Turkish Bureaucracy Welcomes UNDP

Unite2013-12-23 15.24.47d Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) current projects in Turkey can be categorized in three groups: poverty reduction, democratic governance, and environment and sustainable development.

High population growth, rising incomes, and increasing energy consumption are the causes of problems such as water shortages, land degradation, and lack of clean and affordable energy resources in Turkey. UNDP helps Turkey solve these problems by carrying out several projects, and some of these are projects on energy efficiency:

  • Market transformation of energy efficient appliances in Turkey
  • Improving energy efficiency in industry in Turkey
  • Promoting energy efficiency in buildings in Turkey

These projects are financially supported by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Turkish Government, private sector, and NGOs.  The goal is to protect the environment and to encourage sustainable development through better policy-making and capacity-building.

I am an intern at the “Improving Energy Efficiency in Industry” project. This project started in 2010 and it is expected to finish in 2015. The implementing agencies of this project are UNDP and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The executing agency is the General Directorate of Renewable Energy (GDRE) of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.

Project objectives are “to improve the institutional and legislative framework; to improve the capacity of Turkish industry and Energy Efficiency Consultancy companies; to implement and support Energy Audit programs for Large and Medium Enterprises; to introduce the most developed energy management applications and energy efficient technologies; and to improve monitoring, evaluation, sharing and extending information”.

Expected outcomes of the project are:

  • Data Management
  • TS EN ISO 50001
  • Energy Management Units
  • Financial Mechanisms
  • Communication
  • Raising Awareness
  • Trainings
  • Energy Efficiency Consultancy Companies
  • Energy Audit
  • Applications
  • Sustainability

There is a UN House where most of the offices are located and there are also offices for energy efficiency projects in the GDRE building. I usually spend my time in the GDRE building. We work in collaboration with the teams of other energy efficiency projects.

One of my roles here is to support/assist the project administrator in writing and editing some formal documents. Also, I am responsible for translating some of these documents. These documents include reports, Terms of Reference, Job Descriptions, and Minutes of Meetings, justification for contract extensions of experts, and financial mechanisms workshop reports.

So far, I have attended two meetings. One of them was about preparing the meeting programme for the GEF 6 Screening Meeting to identify new energy efficiency projects with relevant stakeholders. Also, the annual plans of the three energy efficiency projects were discussed. The second meeting was specific to the market transformation of energy efficient appliances in Turkey. This meeting was about the capacity building grant which is planned to be given to the universities. The grant is going to be shared between the projects which are chosen. The projects have to be about improving the energy efficiency in electrical appliances. Working teams both from UNDP and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources attended the second meeting to discuss the sections in the booklets which are going to be delivered to the universities. The meeting was held to discuss some details and reach consensus before the booklet was published. I learned a lot from those meetings. One main lesson was the the institutional differences make it really hard to reach consensus. Also, UN and the GDRE have different methodologies and rules. Furthermore, their expectations from the project are different.

Similar obstacles exist for the “Improving Energy Efficiency in Industry” Project. While UNDP focuses on the marginal benefits of the project, the GDRE cares more about the corporate benefits. Although this creates challenges, the GDRE’s approach is necessary to make the achievements of the project sustainable.

It seems that I am going to learn a lot about the bureaucratic procedures in Turkey from this internship. I have already learned a lot about the challenges that policy makers may face. Although the government institutions in Turkey are willing to collaborate with international institutions, organizational differences create challenges for both sides. However, project teams consist of really experienced and creative people who can feel the tension between two institutions and take steps which can meet the demands of both sides.

About Ceyda Durmaz