On June 9, 2021, the World Bank approved $135 million for a major resilience and landscape restoration project in Turkey to protect 90,000 poor and vulnerable people, half of whom are women, against natural and climate-induced hazards and to help revitalize their economic opportunities.
“The World Bank is pleased to support sustainable economic development in and around Turkey’s river basins,” said Auguste Kouame, World Bank Country Director for Turkey. “Combating land degradation and building resilient infrastructure in some of the poorest and most vulnerable rural communities in river basins will play an important role in the country’s green, resilient and inclusive recovery from the pandemic and enhance resilience to future shocks.”
The Turkey Resilient Landscape Integration Project (TULIP) is aimed at improving livelihoods and resilient infrastructure services for rural communities in the Bolaman River Basin, located in the eastern Black Sea Region, and Cekerek River Basin in central Anatolia Region.
Both basins are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, including seasonal floods and droughts, soil erosion, and landslides.
The regions are also marked by high poverty rates, low agricultural productivity, inadequate infrastructure (including for water storage, treatment and irrigation), natural resource degradation, limited road connectivity, and loss of human capital due to outward migration. Although it was planned before the COVID-19 pandemic, the TULIP project will contribute to rural communities’ recovery from the economic impacts of the pandemic.
Funding from the World Bank will provide for an integrated approach that will create shovel-ready jobs and diversify livelihood opportunities while building climate and disaster resilience and setting the foundations for sustainable land management.
The 90,000 direct beneficiaries of the project are the local populations in the Bolaman and Cekerek river basins. They will benefit from increased access to resilient infrastructure for flood protection, drinking water storage, irrigation supply for agricultural production, and improved road conditions to facilitate mobility and market access.
Another 13,000 poor households in forest village communities, who depend on pastures and forest resources, will benefit from green infrastructure and livelihood diversification activities; and an additional 20,000 farmers will benefit from technical support for adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and assets for agricultural diversification activities.
Notably, the project will increase women’s participation in and access to income-earning opportunities and enable their ownership and control of productive assets by providing technical and financial support to women-owned or led enterprises.
“The positive environmental, economic and social impacts of the project are expected to be significant, given the focus on strengthening the resilience of landscapes and livelihoods in the two river basins with a focus on Nature-Based Solutions,” said Stavros Papageorgiou, one of the two World Bank Team Leaders for the project.
In addition to the two river basins, the project will support the development of a national strategy for landscape resilience, climate adaptation activities and sustainable recovery for vulnerable rural areas. It will also develop a replicable model for integrated national resources management that can be applied in other vulnerable rural areas and build capacity at national and sub-national levels for applying this integrated model for landscape management.
“We hope the integrated approach this project takes will lay the foundations for a national program for landscape resilience in other river basins in lagging regions,” said Canan Yildiz, the other World Bank Team Leader for the project.
The World Bank has a history of supporting watershed management in Turkey, with two projects implemented earlier, namely the Eastern Anatolia Watershed Rehabilitation Project (1993-2001) and Anatolia Watershed Rehabilitation Project (2004-2012).
The World Bank also provided support for the country’s National Basin Management Strategy (2012), which guides medium and long-term investment programs related to the protection, improvement and sustainable use of natural resources in the country’s 25 river basins.
Photo of Bolaman River courtesy of the World Bank.