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ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.

ICLEI Regional Secretariats and country offices

06 October 2023

Izmir named one of eleven cities worldwide in new program to build community-led resilience


Urban Climate Resilience Program launched to empower Izmir to safeguard against disaster hazards.

IZMIR, TÜRKIYE – 5 October 2023. Izmir has been named among a group of eleven cities in nine countries that will be a part of a new initiative supported by the Z Zurich Foundation under its Urban Climate Resilience Program to strengthen the resilience of the communities in Izmir against climate related disasters, such as flooding and extreme heat. The Izmir Metropolitan Municipality in Türkiye, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Zurich Insurance Group Türkiye and Z Zurich Foundation, will work together to implement the Climate Resilience for Communities Project (Toplumlar için İklim Dayanıklılığı Projesi in Turkish) in Izmir. The first initiative of this type in the country.

The third largest city in Türkiye with 4.4 million inhabitants, Izmir is facing worsening regional climate challenges such as extreme rainfall events and flooding. Türkiye nationally faces high levels of exposure to hazards and has been recognized in the IPCC 2021 report as a global warming hotspot, experiencing rising temperatures, desertification, and rising sea levels.

Mayor of Izmir Municipality Tunç Soyer stated “One thing I’ve learned in life is that small steps are always more sustainable. The key to success in any project is to start this way. I believe that we can move forward and achieve more ambitious goals. Therefore, this starting point is very valuable. Moreover, this project has the potential to become a good model for other local governments and municipalities. Such projects will contribute to urban management practices, and I want to thank our partner for this opportunity. We are pleased to sign this protocol.”

From left to right: Zurich Insurance Group Türkiye CEO and Z Zurich Foundation Member of the Board of Trustees Yılmaz Yıldız; Mayor of Izmir Municipality Tunç Soyer; and ICLEI Director of Global Implementation Sunandan Tiwari

Zurich Insurance Group Türkiye CEO and Z Zurich Foundation Member of the Board of Trustees Yılmaz Yıldız stated: “The Mediterranean Basin and Türkiye are among the regions that will be most affected by climate change in the world. In our Global Risks Reports, we underline every year that climate change and its negative effects are the biggest threat to the world. In addition, secondary effects such as “involuntary migration”, “inability to access clean water” and “food inflation” are also critical. Due to disasters, an average of 300 billion dollars of economic loss occurs worldwide every year, and 2 billion people are affected negatively. We are aware that we can put a stop to this negative trend with the right stakeholders and rational solutions. With this awareness, we are pleased to implement this project in Izmir, one of the cities that will be most affected by climate change. Our long-term vision is to replicate this model in different cities in Türkiye and around the world to create safer, more resilient, and sustainable cities against climate change.”

Leveraging the Z Zurich Foundation’s Climate Resilience Measurement for Communities (CRMC) framework, the project consists of a four-step approach:

  1. Identify and engage with urban communities in need,
  2. Conduct in-depth analysis of each community’s climate-related issues,
  3. Plan, develop, deliver customized solutions,
  4. Capture learning and scale the program.

In consultation with the city government and community members, the program will identify two communities to lead in the co-creation of climate resilience programs and improvements for the city. Collaborative and inclusive methodologies, including baseline assessments and participatory processes, will drive the development of community-based resilience solutions.

ICLEI is proud to stand alongside a city like Izmir, that is so proactive and committed to secure a sustainable and resilient future for residents. Working hand in hand with local authorities and communities, we aim to empower vulnerable populations and catalyze transformative change within urban systems. In this regard, Izmir serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when cities embrace sustainability wholeheartedly,” said Gino van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI.

Local academic institutions, NGOs, and community champions will be engaged to mobilize communities and ensure the program’s inclusivity. Efforts will focus on communities that are vulnerable to floods, heatwaves, and wildfires.

While a comprehensive monitoring system will assess the impacts of the program through defined targets, the lessons learned from local community groups and NGOs will be shared across other participants in the Urban Climate Resilience Programs’ worldwide.

By focusing on climate change adaptation and reducing climate hazards, the program strives to create a brighter future for vulnerable people worldwide.



Ariel DEKOVIC, Head, ICLEI Global Communications Team

Çağlar TÜKEL, Directorate of Climate Change and Clean Energy, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality

Manon PARMENTIER, Head of Advocacy and Communications, Z Zurich Foundation

İpek MENGÜ Corporate Communication Senior Manager, Zurich Insurance Group Türkiye



About Izmir Metropolitan Municipality
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, governing the city of Izmir with its 4.5 million residents, is wholeheartedly committed to forging a more sustainable, resilient, and livable urban environment. Anchored by strategic initiatives like the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) and the Green City Action Plan (GCAP), the municipality is actively engaged in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing climate resilience, and mitigating various hazards.

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125+ countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient, and circular development.

About the Z Zurich Foundation
The Z Zurich Foundation works alongside Zurich Insurance Group employees and other stakeholders as well as with governments and NGOs in pursuit of a future where people can thrive in the face of increasing climate hazards, where those of us feeling the stresses of life are empowered to speak up, and where the marginalized in our society can reach their full potential. The Z Zurich Foundation is a Swiss-based charitable foundation established by members of the Zurich Insurance Group. It is the main vehicle by which Zurich Insurance Group delivers on its global community investment strategy.
Visit the Z Zurich Foundation’s website to learn more about its work: https://zurich.foundation. Follow Z Zurich Foundation on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

About Zurich Insurance Group Türkiye
As Zurich Insurance Group Türkiye, we are one of the leaders of the Turkish bancassurance market, with a premium production of approximately 2.5 billion TL in the Turkish market, which we entered in 2008 by purchasing TEB Sigorta. We offer insurance products and services to our individual and corporate customers in areas such as Fire, Accident, Health, Auto, Engineering and Transportation through approximately 600 bank branches and more than 500 agencies and brokers. As Zurich Insurance Group, while producing solutions that blend the knowledge gained in international markets for over 150 years with the local needs of our country, we always keep our customers at the center of our service approach.

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