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“The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene” The UNDP’s 2020 Human Development Report was announced in cooperation with UNDP, TEPAV, Habitat Association, and INGEV.
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19/12/2020 - Viewed 475 times



The United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Human Development Report is published every year since 1990. This year’s 2020 portion on Turkey was announced at an event in partnership with UNDP, TEPAV, the Habitat Association, and the Human Development Foundation (INGEV) on Wednesday, December 16th, 2020. The event was organized virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of the prominent headings of the report, the title of “The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene” was presented to the public with participants’ evaluations and questions from the audience.

Opening remarks were made by the Ambassador of Sweden Staffan Herrstro, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Alvaro Rodriguez, UNDP Regional Office for Europe and Deputy Director of the Commonwealth of Independent States Mirjana Spoljaric-Egger, and the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of the Republic of Turkey Akif Ozkaldi. Evaluating the findings of the 2020 report and the current developments, the speakers emphasized the opportunities and challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic for humanity and the importance of developing policies in harmony with nature.

UNDP’s Turkey representative, Claudio Tomasi, drawing attention to the problems created in the world due to various consumption habits and natural disasters, explained in detail the Human Development Report’s (2020) climate crisis findings alongside the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. In particular, he stated that countries with high human development have high rates of world resources consumption, this should be labelled as anthropocene (human age). Providing information about the necessary revisions presented by the 2020 report to prevent the high consumption of natural resources, Tomasi shared the roles that the international community should undertake for the common goal of expanding human development and reducing planetary pressures under three main headings: 1- Social norms and values, 2- Incentives and regulations, and 3- Nature-based solutions. Underlining that the high level of human development ranking that Turkey gained in the 2019 Human Development Report continued for this year as well, Tomasi recalled that nowhere in the world so far has high human development alongside low planetary pressure. He added that a global study is needed again for new sanctions and regulations in order to reduce planetary pressures.

According to the 2020 Human Development Report, Turkey ranks in at 54 out of the 189 countries considered in terms of High Human Development. While showing appreciation for Turkey’s performance, Tomasi also touched upon the gender equality steps that needs to be taken by Turkey. He stated that human development level measurements are made with a holistic approach. After the presentation a shared video of UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors were shown, the event continued with two panel discussions titled Human Development in the Human Age (Anthropocene) and What is it for us?

In the first panel, Human Development in the Antropocene, Middle East Technical University (METU) Ecosystem Application and Research Center President Prof. Dr. Meryem Beklioglu, and Director of the Center and Policy Studies at Bogazici University, Professor Prof. Dr. Levent Kurnaz, spoke about the biodiversity in the world showing a decreasing trend and the measures that should be taken.  The experts deducted that Turkey’s most critical problems were the depletion of water resources and air pollution. Where urbanization is increasing rapidly, the excessive use of land and water will bring ecosystem and biodiversity problems in the future.

In the second panel "What is it for us?", private sector and non-governmental representatives, who are experts in their fields, made evaluations on the Human Development Report (2020) and discussed the roles of their sectors in reducing the planetary pressure. The speakers reminded once again the necessity of an international and collective effort within the scope of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ebru Dildar Edin, the Chairwoman of Business World and Sustainable Development Association (SKD Turkey), stated that the climate crisis is becoming more visible during the pandemic processes, highlighting that public and private sector cooperation will gain more importance in order to make human development sustainable. Dildar noted the importance of incentives and regulations for the business world announced in the 2020 report and referred to Turkey’s Circular Economy and Business Plastics Initiative as an example of the private sector taking action.

TEPAV’s Managing Director Guven Sak stated that new areas for global change have opened at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak and reminded that the need for a green transformation policy in the Turkish economy is now on the agenda in coordination with the growth agenda that Europe has built on the Green Deal. While considering green transformation policy as a growth program compatible with new technologies, as a first step Turkey would need to indicate approving the Treaty of Paris. Sak stated that along the lines of the 2020 Human Development Report in reducing carbon emissions in Turkey, TEPAV was conducting studies on its consequences, paying lip service to the vast digitalization mania taking place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The participation of women in economic activities should be encouraged, Turkey can catch up with digitalization by drawing attention to gender equality. Currently, the gender ratio of all female entrepreneurs in Turkey being 9% is at a low level, nevertheless in digital marketing and sales platforms this figure rises to 25%. He added that it would be beneficial to focus on how digital platforms should be used to increase women’s employment and entrepreneurship.

Additionally, Guven Sak emphasized that the focus should be on which new technology and how to change existing industrial practices in order to reduce cardon emissions. Underlining the need to work to replace growth and lost employment during the pandemic process, Sak also stated that in addition to personal responsibilities, the public should also take steps regarding energy transformation and efficiency in order to protect the world from carbon emissions.

Stressing that as a non-governmental actor taking action tomorrow is already too late to act, the Habitat Association Chairman Sezai Hazir stated that the pandemic has created a change in society’s perception of the climate crisis. Stating that long-term sustainable changes and transformations can be achieved through quality education for younger generations, Hazir stated that at this point, it would be effective to expand the global and social cooperation networks by increasing the competencies of young people with new education models.

Human Development Foundation’s (INGEV) President, Vural Cakir, stated that they are working to include district municipalities and metropolitan municipalities in the index in order to support human development. Furthermore, Cakir emphasized the importance of working together with the civil society and that it is necessary to progress with non-political and quality studies for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The concept of having a good life being paired with consumption should be redefined. The pandemic process actually makes a nice contribution to our lives by showing people that a good life is not about consuming.


To watch the event click here.

To download the 2020 Human Development Report click here.


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