FAO in Türkiye

FAO-Türkiye Forestry Programme gathers speed with Regional Inception Meeting for FRIENDS Project

Photo: ©FAO

Ankara – As external shocks such as the climate crisis increase pressure on the agri-food system and reduce the resilience of natural resources, the role of forests is becoming more critical than ever.


Forests can play an essential role in mitigating climate change by sequestering millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and alleviating the impacts of extreme weather events. Cognizant of this fact, FAO and Türkiye have developed a project entitled “Forest Restoration Improvement for Environmental Development and Sustainability in Central Asia” (FRIENDS). The initiative aims to develop national capacities to successfully conduct large-scale forest and other wooded land restoration, by enhancing know-how to prevent degradation in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The project began with an Regional Inception Workshop held in Ankara on 22 September, which hosted high-level participants from FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Türkiye (MoAF).


In his opening remarks, Viorel Gutu, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Central Asia and FAO Representative in Türkiye, emphasized that as the first FTFP project to focus on Central Asia, the FRIENDS project will take steps to achieve three of the Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 13 (Climate Action) and SDG 15 (Life on Land).

Following Mr Gutu, İbrahim Yüzer, Deputy Director-General of the General Directorate of Forestry, highlighted efforts MoAF’s to improve forestry in Türkiye and expressed his satisfaction at the ongoing transfer of experience from Türkiye to countries in the subregion. Yüzer also pointed out that activities carried out within the scope of the project would constitute a model for further practices in a wide range of fields.


After the opening remarks, the workshop continued with an introductory session in which Project Manager Adem Bilgin shed light on the objectives and targets of the project and elaborated on how to amplify project outputs. Peter Pechacek, Forestry Officer at FAO Subregional Office for Central Asia, explained the purpose of the workshop and introduced the main concept and approach.


In the following session, national project coordinators of the beneficiary countries briefed participants on their country’s perspectives regarding the project. All participants shared the view that the project will play a useful role in combating desertification in the subregion by helping beneficiary countries to meet national commitments on ecosystem restoration and land degradation. The workshop ended with a discussion session.


The FRIENDS project forms part of the FAO-Türkiye Forestry Partnership Programme (FTFP) and is financially supported by MoAF.


About the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programmes

The objectives of the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programmes are to provide support to ensure food security, rural poverty reduction and sustainable forest management; to combat desertification; and to preserve ecosystems in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and other countries of mutual interest.

Established in 2007, the first phase of the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture (FTPP) has benefited from trust fund contributions totalling USD 10 million, financed by the Government of Türkiye and represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. During the first phase of the programme, 28 projects were implemented in 16 countries between 2009 and 2015.

In 2014, Türkiye and FAO commenced the second phase of the FTPP along with the first phase of the FAO-Türkiye Forestry Partnership Programme (FTFP), with additional funding of USD 20 million, bringing Türkiye’s total contribution to USD 30 million.