Climate Change, Water and Food Security with respect to SDGs

Climate Change & Sustainability in Today’s Turkey: European sentiment in Turkey among opinion-shapers and youth leaders

The European Neighbourhood Council (ENC) in cooperation with Cukurova University (Adana, Turkey)  and with the support of Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) Turkey, the Swedish Consulate in Istanbul and the Economic Development Foundation (IKV), organised a lecture entitled Climate Change & Sustainability in Today’s Turkey”, which took place on the 22nd of February 2019 at Çukurova University in Adana.

The event is part of a series of lectures organised in Turkey by ENC in cooperation with local academic institutions and is the 2nd phase of a project entitled Future values training: European sentiment in Turkey among opinion-shapers and youth leaders“. The project is rooted in the growing need to exchange ideas with Turkish public intellectuals, journalists, youth leaders and influential civil society members concerning Europe’s new ideas on societal development, private sector changes and the European Union’s (EU) global policy priorities and innovative strategies. The four young Turkish experts who visited Brussels for a week-long trainings and exchanges in December 2018 are delivering public lectures in Turkish in four academic institutions located in Istanbul, Ankara, Adana and Eskisehir in front of a large audience of young university students.

Dr. Asli Ilgit, Associate Professor and Chair at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Cukurova University chaired the lecture and opened the floor for discussion. Ms. Gulcin Sinav, Project Coordinator at Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) Turkey Office, who delivered the keynote speech started with a short presentation about FNF and its work in Turkey. Then, she pointed the importance of  European Union integration process for Turkey. She specifically highlighted that “this process is an important chance for a more democratic and liberal Turkey. We should always focus on the advantages of this process. EU should  mean to us pluralistic democracy, a dynamic and competitive market economy, closer economic relations, more investment, an independent  legal system, social welfare, high-level of health, education and business standards,  high-standardised products and  environmental awareness. She concluded by stressing that despite the fact that full accession negotiations are not in the agenda nowadays, the idea of integration should continue. “The EU is an anchor for us, the important thing for us is not the end of the road, but the road itself”. The main part of the event was Dr. Tugba Agacayak’s  Project Coordinator at TEMA Foundation – lecture which was dedicated on how to reach a sustainable world by giving insight into climate change and its relation to water and food security.

The first part focused on the climate system, climate change and causes of the climate change, the Keeling Curve showing the increase of CO2 concentrations, relation of temperature to CO2, and temperature increase as a result of human induced greenhouse effect. The greenhouse gas sources defined by IPCC were also described. The unique role of forestation as carbon storage was also explained as well as the countries’ responsibilities in terms of emissions and more specific the responsibility of Turkey. Dr. Agacayak presented the mitigation of greenhouse gases and climate campaigns of TEMA Foundation and the IPCC’s 1.5 degrees special report which aims to limit warming below 1.5 degrees.

The second part was based on a recent policy brief  dedicated on “Water and Food Security in Turkey in a Changing Climate” written by Dr. Tugba Agacayak and Fuat Keyman, Director of Istanbul Policy Center (IPC). The policy brief discusses the effects of climate change on multiple sectors, especially vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, forestry, energy, and tourism, which are highly dependent on environmental conditions such as temperatures and precipitation levels. As climate change threatens water resources, causes drought, and leads to land cover change and decreased agricultural productivity, it affects water and food security. Since Turkey is a water-stressed country, and by the second half of the century, it will reach the level of water poverty. The Global Food Security Index estimates that food security in Turkey is 49th out of 113 index countries and 8th in the MENA region. In order to meet the targets of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it is necessary to increase measures for climate change mitigation and adaptation, water security, and food security. By adopting these measures, Turkey can simultaneously contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in terms of “clean water and sanitation” and to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” by 2030. Working toward these global goals is the current solution for a sustainable world, ending all forms of poverty, fighting inequalities, and tackling climate change for all people.

The third lecture is scheduled to take place at Anadolu University in Eskisehir on the 25th of February 2019 focusing on “European Media, Digitization and Funding”.