Posted by Jonathan Perks, Project Director, Ricardo Energy & Environment on 26 February 2014
Together with Raph Sibille and Neil Walmsley, I visited Turkey last week in order to hold the final workshop for the “Pilot programme in Turkey to build capacity to develop strategies and action plans for resilient cities adapting to climate change”
Final Workshop in Bursa
Over 50 people attended the final workshop of this project, which was funded by the UK Government. The participants included representatives from Bursa Municipality, the relevant Turkish ministries, stakeholders involved in the development of Bursa’s Adaptation plan and representatives from other municipalities.
As part of my opening address I noted that climate change, and in particular unusual weather, was a shared experience and highlighted the storms and flooding which had been experienced in the UK at the start of the year.
Raph Sibille presented the Cities Adaptation Support Package (CASP) which will provide tools for Bursa and other cities in Turkey to help them to develop strategies to adapt to climate change. This has built on our experience working with cities in the EU (following the project we carried out for European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action: “Adaptation Strategies for European Cities”), which we are tailoring for the Turkish context and will be translated in to Turkish.
As we observed the following day, when we were driven up the Uludag mountain, water resources are particularly important to Bursa. The snow on the mountain, which was plentiful the year before, was rather scarce this year, which may lead to water shortages later in the year. Also the variability in the snow may affect the tourist income from the ski resort. Some of us were rather disappointed that we did not have enough time to attach skis or snow boards to our legs and have a go!
We followed our visit to Bursa with a trip to Ankara to meet with representatives of the Ministry of the Environment and Urban Affairs and as well as other interested organisations. We were hosted to lunch in the Turkish Parliament building.
We have seen that Turkey is addressing climate change issues both at a national and local level. Nevertheless this is not top of the agenda and climate change strategies need to be embedded so that there remains a long lasting political commitment and action irrespective of the results of national and local elections. Our work at Bursa has shown that while all cities are different the processes to develop adaptation strategies and methods to build capacity at the local level are transferrable from the EU context to other countries. Encouragingly the Ministry of Environment and Urban Affairs and the staff at Bursa are keen to spread the lessons learnt during this project to other cities across Turkey. So we are all looking forward to many more trips to Turkey.
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