prime Ministry; Ministries of Interior, Culture and Tourism, National Education, SPO (State Planning Organization), General Directorate of Foundations and the ECDT.
After this central meeting, the first round of participatory local meetings was held to discuss and determine local policies and strategies under the Integrated Strategic Action Plan. The dates and locations of these meetings were as follows: Adiyaman and Sanliurfa on 9-12 November; Siirt and Batman on 24-27 November; Diyarbakir, Mardin and Sirnak on 29 November - 4 December and Gaziantep and Kilis on 6-9 December. Representatives from provincial governorates, local governments, universities, civil society organizations and the private sector participated to these meetings.
The next stage is the completion of assessments conducted by the ECDT, budget negotiations with winners and signing of contracts. In January - March 2005, a team will be formed to follow the implementation of projects related to the protection of cultural heritage and promotion of culture tourism. From February to March 2005, applicants with awarded projects will be given training on the implementation of the grant programme, monitoring and reporting. This training will be designed so as to cover all provinces of the region.
The Advisory Board will hold its 3rd meeting in January - February 2005. The second round of participatory planning meetings/workshops will also be held in January - February 2005 to obtain feedback from local and national stakeholders on the draft Integrated Strategic Action Plan. In March 2005, the third round of participatory planning meetings/workshops will take place to present the draft programme to local and national stakeholders and to obtain further inputs. The action programme will be finalized in March - April 2005. In April 2005, support will be extended, together with the regional implementation body, to kick off pilot action programmes.
2. Rural Development Project:
This project aims at reducing development and income disparities between irrigated and non-irrigated areas in the GAP region. Under this project, efforts will be made to reach small farmers, landless peasants and rural people with economic difficulties to improve their situation by extending small-scale in kind and cash support. Activities in this context include the following:
Development of income generating activities such as beekeeping, livestock farming, fruit and viticulture in non-irrigated areas,
Encouraging second crop corn and soybean production as well as vegetable culture, greenhouse farming and other field crops in irrigated areas,
Milk processing, fattening, small ruminant husbandry, etc.
Providing rural infrastructure (i.e. small-scale irrigation, roads, etc.)
Non-agricultural activities for income generation (i.e. weaving, canned food production, etc.)
Out of 24 million Euros provided by the EU, 20 million Euros will be allocated to GAP farmers within the framework of this support program. A preliminary work is ready on province-level activities to be supported by the project and relevant criteria for eligibility.
Firstly, an announcement will be made to inform those who will apply for the support program and then the process for application and project development will start. Applications will be evaluated 60 days after the announcement and selected projects will be given start.
Priority will be given to projects that uphold sustainability as well as others that promise early returns and high level of cost sharing.
Meanwhile, process was also started to set up a Technical Advisory Committee in line with the EU norms that will serve in such areas as monitoring ongoing activities, distribution of support loans and conduct of relevant training.
3. Project for Supporting Small and Medium-Size Enterprises (GAP-GIDEM):
This project with funding (7,500,000 Euros) from the EU was designed to support small and medium-scale enterprises on tourism, farming and handicrafts in the region and to generate self-employment and employment especially for women and young people. In this context active and potential entrepreneurs in the region are given information, consulting and training services. At present, GAP-GIDEMs are active in Adiyaman, Diyarbakır, Mardin and Sanliurfa.
In 2003, 351 small and medium-scale enterprises benefited from consulting/guiding services under GAP-GIDEM. There were 29 training/seminar organizations reaching 1,392 persons. There is close cooperation and coordination with chambers of commerce, associations of businessmen, bourses and governmental organizations in the organization of training programs.
Again in 2003, 1,004 different information services were extended to 2,853 firms or entrepreneurs. GAP-GIDEM Offices in the region provided information and guidance to investors and businessmen especially in the field of legislative arrangements and incentives. Furthermore, GAP-GIDEM offices conducted special analyses for 72 enterprises to spot their bottlenecks and development perspectives. Finally, operational inventories of 1,300 firms in the region were registered in relevant database in line with the EU product coding system.
Presently there is also work for assessing sector-based opportunities in the region (i.e. ecologic farming, aromatic plants, textiles, garlic culture, viticulture, female entrepreneurship, marble processing and silver works).
A fund amounting to 2 million Euros is allocated to financially support those entrepreneurs who want to improve their existing business or start new ones.
Project proposals in the context of Cultural Heritage Development Project will be receivable by the EC Representation to Turkey within 90 days following the Call for Proposals. Relevant announcement including conditions of participation can be reached atwww.deltur.cec.eu.int, www.gap.gov.tr/Turkish/Kultur/Kmiras/kmiras.html,www.gapculturalheritage.com and www.gapkulturelmiras.com.
Call for project proposals under the support program for rural development will start in April 2004. The websites given above may also be used to learn about specifications for project development in this component.
Finally, announcements in relation to the support program for GAP-GIDEM will start in June 2004.
Latest Update : February 9th 2005