Statement by H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, at the High Level Event Convened by the Secretary General of the United Nations Entitled the Future in Our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challange of Climate Change on "Reducing Emissions and Stabilizing the Climate: Safeguarding our Common Future"

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 24.09.2007
Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary General
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to thank you for this timely initiative to convene a high-level meeting on climate change which has emerged as one of the major global challenges confronting humankind.

Today, climate change is the greatest environmental threat that humanity faces. It is also a fact that greenhouse gas emissions are the main reason for this global phenomenon.

One of the most unfair aspects of climate change is that the countries that are most adversely affected by this problem are the ones bearing the least responsibility for it.

Developing countries and least developed countries should benefit from international mechanisms, funds for adaptation and also new technologies in a more comprehensive manner.

The special circumstances of developing countries should be born in mind and they should contribute to international efforts within a fair and flexible framework.

For this purpose, current mechanisms should be further developed and made accessible; moreover, it is imperative that voluntary and flexible arrangements are elaborated.

Developed countries with a historical responsibility and high emission levels should realize higher reduction levels in the post-2012 period.

Mr. President,

Turkey is an Annex-I country whose special circumstances were recognized at the 7th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2001. We became party to the Convention in 2004. However, in terms of basic economic indicators, Turkey's level of industrialization is not yet at the same levels of the large majority of Annex I countries.

In 2004, our per capita greenhouse gas emission level was the equivalent of 4.1 tons of CO2.

This amount corresponds to a third of the average level of emissions from Annex I and OECD countries, where the EU and Turkey are listed together.

Considering that Turkey is a country with high development goals and a rapidly growing market economy, emissions are expected to continue to increase in the future.

In recent years, Turkey has taken several important steps in addressing the issue of climate change and to control greenhouse gas emissions.

In this connection, I can cite the revised Environment Law, the Energy Efficiency Law, the Renewable Energy Law and relevant regulations that have entered into force.

Turkey is undertaking a series of activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as optimum utilization of the country's hydroelectric potential, promoting energy efficiency and conservation, improving the quality of vehicle fuels, withdrawal of old vehicles from circulation and increasing energy efficiency in cement and iron / steel plants.

Turkey attaches great importance to continuing its economic development in line with the principle of sustainability, and is determined to tackle climate change on the basis of the principles of "equity" and "common but differentiated responsibilities".

Turkey is not yet party to the Kyoto Protocol. We are currently in the process of evaluating at the highest level Turkey's accession.

Provided that its special circumstances setting it apart from the other Annex-I countries is acknowledged, Turkey is favorably considering accesssion to the Kyoto Protocol.

We attribute great importance to regional and international cooperation in order to minimize the adverse effects of climate change on our water resources.

The fact that we will be hosting the "World Water Forum" in March 2009 in Istanbul demonstrates the importance we attach to this issue.

Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to cordially invite you all to the 5th World Water Forum.

Thank you.