Turkish first lady chairs UN Zero Waste Advisory Board meeting

Turkish first lady chairs UN Zero Waste Advisory Board meeting

We have to promote a lifestyle that reduces waste, says Emine Erdogan

By Kemal Karadag

ANKARA (AA) – Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan on Thursday chaired the first meeting of the UN Zero Waste Advisory Board.

Drawing attention to the fact that the planet's self-repair time is getting longer, Erdogan said that removing waste outside a country's borders does not eliminate the problem.

It is only possible to repair the system with joint effort, she said, adding that Ankara has done that with its Zero Waste Project.

“Our recovery rate, which was 13% five years ago, reached 27.2% in a short time and 30% in 2022,” she said. “Our goal is to reach 65% by 2035.”

“With these gains, we have protected a land the size of 2,000 football fields. We have protected our water equivalent to the water needs of more than 2 million families for a year.

“We have provided energy savings equivalent to the energy needs of more than 200,000 families for a year. At the same time, we have offered new employment opportunities to thousands of our citizens,” she underlined.

Stating that the climate crisis does not recognize any borders, Erdogan said Ankara is willing to share its experiences with others.

- Raising global awareness

She recalled that the Global Zero Waste Goodwill Declaration, which constitutes the first step toward the institutionalization of the "Zero Waste" goal at the global level, was opened for signature with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in September last year.

Recalling that the resolution on Zero Waste submitted by Türkiye to the UN General Assembly was unanimously adopted, she said that due to the resolution, the date of March 30 is a day dedicated to the Zero Waste movement.

“As another result of the decision, the Zero Waste High-Level Personalities Advisory Board, which is the reason why we are meeting here today, has also been established,” she said.

“In cooperation with the UN Environment Programme and UN-Habitat, we aim to increase awareness at the global level by disseminating the best practices and success stories on zero waste.”

- Global Zero Waste Awards

There should be a ceremony called Global Zero Waste Awards on March 30 every year, Erdogan suggested, adding: “To strengthen the enthusiasm for March 30, we should also put the announcement of the Zero Waste Year on our agenda.”

“While spreading the practices, we should also strengthen the supporting international and local legal infrastructures,” she said.

Mentioning that the Zero Waste decisions have to be applied by the UN member countries, she said that it is of vital importance that these decisions should be put into practice especially by individuals.

“We should take the principle of not polluting rather than cleaning, and we should promote a lifestyle that does not produce waste all over the world,” she said.

“We should strengthen our cooperation with the UN and its affiliated organizations, as well as regional organizations such as the EU, the Turkic Council, and the African Union,” she concluded.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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