SUMP/SKUP Türkiye starts strong with kick-off event in Ankara
The SUMP/SKUP Türkiye project kicks off! The official launch of the EU Support for Sustainable Urban Mobility in Cities (SUMP/SKUP Türkiye) was held in Ankara on 1 February 2023. Hosted by the Union of Municipalities of Türkiye, the event was a huge success, attended by key representatives from local, regional and national Turkish authorities, and featuring several partners from the project, including POLIS.
The official launch of the EU Support for Sustainable Urban Mobility in Cities project (also referred to as SUMP/SKUP Türkiye), which aims to elevate EU sustainable urban mobility practices and boost the roll-out of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans across Türkiye, was hosted in Ankara by the Union of Municipalities of Turkey (TBB) on 1 February 2023.
The event saw opening speeches from project representatives, including:
- Fatma Şahin, TBB President and Mayor of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality;
- Bülent Özcan, Director General for Financial Cooperation and Project Implementation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate for EU Affairs;
- Burak Aykan, Director General for European Union (EU) and External Relations of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MoTI);
- Angel Gutierrez Hidalgo, First Undersecretary and Head of the Economic and Social Development Department of the EU Delegation to Türkiye;
- Hayri Baraçlı, Head of EU Investments Department / Dr Tijen İğci, IPA Director;
- Dr Nazan Koçak Rye, Team Leader of the SKUP Türkiye Project;
- and our very own Secretary General Karen Vancluysen.
Mayor Şahin emphasised the importance of turning Türkiye's economy into one that is green and sustainable, in order to make clean mobility a reality in the country. Şahin also underlined the importance of cooperation, stating that it is impossible to reach this alone, touching on issues such as zero emissions, zero waste, and the fight against climate change.
Angel Gutierrez Hidalgo in turn talked about the importance of utilising studies aiming at zero emissions, explaining the negative effects of traffic jams and traffic accidents on the environment, economy, security and human life.
Another topic that was raised in regard to the project was the financial aspect: Bülent Özcan said that IPA resources are being used for the preparation of sustainable urban mobility policiesin many metropolitan cities in Türkiye, and that the capacities of municipalities will be further strengthened within the scope of the SKUP Project. Özcan also stated that they will also communicate with municipalities from around the world working in the field.
POLIS Secretary General Karen Vancluysen talked about European policy frameworks, the future of urban mobility in European cities and the importance of SUMPs for making mobility in our cities more sustainable, while Nazan Koçak, as the project’s team leader presented the activities ahead.
Discussing 'sustainable urban mobility'
The second part of the event continued with the panel titled 'Sustainable Urban Mobility in Türkiye' to discuss the next steps needed to spur the transition to clean urban transport in Türkiye. Moderated by TBB Project and Finance Unit Manager Cemal Baş, panellists included:
- Dr. Wolfgang Backhaus, SKUP Türkiye Project Director
- Göktuğ Kara, EU Delegation to Turkey, Transport Policy and Climate Change Team Coordinator
- Karen Vancluysen, POLIS Network Secretary General
- Şevket Altuğ Taşdemir, ILBANK International Relations Department Head.
Various topics were explored relating to the effective implementation of SUMPs. Karen Vancluysen mentioned the need for innovation to be more policy responsive: as evolving technologies are increasingly becoming the norm in mobility, it becomes essential to regulate them properly if they are to reinforce government policy measures. Indeed, it becomes imperative to consider innovation and technology as means to achieving sustainable urban mobility rather than the ends in themselves.
Dr. Wolfgang Backhaus also emphasised the significance of data, stating that cities must develop the skills necessary to capitalise on and effectively utilise such valuable information in order to to implement responsive, user-driven intelligent transportation systems.
The importance of the new EU Urban Mobility Framework was also discussed by the panellists, along with the need to pick up on the priorities defined by the approach, such as promoting active mobility modes like walking and cycling, protecting vulnerable road users through quality infrastructure, making urban transport more resilient, among others.
Click here to read the full press release of the event.