NEWS // 

First Advocacy Summit for the Bridge Project in Istanbul

28.07.2010

On July 26 through July 28 the International Center for Human Development (ICHD) and Bridging the Divide (BTD) Turkish Armenia Business Development Center (TABDC) and GAYA convened the first Advocacy Summit for the BRIDGE project in Istanbul, Turkey. This project was launched on April 1, 2010 through the generous support of BTD and initiative of ICHD. Before this conference, issues of public interest and concern to both Turkey and Armenia were discussed in six town hall meetings since April 2010. Armenian delegation consisted of 15 experts and facilitators, who participated in Town Hall Meetings (THM) in Yerevan.

These issues focused on three areas – environment, science and education, and infrastructure. Evaluations of these THMs indicated that two out of three participants in both Turkey and Armenia changed their opinion in favor of dialogue on issues related to the environment, infrastructure, and education and science. This process has increased the knowledge and understanding among Turkish and Armenian participants of concerns and problems that confront both countries and need common solutions to solve them.

Participants in the Istanbul Advocacy Summit included facilitators of the THMs, issue experts, opinion leaders, and policy makers. The purpose of this summit was to share findings from deliberations and debate, explore each other’s interests, and develop specific options for joint projects in these areas. The main outcome of the summit has been the commitment of the participants to continue efforts at generating cooperative cross-border initiatives. Specifically, the participants of the Advocacy Summit agreed to facilitate ongoing regional activates and initiate new ones for addressing Climate Change mitigation and adaptation issues, including development of Climate Change regional scenarios and data exchange modalities. In addition, the participants have prioritized addressing trans-boundary water management and biodiversity conservation issues. Participants indicated importance of Turkey taking more proactive stand in cooperation in the Caucasus region and integration into existing regional environmental projects to reinforce efforts with South Caucasus countries towards finding solutions to environmental issues with regional and global impacts.

The project will continue until December 2010 when the second Advocacy Summit will be held in Yerevan to discuss potential for cooperation in three other areas.

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