İstanbul Climate Change Action Plan Preparation Project

Istanbul is one of the few global metropolises that maintain the historical texture and character of the city with its strong economy, cultural structure, intensive workforce, industrial and commercial activities, and adapt to the ever-evolving, renewing and changing conditions. One of the long-term goals of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) is to be an accessible city in all senses in line with sustainable principles. To this end, a Climate Change Action Plan has been prepared in order to develop a structure that is resilient to changing climate conditions and that absorbs shocks and stresses sufficiently.

Cities are increasingly playing an important role in terms of climatic risks and opportunities as a result of their increasing popularity and economic significance. Therefore, an important part of necessary solutions for climate change need to come from local governments. As the most crowded city in Turkey and Europe, Istanbul offers great opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in particular. Climate change awareness and the strategies developed to this end are crucial for a successful participatory process, close coordination of actors, long-term will and interest and support to the project. In line with these objectives, the IMM and ISTAÇ work as partners to prepare a Climate Change Action Plan, assess climate risks and opportunities, support stakeholder participation and capacity-building activities and take into consideration climate change adaptation and mitigation options.

Climate action plans include measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, develop financing tools and technologies required for these activities, and measures to adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change. In line with its vision of “ensuring that Istanbul is a prestigious city offering high quality of life”, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has been taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change and to adapt to climate change and to create a “Climate Friendly City”. One of these steps, the “Istanbul Climate Change Action Plan”, is a detailed work that consists of 7 work packages and is prepared with the support of academicians who are experts in their fields.

All of the activities and responsibilities within the scope of the project will be defined in detail.

The greenhouse gas inventory will be dealt primarily due to the international programs and organizations that the IMM has to report to. The inventory will be generated for a specific year. The mitigation studies to be planned can be built on this inventory.

For the harmonization studies to be planned, the climate change risks in the region need to be foreseen. In this respect, a scientific climate scenario study will be conducted. The basic information required for assessing the climate change risk in Istanbul and its surroundings will be collected. Current climate change scenarios built on reliable and up-to-date information will be discussed and prioritized in line with international and national climate policies and project objectives.

Using the data generated in the previous work package, the kind of risks climate change would pose on which key sectors and the quality of the measures to be taken will be discussed. In addition, the opportunities that may arise as a result of changing climatic parameters will be determined and a vulnerability analysis will be carried out. A basic harmonization strategy will be established within the framework of uncertainties and local government practices.

Since the actions and responsibilities to be determined will cover the entire city of Istanbul, the implementation of such mitigation and adaptive actions depends on the active participation of the IMM as well as other key actors. This is why stakeholder participation is essential for emission reduction and adaptation measures. The nature of this participation and what needs to be done in order to establish a functioning structure will be determined and a relevant committee will be established.

A detailed list of all mitigation and adaptation actions that can be taken on a sectoral basis will be generated, relevant ones will be selected and action lists will be prepared. The sectors to be selected will be analyzed in depth and a concrete action plan will be set up for the most appropriate actions, which will include the investment plans of IMM and its subsidiaries.

The findings obtained during the project will be examined and measures will be taken to improve the process. Relevant events will be organized for the effective promotion of IMM’s climate strategy and of the action plans to stakeholders.

The conceptual basis of the project;


  • Istanbul is a city with significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • The majority of Istanbul’s emissions originates from energy services and can be effectively reduced within the scope of the İİDEP.

  • The project has to be easy to implement with adequate support in line with the objectives foreseen in practice.

  • As a tourism, industrial and commercial city and considering the fact that it has got dense population and is a coastal city, Istanbul is open and vulnerable to the possible effects of climate change in terms of infrastructural risks, especially as a result of rapid urbanization.

  • Due to its advantageous geographical location (for ex., no risks such as monsoons and typhoons) climate change can be reasonably managed through proper practices.

  • Infrastructure investments continue and local governments and other actors are strong in terms of planning, human resources and financing.

  • The nature of the ecosystem is vulnerable and under pressure.

  • The current financing instruments available for local governments, municipal affiliates and private sector investments increasingly give priority to environmental issues.

  • Stakeholders are highly motivated to achieve results in areas such as public transport, clean energy and energy efficiency due to high population and high energy costs.

  • The total magnitude of the possible effects of such risks due to Istanbul’s position as an economic and industrial hub is evident.

  • Istanbul is ambitious about becoming a global center of attraction and its vision is to strengthen its position as a leading metropolitan through sustainable and low carbon development.

  • Its potential to create innovative, value-added high economic value with green business opportunities in the city.

  • Increasing knowledge and capacity requirements due to membership and reporting requirements for international programs for sustainable local governance and the commitments already made (UCLG-MEWA, Malatya Metropolitan Municipality, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, 2016).