Turkey's climate change plan

01 Aug 2009

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Developing Turkey’s National Climate Change Action Plan project is underway. UNDP, together with the British Embassy in Ankara and the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forestry organized the inaugural meeting of the Developing Turkey’s National Climate Change Action Plan project in July with the participation of nearly 80 representatives from 55 different organizations.

The aim of the meeting was not only aligning stakeholders' understanding of project objectives and activities, but also initiating the team-building process for the future multi-stakeholder cooperation in developing Turkey’s National Climate Change Action Plan.

The meeting started with the keynote speech of Chargé d’Affaires of British Embassy in Ankara, Giles Portman, who identified climate change as the biggest challenge of the 21st century. Portman alerted that changing rainfall patterns in Turkey will affect agricultural regions; putting coastal cities, including major tourist sites, at risk from erosion and flooding; adding that the south of Turkey will get noticeably drier in the near future. Portman explained UK’s profound contribution to the process, stating that a new Ministry for Energy and Climate Change has been established to co-ordinate delivery of some tough UK and EU targets and a legally binding national commitment is made in the UK to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050.

Portman emphasized that climate change is one of the British Government’s top four foreign policy priorities and Turkey is among its priority countries. For this reason, UK is eager to support Turkey’s transition to a low-carbon economy with a new UK-Turkey Climate Change Dialogue launched by UK’s Foreign Secretary last year. Portman concluded his speech with remarks on the British Embassy’s hard work to reduce its own carbon footprint through an Embassy “Greening Strategy” which targets reducing the Embassy’s carbon footprint by 5% by April 2010.

UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Ulrika Richardson-Golinski, began her speech by outlining assisting developing countries with their efforts to cope with the impacts of global climate change and to create more sustainable, less greenhouse gas intensive development paths as an important focus for UNDP. Referencing UNDP’s Human Development Report 2007/2008 on “Fighting Climate Change”, Richardson-Golinski demonstrated the magnitude of the human development problem resulting from climate change.

Drawing upon striking examples such as the 1.1 billion people who do not have access to a minimum amount of clean water, she emphasized the importance of long term cooperation, enhanced climate change adaptation and mitigation actions as well as complementary enhanced actions on financing, technology and capacity-building. In addition, Richardson-Golinski claimed that the results of the project will facilitate Turkey’s pro-active participation in the ongoing Copenhagen negotiations. Finally, she underlined the significance of the support provided by UK, as a true representation of international cooperation in the area of climate change combat.

Deputy General Director of the General Directorate of Environmental Management Recep Şahin stated that although Turkey did not make any commitments on cutting green house gas emissions during the First Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol, it has made considerable efforts in terms of policy, legislation, and institutional structuring. He added that, Turkey activated clean energy resources, took steps in usage of hydroelectric and wind energy potentials, attached importance to energy efficiency and savings, proceeded in cutting pollution sources emissions and spent efforts to achieve aims for elimination of solid wastes and wastewater treatment. Moreover, Şahin explained that Turkey is committed to contribute to the process of tackling climate change.

Concluding his speech by saying that Developing Turkey’s National Climate Change and Action Plan Project aims to introduce low carbon development principles into Turkey’s development policies and plans to build resilience through managing impacts of climate change and encourage mitigation and adaptation through realistic, commitments to international agreements Sahin added that the plan will ensure the efficient involvement of Turkey in international Post-Kyoto process.