UNDP and Marmara Municipalities Union team up to improve lives and protect nature

February 9, 2022

Louisa Vinton, UNDP Turkey Resident Representative and Tahir Büyükakın, Mayor of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality who also serves as MMU President

Partnership aims to accelerate development progress for centre of Turkish industry with 25 million residents

Kocaeli, 9 February 2022 – Under an agreement signed here today, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) agreed to partner with the Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU), in promoting efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among the association’s 192 member municipalities. The MMU is Turkey’s first-established and largest regional local government association; its constituent municipalities produce 45 percent of national GDP and cover 25 million residents, or 30 percent of Turkey’s population.

As a first step, UNDP will support the MMU and its constituent municipalities in “localizing” the SDGs. This is a process of translating the global agenda for sustainable development into local plans, policies and practices. This effort will include helping municipalities in preparing Voluntary Local Reviews, the local-level counterpart to the Voluntary National Reviews that countries present to the UN General Assembly to document their progress toward the SDGs.  

“Too often achieving the SDGs is considered the sole responsibility of national governments,” said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. “But we stand no chance of reaching these global goals without energy and engagement at the local level. That is why we are so pleased to forge a partnership with MMU, which is home to so much of Turkish business and industry. We are confident that examples set here will help build strong local momentum for the SDGs.”

“The SDGs offer an ambitious framework for improving people’s welfare and protecting our planet for future generations,” said Tahir Büyükakın, Mayor of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality who also serves as MMU President. “As we promote this effort across the Marmara region, having UNDP as our partner will help us motivate our member municipalities, identify tested global solutions to urban development challenges and share our success stories.”

Other agreed areas of cooperation include supporting the region’s municipalities in hosting Syrian refugees; devising solutions to environmental challenges such as the mucilage problem in the Marmara Sea; and improving preparedness to prevent and respond to natural disasters.

UNDP will also support ongoing MMU initiatives, including the Marmara Urban Forum (MARUF); the Golden Ant Awards rewarding good municipal practices for sustainable urban life; and support to university students conducting research in areas of shared interest.

UNDP Turkey and MMU worked together in the past to create an open community hub in Gökçeada through an innovative participatory design and collaborative learning process.

For related photos, please visit: https://bit.ly/3rB4scq

Contact information:

Faik Uyanık, UNDP in Turkey, faik.uyanik@undp.org

E. Furkan Düzgiden, Marmara Municipalities Union, furkan.duzgiden@mbb.gov.tr

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. tr.undp.org.


Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU) is a regional local government association in Turkey with over 190 members from the Marmara Region. Based in Istanbul, MMU carries on activities in areas such as environment, climate change, urbanization, migration and social cohesion, local economic development, resilience, technology, and innovation. MMU’s activities include training, consulting, capacity building, awareness raising, supporting scientific research, advocating local democracy, and organizing events. marmara.gov.tr