IMM President Ekrem İmamoğlu's contacts at the “Climate Summit” held in Glasgow began. Participating in the panel titled 'Race to Zero' for the first time, İmamoğlu gave examples of Istanbul's efforts to become a climate-crisis and earthquake-resistant city. “We consider making Istanbul, Europe's largest city, earthquake resistant, vital not only for the future of Istanbul and Turkey, but also for the entire continent. Saying that there is a need for global solidarity in this matter, İmamoğlu held separate bilateral meetings with UN Secretary General António Guterres and London Mayor Sadık Khan after the panel.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) President Ekrem İmamoğluwent to Glasgow to attend the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), held in Scotland. İmamoğlu participated in the first panel titled “Race to Zero” organized by the C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40 Cities) in Glasgow. The participants of the panel moderated by World Green Building Council CEO Cristina Gamboa were Romeu Zema, the Governor of Brazil Minas Gerais, and Elizabeth Chege, President of the World Green Building Council Africa Regional Network, together with İmamoğlu.
“CITIES ARE BOTH PERSON AND VICTIM IN THE PROBLEM OF CLIMATE CHANGE”
Emphasizing that Istanbul is the only C40 member city in Turkey in his speech at the panel, İmamoğlu said, “We live in a world order where cities are both perpetrators and victims of the climate change problem.” Pointing out that a very large proportion of the world's population lives in cities, İmamoğlu said, "In this process, as IMM, we consider making our city much safer for our citizens as a priority task." Pointing out that Istanbul is one of the unique cities of the planet we live on, İmamoğlu said, “But Istanbul is also located in one of the locations with the highest earthquake risk in the world. Istanbul, the largest city in Europe with a population of 16 million, is geopolitically located at a very strategic point. First of all, half of Turkey's industrial production takes place in and around Istanbul. In addition, direct investments of many countries, especially the European Union and America, are located in Istanbul”.
CLIMATE RESISTANCE WORKS
İmamoğlu summarized the work they have done in 2 years under 3 headings within the scope of disaster preparedness and increasing climate-related urban resilience in Istanbul. These titles; Listing these as "due diligence", "action and mobilization plan" and "increasing physical resilience", İmamoğlu shared the following information:
“With the participation of many experts and scientists, we have taken into account thousands of years of historical data. Experts estimate the probability of an earthquake of 30 or higher magnitude in Istanbul in the next 7 years to be 65 percent. Due to this dangerous possibility, 300.000 risky residences in Istanbul need to be renovated. We have initiated extensive detection studies to identify risky buildings and prepared risk analyzes for earthquakes. According to experts; In the 7,5 magnitude destructive earthquake scenario; 22,6 percent of the buildings in the city will be demolished, 25 million tons of debris will be created, and 30 percent of the roads will be closed. Drinking water and waste water lines and natural gas lines will be damaged. In total, there will be a great economic loss. Because of this dangerous picture, we have urgently decided to develop widespread resilience measures in our city.
With the 'Istanbul Earthquake Workshop', which we held with 2019 participants from 174 institutions and academies in 1.200, we created our actions on a participatory basis and prepared a comprehensive 'Earthquake Mobilization Plan'.”
“KANAL ISTANBUL AGAINST UN'S 'SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT' GOALS”
Saying, “We aim to transform the housing stock at risk into earthquake-resistant and environmentally friendly structures in Istanbul,” İmamoğlu said, “Making Istanbul, the largest city in Europe, earthquake-resistant, not only for the future of Istanbul and Turkey, but also for the whole world. We consider it vital for the continent. There is a need for global solidarity in this regard. With its creative and entrepreneurial capacity, Istanbul is strong enough to pay for all kinds of solidarity. In the meantime, I would like to underline that we consider the Kanal Istanbul project imposed on Istanbul to be the most serious risk for the security of the city, not only in terms of earthquakes, but also in many respects. We see that this project is against the 17 principles of the UN within the scope of 'Sustainable Development' goals. We expect solidarity with all actors around the world, including financial institutions, on this issue.”
GREEN FIELD QUESTION
Three questions were asked to İmamoğlu in the panel. The questions and Imamoglu's answers to the questions were as follows:
How do you develop partnerships for climate action, especially in your work on green spaces?
“Houses are responsible for 14 percent of the carbon footprint in Istanbul. We increase our energy diversity in favor of renewable energies, especially due to the fact that national domestic energy systems depend on fossil fuels. In particular, we are trying to reduce dependence on coal in many areas, especially in public facilities, with our large solar power plant investments. Before taking office, we had summarized our basic vision for Istanbul as 'a fair, creative and green city'. For this reason, we have taken great steps to increase green areas in our city, which has been neglected for many years in terms of green areas. In 2020, we developed a total of 4 million square meters of green space and opened it to the use of Istanbulites. Simultaneously, we brought 10 new life valleys of 15 million square meters to our city. kazanWe started working to get it. We will start to put these areas into service from next year. With tens of life valleys and urban forests, we are developing measures to reduce the heat island effect in the city. After the pandemic, we take care to increase the use of balconies and green spaces. In order to reduce the climate impact in residences, we implement the use of 'grey water', thus reducing water bills and saving water. Green areas will not only improve the quality of life in Istanbul, but will also help reduce the air temperature in the city. It will also help reduce carbon in natural ways.”
