On December 1st, 2022, with support from the Japan-World Bank Program for Mainstreaming DRM in Developing Countries and the World Bank, under the Türkiye Urban Resilience Technical Assistance, a seminar was held to present Japanese lessons learned around social inclusion for resilient urban investments to the General Directorate for Infrastructure and Urban Transformation Services (GDIUTS) of Türkiye’s Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change (MoEUCC).
Türkiye faces significant seismic and climate hazard challenges. For example, an estimated 6.7 million residential buildings across the country need to be strengthened against seismic hazards. The Government of Türkiye (GoT) has enacted important regulatory and institutional reforms to reduce the impacts of these hazards on the urban built environment and has made significant investments to support resilient urban transformation (UT). The GoT seeks to take these investments one step further and has started incorporating social inclusion into their UT plans.
Japan also faces significant hazards including densely built areas with high seismic risk. These disasters force cities to restructure to become more resilient. In 1927 the first plans for urban transformation with social inclusion began in Japan. These collective efforts continue today with more tools and experience in incorporating the inclusion of the socially vulnerable, many of which are relevant for Türkiye.
During the virtual seminar, Dr. Kanako Iuchi from the International Research Institution of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University, shared the evolution of the Japanese experience and lessons learned on social inclusion for resilient urban investments, especially for UT. More specifically, Dr. Iuchi shared details on existing laws and policies; application of social inclusion principles in UT projects; identifying eligible people, and the needs of different groups of people, particularly the vulnerable; and measures to reduce or compensate physical, economic, and social impacts on people due to temporarily/permanent displacement; as well as key challenges that hinder effective social inclusion in UT projects.
Most recently, the World Bank supported the GoT in the preparation of a Climate and Disaster Resilient Cities Project (EUR 500 million IBRD, approved by the World Bank’s Board in September 2022) that aims to increase access to seismic and climate resilient housing, municipal infrastructure, and services in selected provinces in Türkiye. The GoT is keen to implement a more participatory and inclusive approach that engages all citizens in the UT investments planned under the new Project.
The Japan-World Bank Program for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management will continue to provide technical assistance to the GoT to help evolve its strategic approach strengthening the resilience of housing and municipal infrastructure while implementing a more inclusive approach to their urban transformation.