Türkiye and World Bank Launch $400 Million Climate Resilient Forests Project

Türkiye is highly susceptible to natural disasters such as floods, wildfires, storms, and landslides, which are exacerbated by climate change.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Ankara | Updated: 31-05-2024 11:31 IST | Created: 31-05-2024 11:31 IST
Türkiye and World Bank Launch $400 Million Climate Resilient Forests Project
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The Government of Türkiye and the World Bank have announced the launch of the $400 million Türkiye Climate Resilient Forests Project, aimed at enhancing the nation's capacity to protect people and forests from the increasing threat of wildfires.

Türkiye is highly susceptible to natural disasters such as floods, wildfires, storms, and landslides, which are exacerbated by climate change. In 2021, the southern and western regions of Türkiye experienced the worst wildfires in recent history, burning coastal forestland eight times the size of average annual fires. These wildfires resulted in deaths, forced evacuations of hundreds of residents and tourists, and caused significant environmental, public health, and economic impacts, affecting various sectors including timber, tourism, hunting, mining, beekeeping, and livestock.

The newly launched Türkiye Climate Resilient Forests Project will bolster the Government of Türkiye's efforts in wildfire management and enhance the resilience of forests and communities in 14 provinces most at risk for wildfires. These provinces are home to approximately 20 million people, many of whom rely on forestland for their livelihoods.

Bekir Karacabey, Director General of the General Directorate of Forestry (OGM) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Türkiye, emphasized the country's leadership in modernizing forest fire management: "In the face of escalating wildfires that tragically claimed lives in 2021, Türkiye is proud to lead the charge in modernizing forest fire management. Our nation stands at the forefront, pioneering advanced technologies and holistic approaches to both prevent and suppress wildfires.

The world looks to Türkiye as a beacon of innovation and resilience in safeguarding our forests and communities. As we embark on the Türkiye Climate Resilient Forests Project in partnership with the World Bank, we are taking decisive action to protect our precious forests and communities from the growing threats of megafires and climate change impacts. This project underscores our commitment to climate change and the health of our forests. Together with the World Bank and our stakeholders, we are charting a path towards a more climate-resilient future for Türkiye, ensuring the well-being of our people and the preservation of our invaluable forest ecosystems with the vision to emerge as a global leader in forest fire management."

The project employs comprehensive and state-of-the-art integrated fire management strategies for both wildfire suppression and prevention. It aims to strengthen wildfire response and support the resilient restoration of landscapes and livelihoods affected by wildfires. Through these efforts, the project will help reduce Türkiye’s vulnerability to climate change, conserve and enhance biodiversity, and reduce CO2 emissions. Additionally, the project will protect and support the well-being and livelihoods of people in rural communities, including those affected by recent devastating earthquakes.

Humberto Lopez, World Bank Country Director for Türkiye, highlighted the significance of the project: “Today marks a crucial step forward in our commitment to safeguarding communities and ecosystems. The Türkiye Climate Resilient Forests Project underscores our dedication to proactive climate adaptation action and resilience-building. From conception to execution, our partnership with the Government of Türkiye embodies unprecedented commitment and determination. We are proud to have launched this transformative initiative in record time, setting a new standard for proactively responding to climate change challenges."

The World Bank remains a reliable partner for Türkiye in its disaster risk management efforts to protect people against the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. The Türkiye Climate Resilient Forests Project aligns with the Türkiye Country Partnership Framework for 2024-2028 and the Country Climate and Development Report, which emphasize the importance of forests in the country's carbon balance. This project complements other ongoing World Bank projects, including the $135 million Turkey Resilient Landscape Integration Project (TULIP) and the $449 million Türkiye Earthquake, Floods, and Wildfires Emergency Reconstruction Project.

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