“WE ARE JOINING ISTANBUL PEOPLE WITH DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION”
“We will make Istanbul a greener and more livable city with all our means. Since the day we started work, whatever we have been doing in Istanbul, we have been doing to ensure urban justice. Whatever we do, we do it with common sense. We develop and implement short, medium and long-term plans and strategies by gathering all relevant stakeholders at one table. We are building a new generation of local democracy that has never been seen before in Istanbul. Therefore, participation is our most important strength. With democratic participation, we first recruit the people of Istanbul. Likewise, we involve experts, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations in decision-making processes. Similarly, we try to involve the central government in the decision processes. However, perhaps our most important partners in all these matters are youth, women and climate activists. Working with them, we feel much stronger on the road to a fairer and greener city.”
FINANCING CLIMATE RESISTANCE
What kind of investments are needed to finance climate resilience in housing in Istanbul? Where do you think the gaps are?
“Unfortunately, Turkey lacks a holistic housing policy on urbanization and disaster preparedness. This situation causes Istanbul to receive more and more immigration from the country and abroad with each passing day, and the population to rise to uncontrollable points. On the other hand, public authorities have been busy increasing the value of the houses for many years instead of improving the quality of life of the city. When we took office, we changed the housing policy by saying 'Everyone has the right to live well and safely'. Today, KİPTAŞ, the social housing production company of our municipality, produces modern designed and durable residences for low-income Istanbul residents. With the 10 metro lines we are currently constructing at the same time, we aim to reduce carbon emissions on the one hand, and on the other hand, we are developing residential areas with better opportunities in the city periphery by increasing urban mobility. We make the designs together with the people of Istanbul, taking into account their needs and expectations. In addition, with the 'Flood Early Warning System' that we have established in 10 streams in Istanbul, we aim to minimize the losses that may occur as a result of floods and overflows caused by heavy rains.”
“WE ARE FULLY OPEN TO GLOBAL COLLABORATIONS”
“One of the most important disasters that Istanbul faces with the climate crisis is the risk of drought and drought. With these houses, layout, equipment, circulation network, it integrates with the city instead of a closed area separated from the city, and provides everyone with access to green, which is their right with more than 40 percent recreation areas; We offer the city and its citizens convenient, original and safe residences designed with a contemporary architectural language. We are trying to place designs that are compatible with disasters in these houses. Because, in Istanbul, we consider the financial support of low-income people as a priority for efforts to increase earthquake resilience. Since cities and urbanization are an important cause of climate change, we consider it necessary for international institutions and financial institutions to work directly with local governments. We are fully open to global collaborations in order to improve the green transformation and quality of life in Istanbul.”
“WE CONTINUE TO WORK WITH ALL STAKEHOLDERS”
How is the city developing metrics and data to advance climate action in the built and residential environment? What types of data help progress?
“As part of our climate vision, which we call the 'Green Solution', we have undertaken a serious initiative as Istanbul. In our city, we have launched a full climate change campaign. As a monitoring mechanism for the fight against the climate crisis, we have established the 'Directorate of Climate Change' within the body of the 'Department of Environmental Protection' of our municipality. In addition, we have appointed climate officers in our other units to monitor the climate change-related process. We have defined the basic components that will make the climate struggle a part of our corporate culture. We believe that this whole process we are carrying out can be achieved with the young and old, academics and experts, shoulder to shoulder and with a spirit of total mobilization. In line with our green solution vision, we continue to work with all stakeholders, from industrial organizations to civil society, from international financial institutions to country representatives in Istanbul.”
“WE WILL REGULARLY SHARE THE DATA WE GET”
“In addition to these, we are creating a 'Climate Platform' under the umbrella of our 'Vizyon 2050' office within our Istanbul Planning Agency. This platform will be the compass for all the steps we will take towards this goal we have defined. It will be the guarantee of the success, monitoring and sustainability of the process. It is an indispensable and vital issue for our management to protect the climate of Istanbul and to raise the city we live in to a position that can overcome the climate crisis. We will share this process with our citizens of Istanbul in a transparent, understandable and up-to-date manner, and we will carry it out in a participatory manner. We will also regularly share the data we obtain with our international stakeholders, especially with the C40.”
İmamoğlu, after the panel, respectively; He held a roundtable meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and had a bilateral meeting with London Mayor Sadik Khan.