New Climate Change Regime Panel has been held

New Climate Change Regime Panel has been held

Paris Agreement and necessary actions for its effective implementation have been discussed during the "From Paris to Antalya New Climate Change Regime" Panel on the 11th of May in Ankara. New climate change regime and relevant cooperation opportunities have been addressed.

Turkey participated in the high level signature on 26th April 2016 in New York by signing the Paris Agreement. This signalled the first step in the implementation of the Paris Agreement which was adopted in Paris, France. It is for this reason, that the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization of the Republic of Turkey (MoEU) in collaboration with GIZ Capacity development project for the implementation of a monitoring, reporting and verification for greenhouse gas emissions in Turkey (MRV Project - Turkey) organized the new climate Change Regime in Ankara, Turkey. The MRV project Turkey is commissioned by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Government. The aim of this conference was to signal the strong commitment that Turkey puts in combating climate change. The conference also aimed at fostering strong stakeholder engagement in the path leading to mitigation of climate change. The conference was divided in two sessions; the morning session was address by key note speakers whereas the afternoon session was panel discussion on new climate change regime.

The conference drew participants and stakeholders from different sectors. The participants were from all relevant institutions, ministries, science, non-governmental organisations, diplomats as well as members of the public, counting in total more than 450 attendees. The conference was addressed by various speakers among the key speakers were Ms. Fatma Güldemet Sarı-The Minister of Environment and Urbanisation (MoEU) of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Hansjörg Haber- Head of European Union (EU) Delegation to Turkey, Martin Erdmann-Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Sylvain Berger-Head of the Economic Service of the French Embassy, on behalf of UN Climate Change COP21 French Presidency. Mr. Carl Taestensen- GIZ Country Director and Mr. Kamal Malhotra-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Turkey.

Mr. Carl Taestensen the GIZ Country Director welcomed the guests on behalf of GIZ. He spoke of the various environmentally related sectors within which GIZ in Turkey operates specifically climate change mitigation, renewable energy and energy efficiency in public buildings. He also gave a short summery of the Capacity Development Project for the implementation of a monitoring, reporting and verification system (MRV) for greenhouse gas emissions in Turkey. Amongst the highlights of this project are; the establishment of an online data management system, the conduction of trainings of sector specific needs to facilitate knowledge exchange. The planned establishment of the Training and Support Centre under the scope of the MRV project to increase awareness on climate change topics through dissemination of results and outcomes. The Summer school planned to take place in September 2016 bringing together climate experts from various countries was also one of the major topic discussed.

The German Ambassador Mr. Martin Erdmann addressed the conference on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany. His speech centred on the prevailing climate change that is currently being experienced in the world. He mentioned the effects of drought as a result of the changing climate that has put the lives of vulnerable people at risk. He spoke on the increasing world population, which is expected to reach 9,6 Billion people by the year 2050. This would provide a challenge in terms of production of sustainably produced food for the world population. The increasing energy demand a characteristic of emerging economy would also need to be addressed in light of the increasing world population and the urge to minimize climate change. The ever increasing use of renewable energy in Germany was also discussed. Renewable energy contributed 30 percent of electricity generation in Germany. He also highlighted Germany´s 2025 renewable energy target of 40-45 percent of the total electricity generation. He proposed the use of biogas, biofuels and biodiesel as some of the avenues to govern and mitigate climate change in the transport sector. Mr Erdman urged Turkey to take advantage of its geographical size and location to increase generation of renewable energy. Turkey receives 4700 hours of sunlight in a year compared to 1700 in Germany. The availability of sea coasts in Turkey provides the possibility for the generation of wind power.

Mr Sylvain Berger, head of the economic service of the French Embassy Ankara, spoke on the Paris agreement which was a huge achievement and a strong commitment by governments to reduce their emissions. He pledged on the commitment of the French presidency to full mobilization to support international community towards mitigation of climate change. Governments and organizations were urged to give life to the Paris Agreement through the INDCs. The cooperation that exists between Turkey and France in areas of climate change and capacity development was highlighted by Mr. Berger.

The representative of the European Union (EU) to Turkey Mr. Hansjörg Haber mentioned that the EU climate action plans which is shaped on long-term strategies characterized by clear targets to give a strong signal to governments and organizations of the EU`s commitment to clean energy was discussed. He spoke of the EU national strategy to reduce its emission by 20 percent by the year 2020 compared to 1990 levels. The 2030 policy framework for climate and energy to reduce domestic GHG emission at a target of 40 percent in the year 2030 was one of the ambitious targets put forward to the conference. The EU also aims to increase its share of renewables to at least 27 percent and increase the energy efficiency by the same percentage. For its long-term strategy, he re-affirmed EU`s commitment to reduce its emission by 80-95% in 2050 to 1990 levels. There was a discussion on the EU adaptation strategy that focusses on increasing resilience of the European society by climate improving action. He alighted the EU`s expenditure of 20 percent of the EU`s budget on climate change actions. Reassurance of the EU`s commitment to scale up mobilization of climate finance and targets was given by Mr Haber. All parties and governments were urged to move forward with INDCs and make them robust in order to create sustainable national policies. He appreciated the Ministry of environment of the Republic of Turkey for organizing the event and re-affirmed the readiness of the EU in supporting Turkey`s endeavour for climate change mitigation actions by transforming to low carbon climate economy.

