Istanbul, July 7, 2021 - UNDP IICPSD, in partnership with the EBRD, launched “Skills for an Inclusive Future (S4IF)” in the margins of the UN High-level Political Forum 2021. The launch event was hosted by the Government of Turkey and featured opening remarks by EBRD Vice President Pierre Heilbronn UNDP Associate Administrator Usha Rao-Monari, and Deputy Minister of Ministry on Treasury and Finance of the Republic of Turkey and EBRD Alternate Governor H.E. PhD. Şakir Ercan Gül.

Speaking at the launch event, Mrs. Usha Rao-Monari highlighted the importance of private- public partnerships in working towards inclusive skills development and noted the essential need for the S4IF Network, saying: “Filling a much-needed gap, the “Skills for an Inclusive Future Network” will provide under-served groups with new skills through access to much-needed technical & vocational training courses. The Network – an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development – will spur more collaboration between private and public sector organizations to widen access to skills & employment opportunities for under-served populations.”

Likewise, Mr. Pierre Heilbronn, emphasised the strong synergies between UNDP and EBRD and expressed the EBRD’s hopes for the S4IF network, stating that the S4IF Network: “will be building on the comparative advantages and know-how of UNDP and EBRD. Both promote inclusive skills development, digital transformation, and prepare the workforce - and particularly women and disadvantaged groups - for the Future of Work. We have high hopes for this very important partnership.”

In his opening remarks, H.E. PhD. Şakir Ercan Gül underlined the commitment of both EBRD and UNDP to skills development and acknowledged the Turkish Ministry on Treasury and Finance’s support for the S4IF network, saying:“We believe that the Skills for an Inclusive Future network is being launched at the right time with the right partners. EBRD has proven itself as a reliable and effective development partner. Likewise, UNDP and IICPSD have been serving tailor-made skills programs. Building upon the strong synergies of these two institutions, we find the network as a well-thought initiative.”

Following the opening remarks, a keynote speech was given by Carl Benedikt Frey Director of the Future of Work programme at the Martin School, Oxford University. In his speech Mr. Frey highlighted the changes brought by digitalization and automation to the future of work, contributing that “Automation and digital transformation will impact different groups in different ways. It will impact disadvantaged groups more, for example women. This will not only impact one group but will impact all of society, as we are a collective brain. If we leave a large population out of the workforce, the collective brain will suffer also. S4IF will connect the collective brain and share expertise on skill development allowing inclusive development and facilitating the inclusion of more people in the economy.”

Biljana Radonjic Ker-Lindsay, Associate Director/Economic Inclusion Lead at EBRD and Gökhan Dikmener, Technical Specialist at UNDP presented the S4IF network, touching on its key features and mission.

They highlighted the aim of the S4IF network, which is to unlock the transformative potential of the private sector to equip disadvantaged populations with skills for the future, such as digital transformation, future of work, and the green economy, while also helping affected businesses and individuals recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

Following the presentation, senior journalist Anthony Williams moderated a panel discussion on post-COVID-19 inclusive skill development featuring Prof. Dr. Qais Al-Safasfah, Chair & CEO of the TVSD Commission in Jordan, Louisa Vinton, Resident Representative of UNDP in Turkey, Nilgün Özkan, Vice President of BRISA, and Debby McIsaac, HP Global Head of Employee Engagement & Social Impact / HP Foundation Executive Director.

The discussion highlighted the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable development. Further, panelists emphasized the value of the S4IF Network for both the private and public sectors in achieving inclusive skills development.

For more information on the Skills for an Inclusive Future Network and how to join visit


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