Statement by Turkey at the World Environment Day on 5 June 2019

Rauf Alp Denktaş 04.06.2019
Mr. President,

It is encouraging to see that this event has become a strong global platform for public outreach since it began in 1974. This year’s theme “air pollution” is particulary relevant, as carbon emissions have risen for two years in a row now. Accelerated awareness and action is needed to reduce air pollution and to leave a clean and safe environment for future generations.

Today, we are confronted with environmental challenges that urgently require intensified international cooperation. The adverse effects of “desertification”, “drought”, “soil degradation”, “extreme weather events” and “air pollution” are increasingly felt in every aspect of social and economic life. They undermine the ability to achieve sustainable development. There is no doubt that climate change has a multiplier effect on these environmental challenges.

Turkey’s efforts to combat these challenges continue with a broader perspective of advancing sustainable development efforts. In this vein, we have put into effect credible national plans.

To give a few examples, we adopted the “National Waste Management Action Plan” and introduced the “Zero Waste Project” which aims at recycling 35 percent of total waste. We also committed to set up zero-waste management systems in the Turkish seas, at the Ocean Conference that was held last year in in Bali.

Today, Turkey’s installed capacity of renewable energy is more than 45 % of the total capacity, a figure which makes us the leader in our region. The share of renewable energy in primary energy supply of Turkey is higher than the OECD average. Our overall target is decreasing primary energy consumption to 14 % by 2023.

We fully support the remarks by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Kenya. In fact, together with Kenya, Turkey has undertaken the co-leadership of “Infrastructure, Cities and Local Action” track of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in September. The focus of our work is on low-carbon and resilient infrastructure; transport and buildings in particular. These two sectors account for 75% of the world’s energy and emit 50-60% of the world’s total greenhouse gases in cities. They necessitate strong commitments from national governments and the private sector.

Mr. President, Distinguished colleagues,

Friendly cities are where the global climate change battle will be fought, and we will do our best to bring transformative initiatives to the SG’s Climate Action Summit in September, which is an important milestone in our struggle.

Thank you.