METU Continuous Education Centre & UN Joint Programme Certificate Ceremony

01 Jan 2010

Middle East Technical University Continuous Education Centre & UN Joint Programme

Certified Training Programme Certificate Ceremony

Talking Points for Mr. Shahid Najam, UN RC

Dear Ms. Toker
Distinguished Academicians
Respectable Participants of the Training Programme
Honourable Guests

The 21st century has already been marked by escalating economic losses and human devastation caused by the formidable challenges of climate change. As also stated in the 2007/2008 Global Human Development Report on Climate Change; Climate change is the defining human development issue of our generation. Unfortunately Turkey is no exception in the face of these challenges and is extremely vulnerable.

The consequences of climate change are, in fact, already being felt in the country as a result of increasing incidence of drought and desertification, floods and landslides, decreased snowfall and irregularities in precipitation regimes. This calls for a concerted action involving, individuals, communities, sub-national and national government to mitigate the impact, reduce vulnerabilities and increase resilience of especially the poor and marginalized segments so that they are not denuded of their livelihood means and manage to sustain their assets.
 
Failure to adapt to climate change will ultimately negatively affect the attainment of many MDGs - such as reducing extreme poverty and hunger, promoting gender equality and empowerment of women, combating diseases and ensuring environmental sustainability - by either arresting or even reversing the progress toward meeting the planned targets of the MDGs. In this sense, enhancing the capacities of every party committed to combating climate change carries critical importance.

In his speech at the MDG Summit in September 2010, Turkish President Mr. Abdullah Gül also underlined the importance of climate change and how it affects the achievement of the rest of the MDGs and has called for strengthening the actions at the national and international levels.

In this regard in June 2008 the United Nations and the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forestry initiated a UN Joint Programme on “Enhancing the Capacity of Turkey to Adapt to Climate Change” funded by the UNDP/Spain MDG Achievement Fund aiming to develop national strategies to combat and manage the impacts of climate change and to develop capacity for managing climate change risks to rural and coastal development in Turkey.

A Knowledge Needs Survey was carried out under the auspices of this UN Joint Programme in 2009-2010 among stakeholders who are responsible for/or involved in the preparation of policy, legislative and regulative instruments on climate change, with a view to capacity building among stakeholders and identifying the knowledge needs among targeted stakeholders. This will thus contribute to the development and implementation of the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

The majority of responses raised concerns about stakeholders’ needs for knowledge and skills on adaptation to climate change. Accordingly a Certified Training Programme was developed by the UN Joint Programme in cooperation with the Middle East Technical University Department of Earth System Sciences and the Continuous Education Centre. The training received great interest and was attended by various institutions –Ministries, General Directorates, Regional Directorates, Universities and NGOs - both at the national and regional levels. While scholarships were provided for some by UNDP, UNEP and FAO, there were also other institutions that were keen on taking the training through their own means.

This training was a unique opportunity in enabling the transfer of scientific knowledge to decision/policy making levels and to implementing and research agencies.

In this context I would like to thank METU Rectorate for providing the opportunity and the Department of Earth System Sciences and the Continuous Education Centre for their support in realizing this training programme. My special thanks also go to the 42 experts who agreed to share their unique knowledge and time as well as the participants for their willingness. Last but not least I would also like to congratulate my colleagues from the UN Joint Programme for facilitating this process.

Thank you