Statement by Mr. Ersin Erçin, Minister-Counsellor, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN at the 14th Session of Commission on Sustainable Development

Ersin Erçin 01.05.2006
Thank you Mr. Chairman,

Let me first congratulate you and the members of the bureau for your commendable work in preparing the CSD-14. My delegation aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Austria on behalf of the European Union. However, I would like to make some additional points.

Mr. Chairman, the World Summit on Sustainable Development was a benchmark event, placing sustainable development at the forefront of the international agenda. The Summit produced an ambitious Plan of Implementation. According to the Plan important responsibility falls upon governments to reduce poverty through providing their citizens with basic services.

As it was clearly stated in Secretary General`s report, persistent poverty in many parts of the developing world, pockets of poverty in the developed world still remain a formidable challenge for all of us. There is a progress but not enough. Considerable efforts at the global level are required to meet JPOI goals to which Turkey is strongly committed.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to inform the members of the Commission that Turkey is one of the countries which submitted its national report for CSD-14. Therefore, I will not go into details as interested delegations could find more information in the said report. I will briefly touch upon only few issues which we think important.

We strongly believe that energy for sustainable development, air pollution/atmosphere and climate change are closely interlinked. Addressing all these three issues in an integrated manner can provide an opportunity to utilize cleaner and more energy-efficient industrial technologies as well as addressing the cross-cutting issues of poverty eradication, health and gender equity.

The energy strategy of Turkey is multi-dimensional. The gap in Turkey`s energy supply and demand is one of the key elements which determine its energy policies. Hence, Turkey pursues policies to ensure diversified, reliable and cost-effective supply sources for its growing energy need in order to mach its economic and social development while continuing the process of liberalization of its energy market. Another aspect of this strategy is to become a major consumption and transit terminal in its region. With its emerging and growing economy Turkey is facing a gradual increase of its demand for energy by 8 % per annum.

Turkey, straddling the Caspian basin and Europe, forms a natural energy bridge between the source-rich countries of the Caspian basin and the energy-demanding world markets. Due to its geographical location and being the biggest energy importer of the area Turkey casts itself as an energy hub in its region. As one of the biggest investors in the region and having close historical, cultural and economic ties with the countries of the region, Turkey acts not only along with its commercial interests but also bears the responsibility for supporting these nations in their social and economic development.

Enhancing the overall economic efficiency of the energy sector has been one of the biggest challenges for Turkey. In line with the ongoing harmonization process of the Turkish legislation with the EU, a new legal framework was put into effect to end the state monopolies and allow private sector participation in energy industries. The new Electricity Market Law allows for the non-discriminatory access to electricity transmission and connection services for all users. The same applies to natural gas and oil, as defined within the framework of Natural Gas Market Law and Petroleum Market Law. The new market models are based on cost-effective pricing so as to achieve competition in all segments.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey strongly believes that development and wide-spread adoption of cleaner and renewable energy technologies will help to reduce air pollution and advance sustainable development at the global level. However, considerable efforts are still required to meet JPOI target of substantially increasing the global share of renewable energy sources in the total energy supply.

Turkey, in line with its JPOI commitments, enacted necessary legislation in the area of renewable energy. The law on the utilization of Renewable Energy Sources for the Purpose of Generating Electricity establishes support mechanisms and further incentives to encourage investment such as through investment allowances and tax-exemptions.

In this context I also would like mention the International Center for Hydrogen Energy Technologies (ICHET) which was established in Istanbul to serve as a center of excellence on hydrogen energy technologies related R&D. The Center is envisaged to play a vital role to introduce into energy mix as a reliable and cost-effective source.

Let me now briefly touch upon hydropower as a renewable and clean energy sources. Compared to other renewable energy sources hydropower, with zero level of emission and greenhouse gasses, has proven to be much more reliable and productive. As the production of hydro-power first and foremost requires the storage of water, dams and reservoirs remain a critical component of power generation as well as irrigation, potable water storage, sanitation and flood prevention.

Mr. Chairman,

We strongly believe that international community must further its efforts in addressing the sustainable development challenges relating to the all three issues under review through supporting the efforts of the developing countries particularly in the areas of capacity building and financial assistance.

Thank you.