Supporting Turkey to Scale up Climate Action through Safe Cycling
In November 2016, WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities and Turkey’s Ministry of Environment and Urbanization organized a four-day training on bike lane implementation for 200 urban experts and officials from 81 cities. The event highlighted cycling accessibility, infrastructure and safety and served to support the Ministry’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2017. The plan, which focuses on sustainable cities, sets objectives to combat climate change. In addition to the workshops, WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities is supporting the implementation and prioritization of this plan through technical means and case studies. As Turkey gains speed in the fight against climate change, actions on the ground in its cities will continue to play a big role, not only for the environment, but for the economy as well.
Bringing Turkey’s Strategic Plan to Life
As a party of the Paris Agreement, Turkey is developing plans and programs at the national and city level to meet its commitments on climate change. The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization in Turkey recently published a Strategic Plan for 2015-2017, with a focus on “livable environments and brand cities.” The Ministry outlined the plan’s four primary objectives: planning and transformation, environment, construction and occupational services and increasing institutional capacity. In addition to implementing climate change action plans, the Ministry promises to address the need for new and updated urban infrastructure, via various grant programs, like “Turkey's Climate Change Capacity Building Grant Program.”
To turn policy into action, the Ministry is actively promoting cycling in Turkish cities. First, in November 2014, the Ministry published a regulation on cycling; cycling-related projects must be consistent with the regulation if they want to receive governmental funding. WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities was involved in the regulation’s composition, inspiring the Ministry with its findings in “Safe Cycling Design Manual for Istanbul.” Furthermore, with technical support from our experts, the Ministry decided to carry out a bike lane pilot project in the city of Adana, as a showcase of the current regulation.
This month, WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities, in collaboration with the Ministry, hosted a training for 200 architects, urban planners and engineers from 81 cities on how to implement safe bike lanes based on experiences in Adana. The four-day training focused on cycling as a prominent mode of transportation, cycling awareness and accessibility, design of bike lanes and road safety. One of the workshop participants pointed out that although cycling represents a small piece of daily transport, it is associated with many safety risks that endanger both the cyclists and pedestrians. As a result, the participant called for these projects to be implemented with a special eye toward enhancing road safety.
Maintaining Momentum to Benefit the Economy and Environment
While Turkey is taking active measures to combat climate change, the country still has a lot of work to do. Currently, Turkey is on track to become the 11th highest global contributor of CO2 emissions, giving off 10.5 tons annually by 2030. Not only would the actions outlined in the strategic plan lower Turkey’s emissions, but these actions would also grow Turkey’s economy. A report prepared by New Climate Institute and Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, with support from the Turkey Climate Network, indicates that implementing policies aligned with the Paris Agreement would lead to a stronger economy. For instance, if Turkey changed its energy policy, it could save US$23 million in energy importation by 2030.
It will be important to maintain this momentum and address the promise of economic gain as Turkey continues its commitment to combat climate change. The implementation of the Strategic Plan will be very telling as to how the nation will approach its national commitments under the Paris Agreement. WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities will continue to support this action agenda and push residents to achieve more sustainable lifestyles.