Turkey
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  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Member State
  • Name: Turkey
  • Submission Document: Download
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TURKEY?S CONTRIBUTION TO THE COMPILATION DOCUMENT FOR THE UN CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Turkey is looking forward to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to be held in Rio de Janeiro on 4-6 June 2012. Turkey believes that the Conference will be a milestone in the global development endeavor.

A new political commitment by the international community for sustainable development is a necessity. Thus, the Rio+20 Conference will be an opportune event to renew global engagement to sustainable development, assess the progress made since the Earth Summit in 1992, identify remaining gaps and new global challenges and pave the way for achieving progress on general and specific areas covered under the concept of sustainable development.

The three pillars of sustainable development, namely economic, social and environmental dimensions, are equally important and complement each other. People must be at the center of sustainable development and have an equal opportunity in economic growth process. It is all the more important to achieve sustainable development in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Today, our planet is under severe strain. Depletion of natural resources, loss of biodiversity and impact of climate change limiting the absorption capacity of the earth. In this vein, it is our shared responsibility to achieve sustained economic growth and sustainable development without threatening the planetary boundaries.

Since the Earth Summit, there has been a growing realization that sustainable development must receive a higher priority in the years ahead. However, more needs to be done as the progress to date is lower than expected and uneven among regions and countries.

Over the past years, global imbalances steadily increased and negatively affected all countries. The financial and economic crisis as well as high and volatile energy and food prices, in other words energy and food crises, reversed some development gains and exacerbated poverty and hunger. Sustainable development needs to be pursued in accordance with the principles contained in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations. All stakeholders should cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to address global economic, social and environmental challenges.

Democracy and good governance are essential means of sustainable development. It requires effective planning at all levels, enhanced participation in decision making and partnerships including socially responsible and innovative private sector and the civil society, including NGOs.

The Rio+20 Conference should concentrate on strengthening the linkages between the three dimensions of sustainable development. It must give a new impetus to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by and beyond 2015 and other internationally agreed goals in the context of major UN conferences, in particular Agenda 21, Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries.

EXPECTATIONS AND PROPOSALS

Stocktaking

The Rio+20 Conference should elaborate on the state of play concerning the realization of the principles contained in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21. Implementation of the multi-lateral environmental Conventions as well as the outcomes of major international Summits can also taken stock during the Conference. Outcome Document

The outcome document of the Conference should reflect a carefully constructed balance between demands and interests. It needs to be a strategic, concise and focused document targeting the year 2030.

Sustainable Development Goals and Indicators

It is important to reach an agreement at the Rio+20 Conference which incorporates concrete targets and goes beyond ?efforts to adopt best practices?. In this regard, drawing on our experience with the MDGs, the outcome document could outline mutually agreed specific ?Sustainable Development Goals? (SDGs) which would determine specific objectives and concrete actions to be taken by all UN Member States. The SDGs can be defined in the framework of:

? Securing firm political commitment to sustainable development;

? Establishing a sustainable balance among socio-economic growth, use of natural resources and conservation of ecosystems;

? Pursuing a differentiated approach among countries;

? Guiding strategies, policies and programmes for the implementation with a view to achieving concrete and substantive results at all levels;

? Monitoring by the UN system and at national level;

? Revising SDGs if necessary. In this context, indicators to measure economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development complementing GDP can be revised, strengthened and utilized in conjunction with the SGDs.

Green Economy

Green economy has a potential to promote long-term economic growth, create decent jobs and alleviate poverty. But, first and foremost, a common understanding and shared vision on green economy is needed within the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. Shifting to sustainable consumption and production patterns, low carbon strategies, effective resource and material management and efficient investments are the main elements of green economy. It is an integrated long-term process and requires comprehensive transformation in many sectors. Governments, private sector and industry, civil society and universities should work together in this process.

Each country can experience such a transformation in a certain period according to its priorities and specific circumstances. States might create their own developmental models under the concept of green economy.

For developing countries, the transformation needs to be based on large scale impact analyses, in particular on macro-economy, industry and technology. The use of new technologies and shifting sustainable production patterns stemming from green growth require more investments in research and innovation by the public and private sectors.

The Rio+20 Conference might produce as an operational outcome a green economy roadmap taking into account common but differentiated responsibilities and the respective capabilities of countries. It can cover specific objectives and actions such as SDGs in a balanced and realistic manner.

There should be special arrangements to provide developing countries with international assistance in order to handle such transformation. Specific support mechanisms to facilitate their access to technology and finance and, for capacity building need to be established in this regard.

