Türkiye’nin Canı Yanmasın (Turkey's Life: Fire Management Grant Program) to fight forest fires in collaboration with WWF-Turkey and Garanti BBVA.
Garanti BBVA is committed to combating the climate crisis and promoting a sustainable world by supporting WWF-Turkey's (World Wildlife Fund for Nature) Turkey's Life: Fire Management Grant Program. Legal entities such as local associations, foundations, cooperatives and village mukhtars that meet the eligibility criteria and are capable of developing and implementing projects can benefit from the program, which aims to implement forest fire projects through the agency of local civil society by offering financial and technical support.
According to official data, an average of 2-3 thousand forest fires break out in Turkey every year, burning or damaging 7-8 thousand hectares of land, equivalent to 11 thousand soccer fields in size. Last year, more than 250 forest fires broke out in 54 cities between July 28 and August 12, damaging about 150 thousand hectares of land. Forest fires, increasing in number, severity and magnitude due to climate change, occurred simultaneously in all Mediterranean countries. Our country experienced the unspeakable grief of the loss of tens of thousands of living creatures and forests, which represent a unique value, in these fires. The direct economic damage, excluding ecosystem services, is estimated at several billion TRY. While climate change projections show the possibility of large fires in 2022 and beyond, we are in for a long and dry summer with heat waves.
WWF-Turkey successfully completed its Türkiye’nin Canı (Turkey’s Life Grant Program) program, which aims to support biodiversity conservation initiatives of local civil society organizations, in four stages (2012, 2014, 2017, 2019). The fifth stage, supported by Garanti BBVA, will focus on forest fires and their causes and consequences. Turkey's Life: Fire Management Grant Program, launched to reduce the risk of wildfires causing great damage to nature and people, and to be better prepared for possible fires, will support local organizations in preventive and remedial actions before, during and after wildfires.
Projects may include activities in three areas to qualify for a grant. These include preventive works and preparations before the fire, effective participation in firefighting works and disaster management during the fire, and restoration of natural/ecological damages and improvement of socio-economic damages after the fire. The projects, which can be implemented in all forest fire-prone regions of Turkey, must be no shorter than 6 months and no longer than 24 months. Under the program, the support per project is a minimum of TRY 50,000 and a maximum of TRY 500,000. On top of the grant to be given, co-financing of at least 10% of the total budget of the project is required from the project owner or partner. The contribution may be in cash or in kind, provided that the relevant costs such as general administrative expenses, staff salaries, rent, materials, etc. are covered in connection with the project. Applications for the grant program can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org between June 1, 2022 and December 31, 2023.
Commenting on the issue, Garanti BBVA's General Manager Recep Baştuğ said, "The climate crisis is gradually evolving into a dimension that seems more and more incommensurable. That's why it's no longer time to talk and discuss sustainability, but to act. At Garanti BBVA, we have been on the "action side" for more than 16 years. We are pioneering the transformation of our business world by breaking many new ground in Turkey and around the world. Last year, we participated in the nationwide effort by donating 1 million seedlings to help regenerate burnt areas. However, the most important thing is not launching campaigns after forests burn, but organizing what needs to be done preemptively to stop forest fires. Therefore, in order to protect our forests, our natural wealth, we are launching the " Turkey's Life: Fire Management Grant Program " in collaboration with WWF Turkey, which has been with us for 30 years. Our goal is to protect our forests against fires, to be better prepared against forest fires and raise and awareness. Local initiatives such as associations, foundations, cooperatives, and mukhtars play a critical role in regions prone to wildfires. We believe that using the support provided under this program, civic initiatives can act much more effectively in their own regions before, during and after a fire. We are very pleased to be collaborating with WWF-Turkey in this meaningful project. We will continue to engage where needed to protect our oceans, forests and our future, and take responsibility for a sustainable world."
Nafiz Karadere, Chairman of the Board of WWF-Turkey, said, "The large forest fires that occurred in our country last summer unfortunately revealed the potential impacts of climate change in a heart-rendering way. The "red helicopter" that we mobilized with the permission of our Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry participated in the firefighting efforts of our General Directorate of Forestry, working 57 hours in 7 days and contributing to the protection of hundreds of hectares of forest. In those difficult days, we have shown that the protection of our forests is only "possible together". With this grant program that we initiated to reduce the risk of destructive forest fires like last year, which had a great impact on our nature and people, and to be better prepared for possible fires and heal possible wounds, we want to mobilize the local civil potential and contribute to the action plan adopted at the national workshop organized by the Head Department of Forestry with support from national stakeholders, after the great fires of last year. Just as important as the firefighting work are the preventive measures that must be taken before fires and reforestation efforts work that must follow. That's why the grant program, which runs throughout the year until the end of 2023, allows applications to be submitted at any time if needed, which can then be quickly assessed to be put into action."
For more detailed information on the application process for the “Turkey's Life: Fire Management Grant Program”, please check the Application Guide, which can be downloaded HERE.
The report Ecological and Socio-economic Impacts of Large Forest Fires in the Mediterranean, prepared by WWF-Turkey in collaboration with a group of scientists from Natura Doğa and Culture Conservation Association following the historic forest fires raging through our country in the summer of 2021, can be downloaded here.
Detailed information about the Turkey's Life: Fire Management Grant Program: https://www.turkiyenincani.org/"