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Turkey and the EU work together to build a greener future

Turkey climate change

Bringing together local authorities from different countries to work on a specific issue is a possible solution to the challenges they face. This is the case of Twinning for a green future, a cooperation project between Turkey and the European Union in which Zabala Innovation participates and whose objective is to strengthen the capacities of Turkish authorities to implement actions related to climate change and the preservation of the environment. The first twinning visit in the framework of this project takes place this week in Lisbon, Coimbra, and Porto (Portugal).

Through this project – with a budget of €1.5 million – from December 2022 and for the following two years, Turkish and European local authorities will work together to:

  • increase the quantity and quality of town-twinning partnerships around the green transition by fostering and involving key stakeholders such as civil society and citizens;
  • increase the capacities of key institutions (the Union of Municipalities and the Union of Provinces of Turkey, its Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change, and the EU Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Directorate-General) in terms of monitoring, reporting and implementation of grants;
  • achieve visibility for this project;
  • enhance the capacities of key institutions and local authorities on green future, sustainable urbanisation, the existing EU regulatory package and lobbying actions;
  • develop and publish a climate finance roadmap, to provide guidance for new funding opportunities;
  • improving communication between Turkish local authorities and the EU, as well as their participation in European networks.

Strengthening capacities in the implementation of measures

Local diplomacy and cooperation are major components of the internationalisation of local authorities and one of the driving forces behind Turkey’s integration with the EU. For this reason, in the framework of this project and enlarging our international experience, Zabala Innovation will support the consortium’s activities in bringing cities and provinces closer to one another, contributing to multiple dimensions of their development in a participatory and inclusive manner.

Zabala Innovation will support the climate and environment-based actions that will constitute a tool for strengthening the capacities of local administrative authorities and through twinning schemes, enabling the exchange of knowledge and experience with the EU counterparts. The Zabala Innovation’s team involved will directly participate in capacity building activities related with the increase of the capacity of the authorities in environmental topics, mobilising and promoting networking events and increasing the awareness of the Green Future Theme.

Turkey is a country vulnerable to climate change due to its geographical position and has taken significant steps over the last decade to address related challenges, according to its own Development Plan 2019-2023. Thus, the Turkish government is trying to enhance green growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this framework, local authorities are called upon to implement national and international climate change policies.

The project will provide an opportunity for local authorities already motivated by the grant scheme and flexible non-financial support mechanism towards mobility and networking support and will create bilateral and multilateral communications and visibility base in Turkey regarding major EU networks of local authorities and raise awareness further. Twinning for green future represents the continuation of a first twinning programme between Turkey and Europe that ran from 2018 to 2020. This new thematic edition of the programme envisages that climate and environmental issues will permeate all activities.

Twinning visits

During the twinning visit in Lisbon, the office of Zabala Innovation in this city will exchange with the participants about the challenges are being faced by the sector and all the opportunities it offers. Portugal has been developing environment, renewable energy and climate change adaptation and resilience strategies for the past two decades in an intensive manner due to its geographical realities, and as part of its economic development and growth. Along the way, the Portuguese municipalities have also invested in twin transition by prioritising smart city concept. Now is the turn of Turkish authorities to explore and learn from the Portuguese experience.

Zabala Innovation team will support the consortium also in the following visits that will take place, especially in the cities where we are based. This intervention is aligned with the work done from the Third countries Knowledge Area of Zabala Innovation, whose objective is to promote standards implemented in the EU member States and to transfer these good practices to third countries as Turkey.