The main focus areas of the green economy are water/energy/food security nexus, agriculture, soil and land use, rural development, power generation, in particular renewables and sustainable energy for all, climate change, marine resources, oceans and fisheries, biodiversity and ecosystem services, halt and reversal of deforestation and forest degradation, dry lands, pollution prevention and control, chemicals, waste management and recycling, disaster risk reduction and post-disaster recovery.

In the light of growing world population, urbanization, cities and mega-cities deserve particular attention.

Green growth must also take into account social aspects. People should be able to benefit from the wealth created through economic development.

Institutional Framework

One of the main hurdles for sustainable development stems from the ineffective and insufficient institutional arrangements. The Rio +20 Conference would be a suitable platform to discuss the current global institutional framework to address the implementation gap.

Then, multi-level governance is essential for achieving sustainability goals at national, regional and global levels. To that end, a multi-faceted approach should be embraced. There may be a supranational body overlooking the general governance structure. In this context, ?Sustainable Development Council? can be established to foster the integration of economic, social and environmental considerations into the sustainable development.

In view of the fact that institutional coherence begins at the national level, strong sustainable development programs should be implemented by national governments in a holistic way, by mobilizing synergies of different national institutions in a coordinated manner. Following integrated and cross-sectoral approaches is a must for good governance at national level.

Regionally coordinated action enhances partnerships, supports efficient decision making processes and achievement of sustainable development. Regional level is the most suitable platform in identifying and analyzing the success stories and policies that have worked.

With this view, regional cooperation and South-South cooperation are of utmost importance for filling the implementation gap. Transfer of Southern solutions, as well as exchange of good practices and lessons learned through regional hubs can pave the way for effective implementation and new partnerships.

Globally, we need to benefit from the existing structure of the UN. The role of the UN General Assembly, ECOSOC, CSD and Regional Economic Commissions should be strengthened in sustainable development process. Good coordination and cooperation at the UN and among relevant UN organizations is a sine qua non for effective implementation. Relevant specialized entities of the UN such as UNDP, UNEP, UNCTAD, UN-DESA should take more responsibility and action. Upgrading the UNEP into a Specialized Agency for the Environment would be considered to improve coordination in particular for the implementation of more than a hundred multi-lateral agreements on the environment.

Furthermore, international financial institutions should be involved in the global governance structure in a coherent manner and support more actively and with increased resourced the sustainable development endeavor.

Means of Implementation and Partnerships

Solidarity, cooperation and partnerships at all levels are the prerequisites of sustainable development. Partnership includes governments, the UN system, international financial organizations, civil society, private sector and academia.

The means of implementation require enacting appropriate national legislation in harmony with international instruments and its enforcement for all countries. The Parliaments have a central role to play in this regard and have more to say in policy framework.

The international community should demonstrate its solidarity with the poorest and most vulnerable populations. In this regard, the Least Developed Countries and the Small Island Developing States deserve particular attention and well-targeted support measures to eradicate poverty, accelerate economic growth and sustainable development.

Sustainable development necessitates effective use of existing resources, additional financial resources, fulfillment of official development assistance commitments, pursuit of development-oriented solutions to the debt problems of developing countries and addressing the issue of technology transfer. Establishment of ?Global Green Development Fund? and ?Green Technology and Innovation Mechanism? can be considered in this context. Furthermore, innovative financial mechanisms and specific tax incentives can be implemented to support the efforts towards sustainable development.

As people must be at the center of the endeavor to move toward sustainability, education and skill generation is an important tool to enhance human capacity for sustainable development. Youth provide energy and dynamism for change. Young populations, in particular girls, must be provided better education to join the workforce. There is a need for further emphasis on the cooperation among governments, private sector, universities and vocational training providers to extend educational programmes and address the mismatches between the skills young people possess and skills required by the labor market.

Gender equality and empowerment of women is a must for and equitable and inclusive socio-economic development and achieving the MDGs. Investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth. Equal access of women, children, elderly and disabled people to basic services, including education and health, economic opportunities and decision-making has to be ensured for the full participation of all citizens.

Medium and long term strategies and plans contribute substantially to sustainable development. For example, Five Year Development Plans and the National Environment Strategy and Action Plan of Turkey helped achieving many developmental and environmental goals and targets at the national context.

The private sector should be closely involved in this work, within the framework with socially responsible practices and principles. The private sector is in a critical position in mobilizing financial resources and increasing investments. Private capital flows could be the engine for sustainable development in many sectors, in particular renewable energy, manufacturing, agriculture.
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