Combating erosion and desertification has been a major issue for Turkey for several decades. Turkish institutions have a great deal of experience for arid region forestry and rehabilitation approaches. Today, Turkey is on the verge of reflecting this experience into its national strategy on combating desertification and erosion that will be aligned with UNCCD strategy and approached. Moreover, Turkey’s reporting infrastructure for UNCCD is underway These processes can play a key role for the countries of the region which have similar conditions.
The Government of Turkey has prepared its response to UNCCD through National Action Program on Combating Desertification that was put into force in 2005. Following the adoption of UNCCD 10 Year Strategic Plan and Framework to Enhance the Implementation of Convention (2007) Turkey has decided to align its program to the new approach. In 2013, as a first step the National Strategy has been prepared. Meantime, the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs has initiated the Project “Alignment of Turkey’s National Action Plan with UNCCD 10-Year Strategy and Reporting Process” in partnership with FAO-SEC and with funding from GEF. The project will be finalized in 2014 with two outputs: National Action Plan and an infrastructure to enable Turkish authorities to report to the UNCCD.
Participatory Approach for Sustainable Land/Forest Management
Currently, the NAP preparations are led by the coordination of General Directorate of Combating Desertification and Erosion under the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs. However, as the issue needs a multidisciplinary approach thematic groups were established to gather the contribution of involved organizations in an efficient way. During the preparation process several thematic groups were established to work on forests, agricultural lands, rangelands, steppes, wetlands, coastal zones and cities. The results and suggestions obtained from each group will be integrated and presented to the relevant stakeholders for their final contribution and approval. The National Action Plan will be finalized during 2014 and will be operational.
A model on reporting to UNCCD for the Region’s countries
Other component of the project is to prepare a baseline for Turkey’s obligation for UNCCD reporting. The project will establish a database to collect information from relevant organization of Turkey, assess the information and prepare several reports. Two of these reports will be in “Effected Countries” and “Developed Countries” reporting format of UNCCD. Moreover, Turkish government aims to respond to other national reporting obligations with the same structure as well.
As it is proven in the last years, the data obtained from different institutions in Turkey, is quite often not compatible with the format of UNCCD. Therefore, a great amount of analysis is currently made under the project to overcome this problem in a most efficient way.
These processes in Turkey can be used as lessons learnt and be a model for the countries with similar conditions. Turkish authorities are planning to seek ways to distribute this know-how in the region that can also play a role in preparation of subregional plan that is foreseen under UNCCD, too.