Turkey signed the “Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forest and Land Use” announced at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) held in Glasgow, Scotland. Considering the development as an important step, TEMA Foundation called for the protection of our forests, which have been destroyed by mining activities in all of Turkey, from Akbelen to Mersin, from Şırnak to Ordu.
TEMA Foundation closely follows the commitments and initiatives of world leaders at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) held in Glasgow, Scotland. The “Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forest and Land Use”, signed by more than a hundred countries, including Turkey, at the meeting is important in that it commits to stopping and reversing deforestation and land degradation by 2030.
Turkey's signing of the declaration is a very important step.
Making a statement on the subject, Deniz Ataç, Chairman of the TEMA Foundation, said, “We see Turkey's signing of this declaration following the Paris Agreement as a very important step. In Turkey, which is under the threat of desertification, unfortunately, tree cutting continues under mining activities in many regions. Mining operations were allowed in 2012 hectares of forest area between 2020 and 340.000. The forest area burned in the same period is 87.000 hectares. In order to fulfill the promise of being carbon neutral in 2053, which was made upon the ratification of the Paris Agreement, it is of great importance to protect forest areas, which are sink areas. As the TEMA Foundation, we demand that our losses sustained by mining activities all over the country, from Akbelen to Mersin, from Şırnak to Ordu, be stopped in accordance with the commitment of 'protecting forests and other terrestrial ecosystems and accelerating their restoration' given in the declaration. We demand the restoration of the burned and degraded areas," he said.
In Turkey, approximately 144 thousand hectares of forest area was destroyed in the forest fires in the summer months. This area, which is equivalent to 200 thousand football fields or 5 times of Gökçeada, needs to be restored. The burning forest areas have not only displaced people but also damaged the habitats of many species.
Villagers should have a say in forestry permits
Until today, due to mining activities, many people had to migrate to different places, losing their land and forests. In the declaration, it is committed to strengthen communities, develop sustainable agriculture and ensure resilience by recognizing the values of forests, and improve rural livelihoods. However, it is promised to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples as well as local communities in accordance with relevant national legislation and international instruments. As stated in this article, support activities need to be implemented so that displaced people can re-establish a life in their own areas.
Ataç “Akbelen Forest is the living space of the people in İkizköy, Muğla. According to the declaration, Turkey guarantees the rights of the people of İkizköy, who are struggling to prevent the forest from being cut down due to the thermal power plant. This means that the expansion must be stopped immediately. As the TEMA Foundation, we believe that the rights of the villagers who defend their habitats will be restored in accordance with the declaration, and that Turkey will continue its steps on the carbon neutral path of 2053 by protecting forests, wetlands and catchments.”