Assistance to Turkey for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 (Rio+20) Preparations

What is the project about?

The main objective of the project is to assist Turkey, to prepare for and contribute effectively to the UNCSD process by assessing how Johannesburg Plan of Implementation impacted Turkey’s integration of sustainable development concepts into decision making; legislation, policies, and capacities. Further the Project will provide capacity building and a discussion platform for implementation of green growth policies in Turkey.

What has been the situation?

The concept of sustainability has been introduced to policy documents of Turkey since Rio Summit in 1992 and the concept of sustainability was attempted to be integrated into sector policies since then. The first sign of endeavor to operationalize sustainability has been introduction in 6th Five Year Development Plan1 and by preparation of “National Environmental Strategy and Action Plan2”. Although environmental problems dominated the discussions of sustainability, by time social aspects of problem also gained importance. The 2nd MDG Report of Turkey (2010)3 also sets specific goals towards promoting sustainability.

The Strategy of 9th Development Plan (2007-2013) states “An integrated approach is the basis in economic, social and cultural areas.” and “Natural resources, cultural assets and the environment will be protected considering the future generations, as well.” Accordingly, Plan sets the target of “Conditions for protection and utilization of natural resources will be determined by taking the needs of the future generations into consideration. Environmental management systems will be established in order to ensure equitable utilization of natural resources by everyone.” Besides, Environment Chapter of National Program for EU accession indicates the priority of integrating environmental requirements into other sectoral policies.

The Local Agenda 21 in the area of local governance, which was one of the major outcomes of the 1992 Rio Summit, has been successfully implemented in Turkey. UNDP in Turkey has been cooperating with its national counterparts in order to realize this programme. The overall objective of LA-21 programme has been to strengthen local governance by ensuring civil society participation in decision-making and influencing local investments. The programme involved a decentralized approach based on networking and collaboration among equal partners such as public institutions, local authorities, and civil society organizations. The primary decision-making and implementation mechanisms were the local stakeholders organized mainly in the form of "City Councils" supported by working groups that include women and youth councils, and platforms for children, elderly, and disabled. The Local Agenda 21 Programme of Turkey was highlighted as a global "best practice" during the 2002 WSSD in Johannesburg.

In partnership with State Planning Organisation and UNDP, Turkey finalized the project of “Integration of Sustainable Development into Sectoral Policies- ISDSP4” by end of 2008. Through this project it was aimed “To enable Turkey to integrate sustainable development principles, as most explicitly stated in the implementation plan of WSSD, into national and regional development planning, both at the macro-economic and sectoral levels as well as in line with the requirements as per Sixth Environmental Action Plan of the EU.” Within the project not only various capacity development activities were implemented, but also stocktaking of sectors from different perspectives, which resulted in developing a policy paper for integration of sustainability into sectoral policies were accomplished and a set of sustainable indicators were also identified and proposed for consideration.

As it was assessed through the sectoral analysis of the project mentioned above, sustainable development is presenting a ‘new development paradigm’. Mainly, development is different than developed countries experienced -one that uses resources more efficiently in production and consumption patterns and somehow also manages to be pro-poor and pro-MDGs. A new development naturally means a new form of development partnerships.

To better address these issues, the assessments planned for Assistance to Turkey for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 (Rio+20) Preparations will focus on the concept of economic value of environmental externalities beside the other parameters of development. Over time only green/sustainable development is development – other types of just moving from natural stock (fossil fuel, water, fisheries, and ecosystems) to consumption. It is key to understand where Turkey is going (business as usual) and the policies to be promoted in support of green growth idea. Hence, based on Turkish case, the financing and capacity needs of green growth, its possible sector-specific implications shall be understood to establish the Turkish vision and priorities for green economy. The outcome of these analysis and stocktaking exercise will be a valuable input for the 10th Development Preparations as well.

What is our mission?