The United Nations was represented by Mr. Kamal Malholtra. He appreciated the Ministry of environment of the Republic of Turkey and GIZ for organizing the event. The greatest challenge that is currently being in the form of human induced climate change and which calls on us to prevent was the main introduction. Climate change is a global challenge which requires global solutions. He noted that global solutions could only be achieved by collaborations across all levels from national, national, regional and international. He spoke of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities as being under the greatest risk imposed by climate change. The recognition of the fundamental link between environment and development, and the effective measures in integrating mitigation and adaptation measures with socioeconomic concerns was his main discussion. He asked all governments to prevent natural resources from threat in their decision making processes. The critical objective of keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius could only be achieved if actions were taken now. He noted that the new climate regime should be inclusive and allow countries to make contributions to global adaptation and mitigation effort. Mr Kamal`s parting shot was that the climate action was not only a goal but a means of achieving 2015 agenda on SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) by contributing to eradication of poverty, ending hunger, creating green jobs but also promoting positive peaceful societies. He expressed his confidence that coherence across the country agenda items will be exceptional for inclusive global mission and climate resilient development. Turkey`s participation in the high level signature signing of the Paris Agreement on 26. April 2016 in New York was appreciated. He was pleased to note the special importance attached by the Republic of Turkey on environment and climate change issues.

The Government of Turkey was represented by the Minister for Environment and Urbanisation Ms. Fatma Güldemet Sarı, she noted that climate change threatens the future of the world, man-made climate change, was causing an increase in price to pay. Minister Sarı called on urgent measures that should be taken against the negative effects of climate change; within this regard the need for global alliance cooperation is essential. In regards to Paris Agreement action points, that targets the reduction of emissions below 21 percent by 2030 by Turkey. Minister Sarı stated. "We have set this ambitious target to express clearly the importance we give to the fight against climate change. We plan to realize this goal with high quality infrastructure projects, taking advantage of clean technology, and ensuring energy efficiency“.

Panel discussion on Climate Change Regime

After the high-level opening session of the conference which emphasized Turkey‘s intention to integrate climate change strategies into policies; enhance the use of clean and renewable energy sources; participate actively in the international negotiations on climate change. With this perspective, the conference has continued with the panel session. The panel discussion was an interactive session between the panel speakers and the participants. The panel discussion on “Climate Change Regime” was chaired by Prof. Dr. Mehmet Emin Birpınar,-Chief Negotiator for Climate Change and Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. The panel speakers were Dr. Alexander Fisher- (Advisor International Climate Policy at German Federal Ministry for the Environment and Nuclear Safety, BMUB), Mr. Dimitrios Zevgolis- (Energy and Climate Expert, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, European Commission), Mr. Zafer Benli, Deputy Undersecretary of the Turkish Ministry of Energy and natural Resources, Mr. Ömer Bayar- Deputy General Director of Under secretariat of Treasury , Mr. Oğuz Tezmen -Head of Environmental and Climate Change Permanent Committee of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and Associate Prof. Dr. Barış Karapınar- Representative of Climate Network, General Director of the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA). Members of the audience wanted to know the technology transfer to Turkey from developed countries as well as the financial support in mitigating climate change. The compensation to developing countries from developed countries in the form of climate finance and technology drew big discussion and questions from participants. The discussion on Lessons learnt on the mitigation of climate change through the use of renewable energy from countries already implementing the strategy was very informative. Dr. Fisher discussed the use of renewable energy in Germany. The challenges of generating renewable energy and lessons learnt was an important discussion point as Turkey looks forward to increase renewables in its grid.

Conclusion of the conference

Given the enormity of the challenges of tackling global climate change, there is a vital need for decisive actions to be taken. There should be a strong commitment of developed countries as well as developing countries in mitigating climate change. Turkey’s 10th Development Plan for 2014-2018 which encompasses policies in Turkey progress towards sustainable development. Turkey, considering national circumstances, contributes to solution of global environmental problems in line with the principles of “common but differentiated responsibilities” and “respective capacities”. As the needs and diversified preferences of increasing population effect the development process, reduction of environmental pressure is becoming more essential. In this framework, pollution prevention efforts, protection and sustainable usage of natural resources, and biodiversity are considered as priorities. Turkey has the potential to transform the environmental threats to opportunities via the decisions taken and projects implemented in environmental issues. Indeed, the importance of institutional resources, sectorial participation, and technical knowledge in the evolving global governance of climate change cannot be underestimated. Discussions should be focused on strengthening the MRV regime. Mitigation actions and adaptation projects should be reinforced with technical expertise that comes with institutional experiences. In light of the conclusion of the conference, there is a greater need to foster broad stakeholder engagement in implementing the Paris Agreement. From “From Paris to Antalya New Climate Regime”, provided the necessary momentum to drive towards climate change mitigation.