Participated first virtual sustainability interview held by IFC (International Finance Corporation) on solutions to be developed in coronavirus pandemic, global climate change and emergencies that affect public health.
İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Tunç Soyer was the sole participant from Turkey in the interactive platform that assembled government representatives, artists, investors and representatives of non-governmental organizations working on energy, transportation, water, mining, technology and environment around the world.
Speaking in the session “Cities on the forefront of Change”, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer spoke on how İzmir was affected during coronavirus process, the works undertaken in this process and the citizen solidarity they initiated.
We learned a lot from the pandemic
Underlining that, apart from global warming and loss of biodiversity, Covid-19 also has serious threats for sustainable development, Mayor Tunç Soyer said that they learned a lot fom the pandemic and they switched to crisis municipality by rapidly forming decision making, executive and consultative organs. Soyer also underlined that this course of action created great advantages and capabilities in mitigating the impact of the pandemic.
Resistance Action Plan ready for İzmir
"After this pandemic, we became better aware of the need to be prepared to a series of shocks and pressures to protect our city and citizens," said Mayor Soyer and relayed information of their future works: “We developed a detailed Covid-19 Resistant Action Plan. We plan to allocate significant resources for the transformation of our city against potential disasters. We are also working on İzmir Green City Action Plan with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. We need more international cooperation and solidarity to bring these initiatives into action. Only by this, we can achieve global development. İzmir, as the historic port city of the Mediterranean, has been interacting with other cities and people of the world throughout its history. I believe that we have to work together globally for a sustainable, inclusive and rich future.”
Agriculture is our priority
During the Q&A of the interview, Mayor Soyer answered questions of IFC Program Coordinator Alla Morrison. Answering the question “What is the role of the Mayor in creating stronger entrepreneurs in the city?”, Mayor Soyer replied, “Agriculture is important for the economy of our city. Therefore we support and incentivize our agricultural producers. We are by their side during production, marketing and value adding processes. We are in cooperation and solidarity with non-governmental organizations and trade associations in this area. We are trying to get better results by creating synergy, joining forces and make support more efficient.”
My most important job is to be with my citizens
Morrison stated that she followed Mayor Soyer on social media and has seen that the Mayor frequently meets citizens and connects with them during the struggle against coronavirus and asked its significance for Mayor Soyer. Defining municipalities as the institutions closest to public, Soyer said, “people want to see their municipalities and their mayors beside them in bad times. I want to touch them, make them feel that we are there and have the intention to solve their problems. Connecting with citizens, touching them and taking care of them is my most important job. I am trying my best.”
Solidarity is mandatory for success
Responding to Morrison’s question “World is transforming. What does sustainability mean in such times,” Mayor Soyer responded: “In order to succeed against climate change and coronavirus, our only hope is solidarity among all parties to the subject on environment, sharing our experiences and learning from our failures.”
Speaking after Mayor Soyer, Morrison said, “We knew how much you cared for health of your citizens and a sustainable democracy. Now we saw it once more. Strong leadership is an important factor in local administration. We are very happy to work with you.”
During the online interview that took all day, ideas were exchanged on how infrastructure deficiencies can be remedied to create resistance against shocks such as Covid-19 in cities.