On September 18th at European Mobility Week, WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities and partners launched “Kavşak,” a first-of-its-kind multi-sectoral network established to improve sustainable urban transport in Turkey.

The Kavşak network will convene institutions and organizations working in urban transport across the public and private sectors, academia, media and especially NGOs. In bringing together these diverse perspectives, the network aims to generate collaborative solutions for sustainable, safe and equitable transport in Turkey’s cities and develop national policy recommendations. The network will work in particular to enhance dialogue and build capacity among public and private stakeholders in the sector, and to ensure the participation of grassroots organizations representing vulnerable groups typically overlooked in transport policymaking, including small cycling organizations and residents with disabilities.

During the four-year project, WRI and Kavşak partners will select three projects for micro-grants in three different cities to develop and implement innovative transport solutions for local needs. Other key project activities will include information and networking days, regional stakeholder dialogue workshops and study visits to Belgium and Barcelona for network members to learn from both international organizations and each other about how to improve sustainable urban transport policy.

These activities will help develop and gather input from network stakeholders to contribute to Turkey’s first Sustainable Urban Transport Action Plan, to be developed by the Kavşak consortium and presented in the project’s final year to the national government. The plan will include lessons learned from the project’s activities and recommendations for national transport policy to improve sustainability, accessibility and inclusion.

The Kavşak network is coordinated by WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities in partnership with Active Living Association, UCLG-MEWA (United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Section), UITP (International Association of Public Transport) and YADA Foundation. It is part of the Sustainable Urban Transport Network Turkey Project within the scope of the Civil Society Facility and Media Program supported by the European Union.

“Sustainable transport is an important dynamic of our living spaces,” said Güneş Cansız, Director of WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities. “In particular, the COVID-19 process showed how important it is to build our common future together. Kavşak will work to adopt a sustainable transport approach, to participate in policy development processes and to implement practices on a national scale.”

“We aim to strengthen the technical, administrative and financial capacities of the member institutions of the network to become an important stakeholder of the policies and actions related to sustainable urban transport, to develop inter-sectoral dialogue and strategic cooperation, and to develop good practices and models at the local level,” said Meltem Bayraktar, Project Coordinator and Urban Efficiency & Climate Manager for WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities. “We also want to ensure that the public and private sectors better understand the point of view of civil society and encourage national and international cooperation.”

Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, Head of the European Union Delegation to Turkey, which supports the Kavşak network, said the dissemination of equitable, accessible, people-oriented, environmental transport practices will be a boon. “We aim to contribute to the development and dissemination of the urban sustainable transport vision through the Kavşak network, which gathers the past experiences and knowledge of institutions and organizations working in different fields, especially civil society organizations. We expect the Kavşak network to play an important role in building civil society that is lacking in the field of transport in a strong way.”

For more information on the project, visit kavsak.net.