• "Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented."

  • "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."

  • "What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”

  • "I can find God in nature, in animals, in birds and the environment."

  • "We won't have a society if we destroy the environment."

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Habitat for Humanity Turkey

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Habitat for Humanity Turkey

Country profile
Although we work in nearly 100 countries worldwide, we do not have, at the moment, any active programme in this country.

Housing need

In Turkey, housing is a complex social issue. Thirty years ago, three quarters of the population lived in the countryside and a minority lived in major cities. Now, the situation is reverse. Most villagers who migrated to the cities looking for work could not afford decent housing so they built temporary shelters in the outskirts. These shelters soon became neighborhoods of shacks, with no piped water or electricity. Poverty and crime became main characteristics of these growing urban slums.

Into this environment of substandard housing, which ignored earthquake hazards, came the tragedies of August 1999 tremors and aftershocks. Cheaply built, illegal housing lies at the heart of that earthquake disaster. It explains why so many houses crumbled like packs of cards. Much of the housing in poorer urban areas was substandard. It was constructed from mud brick and was unable to withstand the impact of a strong tremor.

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WORLD URBAN FORUM 5: The Right to the City-Bridging the Urban Divide

In the space of a few short years, the World Urban Forum has turned into the world's premier conference on cities. The Forum was established by the United Nations to examine one of the most pressing problems facing the world today: rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies.

Since the first meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in 2002, the Forum has grown in size and stature as it travelled to Barcelona in 2004, Vancouver 2006, and Nanjing in 2008.

With half of humanity already living in towns and cities, it is projected that in the next 50 years, two-thirds of us will be living in towns and cities. A major challenge is to minimize burgeoning poverty in cities, improve access of the urban poor to basic facilities such as shelter, clean water and sanitation and to achieve environmentally friendly, sustainable urban growth and development.

UN-HABITAT and the Government of Brazil have started preparations for the fifth session scheduled in Rio de Janeiro 22 - 26 March 2010. The Forum is one of the most open and inclusive gatherings of its kind on the international stage. It brings together government leaders, ministers, mayors, diplomats, members of national, regional and international associations of local governments, non-governmental and community organizations, professionals, academics, grassroots women's organizations, youth and slum dwellers groups as partners working for better cities. The fifth session in Rio builds on the lessons and successes of the previous four events.

"Brazil, like other countries in the world, became essentially urban during the twentieth century. Today, in Brazil, but also throughout the world, we need to rethink and renegotiate the fundamental bases of the city we want," said Marcos Caramuru de Paiva, the Brazilian Consul General in Shanghai. Speaking to delegates in Nanjing, he added: "Our home planet is only one, we change addresses but consume the same globalized products, we travel the same way, we use the same natural resources and we develop together."

The theme for Rio 2010, The right to the City - “ bridging the urban divide is in harmony with UN-HABITAT's flagship report, State of the World's Cities 2010-2011.

TURKISH Prime Minister, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is winner of the inaugural Rafik Hariri-UN-HABITAT Memorial Award

Rafik Hariri

The late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

TURKISH Prime Minister, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan

A seven member international jury found Mr. Erdogan deserving of the award because of his “excellent   achievement and commendable conduct in the area of leadership, statesmanship and good governance”.

Announcing this in Nairobi today, the chairperson of the jury, former UN Under Secretary General, Ms   Mervat Tallawy said the jury was unanimous in recognizing Mr. Erdogan’s outstanding achievements   during his tenure as Mayor of Istanbul between 1994 and 1997.

“It was under his steady leadership and stewardship as host of the second UN Conference on Human   Settlements, Habitat II, during which the habitat agenda was passed, with the noble goals of adequate   shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world,” she said.

UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka said Mr. Erdogan embodied leadership, statesmanship and good governance, adding that he had contributed immensely to the Habitat agenda especially through hosting the Istanbul conference referred to as Habitat II.

“He initiated the first roundtable of mayors during the Istanbul conference, which led to a global, organized movement of mayors,” she said.

The US$200,000 Memorial Award was established as a joint effort with UN-HABITAT to commemorate the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s achievements and dedication to the reconstruction of a Lebanon torn by war. It is meant to recognize outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the development of human settlements consistent with the vision and achievements of the late Prime Minister.

The inaugural award ceremony shall be held during the 5th Session of the World Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil later this month.

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