Turkey country profile - SDGs and the environment

Briefing Published 02 Dec 2020 Last modified 02 Dec 2020
Turkey takes a holistic approach to SDG action, integrating them into NDPs and sectoral strategies. Therefore, the country pays due attention to considering the interlinkages between the SDGs, as well as to prioritising action for faster progress and to allocating the appropriate resources (Government of Turkey, 2019).

Turkey’s actions towards SDGs with an environmental dimension focus primarily on SDGs 2, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.

As regards SDGs with an environmental dimension, Turkey`s SDG actions focus primarily on preserving genetic resources and biodiversity (SDGs 2, 15); sustainable and climate-adapted agricultural production methods and technologies (SDG 2); ensuring sustainable water management which strikes a balance between nature conservation and resource development (SDG 6); energy efficiency in transport, buildings and industries (SDG 7); encouraging ‘zero waste’ at the industrial scale (SDGs 9, 12); promoting bioplastic and eco-labelling (SDG 9); raising awareness of consumers and producers on sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12); ensuring GHG emission control through new technologies (SDGs 9, 13); climate adaptation (SDG 13); preventing and reducing marine litter (SDG 14); maximizing the use of aquaculture resources in marine and inland waters, improving the protection of aquaculture stocks and aquaculture development (SDG 14); holistic planning and management of the terrestrial ecosystem, promoting high value-added forest ecosystems, developing holistic policies on gene, species, habitat, ecosystems, and scaling up the conservation and sustainable use of the terrestrial ecosystem (SDG 15) (Government of Turkey, 2019).

Turkey was among the 22 countries that submitted their first VNR to the HLPF in 2016. The VNR process commenced with the highest-level political ownership on the Turkish president’s call to all government entities (Government of Turkey, 2016). 

Turkey`s second VNR, in 2019, focuses on progress towards the SDGs made between 2010-2018. The Presidency of Strategy and Budget, which is also responsible for preparing NDPs, is the national focal point for SDGs and coordinated the 2019 VNR preparations. The VNR process accelerated the steps to address policies from this perspective (Government of Turkey, 2019). 

Turkey established a National Sustainable Development Commission to lead the concerted action by all relevant institutions to achieve the SDGs. The country also focuses on engagement with non-governmental stakeholders and aims to make SDG action a shared responsibility among all relevant stakeholders (UN DESA, 2016). The Turkish Industry and Business Association, Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association, Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation, Business Council for Sustainable Development Turkey and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey were selected as the coordinating institutions to represent the  private sector. Civil society and all the relevant UN agencies are coordinated by the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office to the Republic of Turkey, while the Union of Municipalities of Turkey was appointed as the coordinating institution for local administrations. As a result, a total of 2 962 representatives from government entities, 312 NGOs, 2 000 companies and 50 municipalities were consulted directly on VNR preparations (UN DESA, 2019).

Turkey submitted two VNRs to the UN in 2016 and 2019.

Through the VNR process, the Turkish government developed an online ‘National SDG Best Practices Database’ which will be active throughout the period covering the 2030 Agenda. In the first phase, 400 practices were collected from public and private sectors, academia, NGOs and municipalities, and several of the best examples were included in the VNR (Government of Turkey, 2019).

After the adoption of Agenda 2030, Turkey assigned the responsibility of tracking 218 indicators to relevant institutions. In 2019, the country published its SDG Indicators Set, comprising 83 indicators. While the ratio of indicators produced is higher for SDGs 3, 7, 9, further work is needed for indicators on SDGs 1, 2, 12, 13 and 14 indicators (Government of Turkey, 2019). 

The Turkish Statistical Institute (TURKSTAT) follows up on the international process for determining the global SDG indicators. After the identification of the global SDG indicators list, in 2019, TURKSTAT issued an ‘SDG Indicators Newsletter, 2010-2017’. Turkey plans to prepare its National SDG Review Reports periodically, in line with the Agenda of the UN HLPF. TURKSTAT will take on the central role of tracking progress on Agenda 2030. The country is also working on promoting voluntary stocktaking processes for the private sector (UN DESA, 2016). 


Government of Turkey, 2016, Report on Turkey’s Initial Steps towards the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Ministry of Development, Ankara, Turkey, accessed 21 November 2017.

Government of Turkey, 2019, Turkey’s Sustainable Development Goals, 2nd VNR 2019 Strong ground towards common goals, Government of Turkey, Ankara, Turkey, accessed 25 July 2019.

Sinirlioğlu, F., 2017, Statement by H.E. Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations, United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, Republic of Turkey, accessed 23 November 2017.

UN DESA, 2016, ‘Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform – Documents and Reports’, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, USA, accessed 29 November 2019.


The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.


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