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Cablegate: Turkey: Environmental Highlights, April 2003

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 002853

SIPDIS


STATE FOR EUR/SE, EUR/PCI, OES/PCI, OES/ETC, OES/SAT
PLEASE PASS USDA/FOREST SERVICE, EPA/OIA
ALSO FOR USAID/EE/EEST (CMITCHELL)


E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV TBIO TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: ENVIRONMENTAL HIGHLIGHTS, APRIL 2003


REF: ANKARA 2287


(U) This is one of a series of cables providing updates on
environmental issues in Turkey. Below are topics covered in
this cable:


1. Update on merger of Environment and Forest ministries
2. Turkish scientists receive satellite data
3. Broad-based committee sets S&T priorities
4. Water basin management in Turkey
5. Lessons learned from water user associations
6. The chatter on WWF-Turkey
7. Ankara lawyers mark Earth Day
8. Turkey updates its flora database


--------------------------------------------- --
1. THE LATEST ON THE MERGER OF MINISTRIES. On 5/1,
Parliament began consideration of a proposal to merge the
Ministry of Environment (MOE) into the Ministry of Forestry
(MOF). The MOE expects Parliament's expeditious approval.
By one estimate, the merger would take place within two
weeks. With a merger expected to displace the current
Environment Minister Kursad Tuzman, MOE Undersecretary Hasan
Sarikaya may represent the MOE at the Kiev Environment for
Europe Ministerial.


2. SCIENTISTS TAPS INTO DATA FROM TWO SATELLITES. Following
an agreement between the Scientific and Technical Research
Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and the European Space Agency
(ESA), ESA satellite data became available to Turkish
scientists in April. The data from two satellites -- ERS
and ENVISAT -- will be used for geological, seismological
and archeological studies; monitoring pollution, environment
and land use; and scientific preparation for the Global
Monitoring of Environment and Security.


3. BROAD-BASED COMMITTEE SETS S&T PRIORITIES. The 65-person
Steering Committee of TUBITAK's "Vision 2023," the strategic
document that will define S&T goals and priorities for the
country's second hundred years, recently determined that
priority S&T polices and practices will focus on increasing
Turkey's competitiveness in the global market, developing
S&T and innovation talent, promoting environmental
sensitivity and energy efficiency, and improving quality of
life.


4. TURKEY CRITIQUES ITS OWN WATER BASIN MANAGEMENT. At a
workshop organized by the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization on land and water resource management,
representatives from government, international and NGO
organizations took a hard look at Turkey's water basin
management. Ismail Kucukkaya from the Ministry of Forestry
said that Turkey lacks effective strategies for following a
water basin approach to management. Water basins have
insufficient infrastructure and poor income generation
options for basin villagers, he said. Nermin Egeli from the
General Directorate of Rural Services urged Turkey to update
its basin land utilization plans and to establish protective
zones, technical protection teams, disaster assistance
teams, and monitoring plans.


5. LESSONS LEARNED FROM GAP WATER USER ASSOCIATIONS. In
1991, the State Hydraulics Works (DSI) transferred 1,270,000
ha of irrigated land (75 percent of Turkey's total irrigated
land) to irrigation associations, water user groups and
municipalities in the Southeastern Turkey Development
Project (GAP) region in order to develop a model irrigation
system. According to the GAP's Gonca Karaca, the project
met with success in terms of providing modern irrigation
techniques but lacked landowner involvement in project
design, appropriately based water pricing (which she says
should be based on volume, not acreage) and sufficient
training for irrigation managers. Ferayi Aslan, mayor of
Adala in the GAP region, noted that the biggest problem of
the 340 irrigation associations is inappropriate water
pricing which discourages conservation.


6. WWF-TURKEY: CLOSER TO MERGER WITH LOCAL AFFILIATE. Since
WWF-Turkey began its affiliation with DHKD (Foundation for
the Protection of Nature) in 1975, the two have tested the
waters of their relationship. In 2001, DHKD officially
became the national arm of WWF International but it
continued to use its highly recognizable DHKD logo as well
as that of WWF-Turkey. Recently, DHKD members voiced
concern that the merger would foster a negative public
reaction to what will appear to be a non-Turkish
organization using an unfamiliar name ("WWF"). However, DHKD
board support for the merger remains firm. About 90 percent
of WWF-Turkey/DHKD's projects are already administered under
the WWF-Turkey name.


Meanwhile, WWF recently began discussing its 2003-2008 plan.
New items on the agenda included a decision to press the GOT
to designate additional "specially protected areas" and
develop a strategy to protect those lands. WWF-Turkey also
discussed the possibility of proposing that Ramsar establish
a six-country Black Sea wetlands initiative, "BlackWet."


7. ANKARA LAWYERS NOTE EARTH DAY. In a seminar on
"Environment, Man and War," several speakers noted that 35
percent of the world's environmental problems come from
weapons testing and military exercises and operations. The
program was sponsored by the Ankara Bar Association, the
Chamber of Environmental Engineers, the Turkish Human Rights
Protection Association (TIHAK), and the Turkish Foundation
for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and for the
Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA).


8. TURKEY UPDATES ITS FLORA DATABASE. TUBITAK is updating
TUBIVES, its database of national flora and vegetation. The
project is part of a biodiversity project aimed at
accounting for all living organisms in the country. TUBITAK,
the State Planning Office and Izzet Baysal University are
sponsoring the project.


PEARSON

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