Common efforts for a common future

01 Nov 2006

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Turkey is all set to achieve another important goal on its way to joining the European Union. Within the context of the “Integration of Sustainable Development Into Sectoral Policies Project", UNDP and Turkish State Planning Organization have embarked upon a participatory process to prepare a national sustainable development policy document.

New Horizons - Within this framework, policy-makers are working together with public institutions and related NGOs to integrate social and environmental elements into economic development and maintain a sustainable and stabilized development pace.

The total budget of the project, which is financed by the EU and conducted by UNDP under the coordination of State Planning Organization, is 3 million Euros.

A significant step in the EU Alignment Process

An important component of the EU membership process, sustainable development aims to improve the living standards of people and the welfare of countries, while preserving and protecting the natural environment which nourishes life on earth.

Specific goals pertaining to the integration of global environmental factors into economic and social development were identified at the 1992 United Nations Environment and Development Conference in Rio de Janerio, in the “Agenda 21” Declaration. European Union’s 5th Framework Action Programme was a very significant contribution to the Rio Earth Summit, which was followed by a 6th Framework Action Programme along the same lines. Establishing a mechanism which would integrate all fundamental policy areas with sustainable development principles was the main target of the Action Programme.

Sustainable development is an effective tool in achieving progressive, stable, balanced and long-term growth in countries such as Turkey, that are rich in natural resources and bio-diversity, but also endure poverty and poverty-related social outcomes like internal migration and haphazard urbanization.

“Integration of Sustainable Development Into Sectoral Policies” project provides an important opportunity for Turkey to integrate policies in all sectors of economic life into sustainable development, which is one of the medium-term criteria for joining the EU.

Within the scope of this project, activities are carried out involving national capacity building on decision-making levels for sustainable development, and civil society organizations and local governments are supported with grant programmes. Alongside these efforts, public awareness-raising activities on sustainable development are also conducted.

Assessment of the Grant Programme applications continues

Assessment of the project applications to receive funds from the Grant Programme which supports sustainable development-related projects of civil society organizations will continue throughout November 2006. The Grant Programme which is conducted by the Central Finance and Contracts Unit, with the assistance of UNDP, has a budget of 925,000 Euros. The Assessment Committee is expected to announce the grant-winning projects which are found as successful examples of sustainable development implementations and which contribute to the awareness of sustainable development concept in the public opinion.

Project Steering Committee held its first meeting on 18 October

The Project Steering Committee, consisting of high-level representatives from the State Planning Organization, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Turkey Delegation of the European Commission, Central Finance and Contracts Unit and UNDP, held its first meeting on 18 October 2006. Technical Assistance on national capacity building in the area of sustainable development, the grant programme and communication activities were among the topics discussed at the meeting.

The Steering Committee will also determine the members of those Thematic Working Groups that will be involved in each specific sector within the scope of the project.

Campaign for Sustainable Development

Preperations for a comprehensive public campaign including dissemination of the slogan “Sustainable Development: For a Common Future”, and cooperations with civil society organizations are already underway. The aim of the campaign is to increase public awareness in Turkey in the area of sustainable development. Posters, brochures, promotional materials, short films and documentaries will also be produced within the context of the campaign.