Pursuing sound environmental policies, Turkey seeks to reinforce the environmental infrastructure, to effectively integrate environmental problems with economic decisions and to fulfill its international commitments on environmental issues.
Ongoing studies to prepare the “National Agenda 21”, with the objective of specifying Turkey’s commitments and responsibilities within the scope of the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development held in 1992, have been upgraded to include local administrations.
There are ongoing efforts under the coordination of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to implement the National Environmental Strategy and Action Plan prepared with the financial support of the World Bank with the objective of integrating environmental policies with sectoral ones and establishing cooperation among related institutions. The Ministry, as well as developing policies, also is coordinating relations between the related institutions.
Turkey became a part of “UN Convention to Combat Desertification” on February 14th, 1998.
Meanwhile, the “UN Agreement for Biological Diversity”, prepared with the aim of fair and equal sharing of advantages gained through genetic engineering and preserving biological species, was approved by the parliament on December 27th, 1996.
The aim of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety signed on May 24th, 2000 is to regulate international trade in living modified organisms (LMO). The protocol signed on Biological Diversity aims to contribute toprovision of a sufficient level of safety on secure trans-portation, treatment and use of LMOs which might have adverse effects on sustainable use and protection of biological diversity. This protocol went into effect in Turkey on January 24th, 2004.
The UN Accord for Combating Desertification was approved by Law No. 4340 published in the Official Gazette No. 23258, and it has been in effect since February 14th, 1998. Turkey also signed the European Landscape Agreement on October 20th, 2000. The agreement envisaging grants for the Management Project of Biological Diversity and Natural Resources, prepared by the contributions of the Global Environment Fund (GEF) also went into effect on August 1st, 2000. The project will be completed by September 30th, 2008. The aim of the project, which has a total budget of 11.5 million USD, is to preserve biological diversity in Turkey by establishing effective and sustainable protection zones with proper management in four pilot areas which are rich in terms of biological diversity, and which represent Turkey’s important biogeographical regions.
In this regard, a Final Strategy was prepared within the framework of the Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity and Rationalizing the Legal Framework for Natural Protection, and the Law for Biological Diversity and Natural Protection was prepared. Also, within the context of the same Law, in order to follow biological diversity, a “Noah’s Arc Database” was developed and made public.
Turkey attaches great importance to developing cooperation with international institutions and countries in the region regarding the protection of the environment. Turkey takes part in the Black Sea Environment Program along with other littoral countries. It also plays an active role in projects for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution. Within this context, Turkey has long been a part of the Bucharest and Barcelona agreements. Furthermore, Turkey is engaged in joint efforts with a number of countries within framework of bilateral environmental cooperation agreements. Work on projects called the Rehabilitation of Anatolian Water Basins, the Marmara Sea Environment Master Plan and Investment Strategies, is still continuing.
The “Legislation for Acceptance of Waste from Sea Vessels and Control of Waste Legislation”, prepared in line with the International Agreement for Prevention of Pollution Resulting from Marine and Aerial Vehicles (MARPOL 73/78), which Turkey is a part of, went into force on December 26th, 2004. In 2008, 84 ports were presented with Waste Acceptance Facility Liciences and 50 ports were presented with Waste Acceptance Exemption documents.
Also, on March 11th, 2005 saw the passing of Law No. 5312, concerning Principles of Actions and Compensation of Damages in Emergencies for Pollution of the Sea Environment with Petrol and other Hazardous Materials. Within this concept, action plans are being prepared on both regional and national bases.
In February 2007, a National Environmental Strategy (UÇES) was prepared, consisting of the EU requirements and approved by the High Planning Council.
Moreover, ongoing preparatory studies aimed at enhancing cooperation with the EU on environmental issues have gained momentum during the harmonization process with the Union that began with the Helsinki Summit of 1999. Efforts are underway to harmonize environmental regulations in line with the National Program published in 2001. Studies to revise this program are still going on. Environmental regulations concerning motor vehicles and chemicals have already been harmonized with the EU norms and work is progressing to harmonize the Bird and Habitat directives. Following its ratification on May 24th, 2004, Turkey, along with 189 nations, became a party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The first National Declaration has been prepared with the cooperation of the institutions and organizations concerned, and under the coordination of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Being an industrializing country, Turkey’s demand for energy is constantly increasing. Turkey aims to continue its efforts for industrialization through rational use of its existing energy resources and increasing its renewable energy sources at the same time.
The first National Declaration on Changes in Climate, organized by the relevant institutions and associations under the coordination of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry was prepared. This presents information about current situations concerning emissions of greenhouse gasses, sources of emissions and means of their reduction, policies and precautions, projections of the effects of changes in climate, education and increasing consciousness of these issues.
The basic policies and precautions taken in fighting against changes in climate are of importance in the energy, transportation, industry, agriculture, waste, changes in utilization and forestry sectors.
Within the frame of the EU Life Project, “Legislation on Control of Big Industrial Accidents Dangers”, “Public Information, Security Reports and Emergency Action Plans” and “Inspection Legislation” have been drafted. It is planned to announce these legislations in 2008.
Within the frame of the Stockholm Agreement Concerning Permanent Organic Contaminants, with support received from GEF sources, a “Determination of Priority Activities for Application of Stockholm Agreement Concerning Permanent Organic Contaminants Project” and a “National Application Project” drafts have been completed and updated. All these development have been mentioned positively in EU progress reports.
So far, regarding the domestic waste issue, with the participation of 1128 municipalities, a union was formed for 108 plants. In 2007, 17 of these plants were put into operation and the number of organized collection plants increased to 32.
Turkey, on average, produces 1.1 million tons of hazardous waste, annually. Today, there are 905 thousand cu. meters (total) of storing, 60,250 tons/year burning and 29 thousand ton/year gas production capacity. The recycling capacity for hazardous and special waste is 578 thousand tons per year. In 2007, 44 thousand tons of waste was disposed off outside the country.
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