Ankara event discussed the need for urgent climate action ahead of COP26 in Glasgow

Posted October 26, 2021

With just one week remaining until the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) begins in Glasgow, the British Embassy in Ankara and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organised a special COP26 "Let's Talk Climate" (İklimce Sohbetler) session. Photo: Bora Akbay

Ankara, 22 October 2021 – With just one week remaining until the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) begins in Glasgow, the British Embassy in Ankara and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organised a special COP26 "Let's Talk Climate" (İklimce Sohbetler) session. This session was hosted by the British Ambassador to Turkey, Sir Dominick Chilcott, at his Residence in Ankara today.

The Ambassador was joined by Turkey’s Chief Climate Change Negotiator, Mehmet Emin Birpınar, who also serves as Deputy Minister for Environment and Urbanisation, and UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. Their discussion focused on Turkey’s recent ratification of the Paris Agreement and freshly announced commitment to achieve net-zero status on CO2 emissions by 2053. Also highlighted were the UK’s four key goals for COP26, the need for all countries to commit to more ambitious carbon-reduction targets, and UNDP’s plans to help Turkey make up lost ground in the global “race to zero.”

The special session was co-financed by UK’s Climate Diplomacy Fund and UNDP Turkey. It was part of a wider series of events the British Embassy has been holding to raise awareness of the urgency halting global warming including panels, webinars, seminars, workshops and social media campaigns. These events have aimed to promote discussion and to bring together all parts of society to address the pressing need for greater climate action ahead of COP26, under the UK Presidency.

UNDP has been organising similar discussions on climate change since 2019, in an effort to discuss practical solutions to the climate crisis whilst developing a shared language by all parties working on this issue. UNDP Turkey Goodwill Ambassador, Mert Fırat, as the permanent host of the “Let's Talk Climate” sessions, was also in Ankara to facilitate the discussion.

In his remarks, the British Ambassador highlighted four points that would achieve the ambition expected from COP26: 1) climate action plans to significantly reduce emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by mid-century; 2) concrete action to deliver these plans, including agreements on reducing coal, expanding electric cars, protecting trees and reducing methane emissions;  3) honouring the US$100 billion pledge to help less-developed countries fund their climate efforts; and 4) a negotiated outcome paving the way for a decade of ever-increasing ambition.

He said, “The UK warmly welcomes Turkey’s recent steps most notably the ratification of the Paris Agreement and the announcement of net zero by 2053. We look forward to seeing Turkey’s NDC and its long-term strategy to achieve the 2053 target. The UK and Turkey are working together in number of areas.  We have, Climate Finance Accelerator Programme which aims to support climate projects to improve their bankability and appeal to financiers.  In March 2022, we will also host a green finance conference in London to support the development of a green finance eco-system in Turkey. We also have various other projects and communication programmes in the areas of future cities, zero-waste, marine biodiversity and youth engagement.”

Turkey’s Chief Negotiator for Climate Change and Deputy Environment and Urbanisation Minister Prof. Mehmet Emin Birpınar said, “Turkey has taken historic steps towards securing the future of our earth under President Erdoğan’s leadership. Turkey has reiterated its determination to fight with climate change. We will convene an inclusive Climate Council in early 2022 with the purpose of identifying Turkey’s roadmap towards the 2053 net zero target. It will provide a platform to all climate stakeholders including businesses, civil society and universities for uniting all forces on Turkey’s long-term climate action. Accordingly, Turkey will continue implementing robust policies in every sector of the economy, from energy to agriculture, industry and transportation in line with its climate agenda. We will assume a leading role in global climate action.”

“Turkey is not starting from zero,” said UNDP’s Vinton, “but its decision to ratify the Paris Agreement and commit to a date to achieve carbon neutrality offer a historic opportunity to create new momentum behind efforts to fight climate change and protect our planet. UNDP will be supporting this work at the policy level and through projects in a wide range of areas, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, biodiversity, the circular economy and disaster risk reduction. Through conversations like this one we see the potential to build a national consensus in Turkey that shifts the focus from the costs to the myriad benefits that we can all expect from a greener future. Creating a just transition is vital to ensure that everyone gains, and no one is left behind.”

The special event was aired live on UNDP Turkey’s YouTube channel, enabling all interested parties to join the conversation.

To watch the recording please click here:

Notes to the editors:

1.      The COP26 ‘Conference of the Parties’ is the 2021 United Nations climate change conference. This year will be the 26th annual summit – giving it the name COP26. With the UK as President, COP26 this year, will take place in Glasgow on 31 October-12 November.

2.      The Right Honourable Alok Sharma MP was appointed full-time President for COP26 on 8 January 2021.

3.      In the run up to COP26 the UK is working with every nation to reach agreement on how to tackle climate change. Beginning with the World Leaders Summit on 1 and 2 November, each day will focus on a different theme, from advancing progress on key priorities like clean energy, zero-emission transport and protecting nature, to ensuring the participation of women, girls and young people is at the centre of climate action. Cross-cutting themes like science, innovation and inclusivity will run throughout the programme, as will the need to mitigate climate change, adapt to its impacts, and mobilise public and private finance.

4.      UNDP supports Turkey in realizing new climate commitments towards a net-zero target by 2053 in line with the Paris Agreement. UNDP will provide technical support as part of the drafting process of the National Climate Change Strategy 2050, Action Plan 2030 and National Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2023-2030, to be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat. Turkey’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) will also be revised parallel with the National Climate Change Strategy 2050 and Action Plan 2030 process by UNDP.