Turkey is the 16th largest economy in the world and the 6th largest in Europe. It is also one of the fastest growing with a real GDP growth of about 8% in 2010, the strongest recovery in Europe. In its vision 2023, Turkey aims at becoming a “global and regional power” and a full member of EU (negotiations currently ongoing since 2005); responding proactively to the globalization process and the structural changes in governance in the region and the world and substantively contributing to the peace and stability in the region while factoring in considerations like environment, ecological balance and sharing of water resources in the design of foreign policy.

The UN has been a partner to development work in Turkey since 1950’s and with Turkey’s economic performance including growing ODA, it is becoming an increasingly critical MIC and model within the network of UNDP. In 2011, Turkey and UNDP signed a new Partnership Framework Agreement to leverage Turkey’s increasing role and influence as emerging donor, strong convening power and as a provider of south-south cooperation in strengthening development cooperation in developing countries.

MDGs are broadly on track in Turkey. yet, with pockets of poverty (average 17%), only 25% women in work force, increasing impacts of climate change and a largely ineffective energy sector, sustainable development remains a priority.

In preparations to 2012 World Summit, the Government of Turkey, with facilitation of UNDP and the World Bank will partner to assess and demonstrate how/to what extent the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit, and Rio 1992 UNCED in a broader sense, impacted decision making, policy formulation and development of capacities in line with sustainable development concepts and commitments entered in context of UNCED. Further Government aims at developing Turkish vision for green economy and its relevant priority policies.

In preparations to 2012 World Summit, Turkey needs to analyze the achievements and fallbacks from the Plan of Implementation. In this process, the analysis and rereading of stocktaking exercise that has been completed within the “Integration of Sustainable Development into Sectoral Policies Project” implemented by SPO and UNDP will further provide the evaluation of understanding of sustainable development in Turkey.
“Assistance to Turkey for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 (Rio+20) Preparations Project” will enable Turkey to participate effectively in formal and informal preparatory meetings of the UNCSD.

How are we doing this?

Through the project, which will enable Turkey to participate effectively in formal and informal preparatory meetings of the UNCSD, following outputs are targeted:
• Output 1: Stocktaking and impact analysis  of Turkey’s Progress towards sustainable development between 1992 – 2010;
• Output 2: Initiating the Green Growth debate in Turkey by supporting the World Bank Policy Paper study and capacity building on Green Growth;
• Output 3: Enhance national capacity for RIO+20;
• Output 4: In – Dept Analysis and Synthesis of Best Practices on sustainable development and green growth in Turkey;
• Output 5: Visibility and Advocacy to facilitate the RIO +20 National and International Participation;
• Output 6: Developing the National Synthesis Report for RIO +20 Conference


Project Overview
Focus area:
Environment and Sustainable Development
Project number:
Project start date:
October 2011
Estimated end date:
October 2012
USD 450,250
Project funding:
The project is funded by Government of Turkey.
Delivery in previous fiscal years:
Amount contributed per year by each project funder:
UN/National executing agencies:
The Ministry of Development (former State Planning Organization-SPO), is the leading executing agency for the technical components of the project and as being the purveyor of the national strategies to achieve MDGs in Turkey.
UN/National/NGO implementing partners:
UNDP Turkey is the implementing agency of the project, and is supporting the executing agency in the overall coordination of the outputs and management of administrative, financial and procurement issues related to project implementation. The national authorities responsible for the implementation of the sustainable development policy in Turkey as well as related private sector, local authorities and NGOs are natural participating organizations of the Project. UN Agencies who are also working in different domains towards realizing sustainable development in the country are also having an important role throughout the process as natural supporting organizations.
MDG 7:
Ensure environmental sustainability
Contact Details

Katalin Zaim
Environment and Sustainable Development Programme Manager
Tel: +90 312 454 11 25

Related Publications
  • Application and Selection Process for the Best Practices in Turkey in Sustainable Development and Green Economy Turkish
  • The Future We Want: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 20-22 June 2012 Outcome of the Conference English - Turkish
  • Turkey's Sustainable Development Report: Claiming the Future Best Practice Examples on Sustainable Development 2012 English
  • Turkey's Sustainable Development Report Claiming the Future 2012 English
Related Links
Project Website
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