The project, funded by the European Union, was designed to prepare, implement, and monitor an action plan to raise awareness for endangered species in Türkiye. Within the scope of the Türkiye Conservation Strategy, a significant series of actions were undertaken to preserve and sustain biodiversity, ensuring the transfer of natural resources to future generations.
Under the coordination of the Ministry of Environment, Urban Planning, and Climate Change, the Directorate-General for EU Affairs and External Relations, and the EU Investments Office, the project titled “Preparation, Implementation, and Monitoring of Action Plans for Endangered Species in Turkey Within a New Methodology,” was implemented by the Directorate-General for Nature Conservation and National Parks of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. A Closing Meeting was held to mark the conclusion of this project.
Associate Professor Hüseyin Bayraktar, Director-General of the Ministry of Environment, Urban Planning, and Climate Change’s Directorate-General for EU Affairs and External Relations, expressed his involvement in numerous biodiversity-related endeavors, concluding his speech with hopes for a world where no species are endangered and all beings live as they deserve.
Virve Vimpari, Head of the Green Development and Inclusive Growth Department at the European Union Delegation to Türkiye, highlighted Türkiye importance in supporting nature conservation. She mentioned the allocation of €15 million to support biodiversity conservation and the expectation of doubling this amount in the next package. Vimpari also emphasized the EU’s goal to preserve and improve at least 30% of endangered habitats and species in the EU by 2030, noting Türkiye crucial role in this effort.
Serdar Öztürk, Deputy Director-General for Financial Cooperation and Project Implementation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ EU Directorate, stated Türkiye significant efforts in enhancing quality of life or supporting sustainable development goals. He reflected on the delight of witnessing Anatolian leopards, once mythological in their university years, and the richness of Turkey, with 490 out of 550 bird species flocking to these lands. This wealth, he emphasized, entails great responsibility.
Project Team Leader Borut Rubinic provided insights into the project, noting its initiation in 2020. Rubinic mentioned the prioritization of 188 species for conservation, involving 500 students in awareness education and 350 staff in stakeholder education. The project successfully completed seven species action plans and five conservation actions. Additionally, the project included three separate study visits to EU countries, the creation of two educational documentaries, and eight short films.
Seyit Ali Kurtuluş, Deputy Director-General of the Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, highlighted the unparalleled shift in human history due to recent disasters and emphasized that climate change is man-made. He emphasized the need for the project’s principles to become a way of life rather than just a project’s conclusion.
Kurtuluş underscored the necessity of protecting endangered species, documenting them, and ensuring their sustainability as a debt to future generations. He pointed out that the world has lost 68% of mammal, bird, reptile, and fish populations in the last fifty years. He emphasized that almost one million species are at risk due to climate change, warning about the direct impact of ecosystem degradation on all life forms and global balance.
Providing brief information about the project, Kurtuluş highlighted different ecosystems’ significance, such as marine algae for oxygen production, soil fertility dependent on worms, pollination reliant on bees, and water quality tied to marshes and swamps. He stressed that the absence of fungi would reduce the world to a colossal organic waste heap.
The “Endangered Species” project, implemented in collaboration between the Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks (DNCP) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the European Union (EU), aimed to protect endangered animals and plants. The project contributed to the preparation of Turkey’s Conservation Strategy and the preparation of Species Action Plans. It focused on prioritizing endangered species, creating a methodology for their conservation, and transferring natural resources for the continuity of biodiversity.
The project, which commenced in August 2020 for the conservation of biodiversity in Turkey, concluded with an official closing program.