Climate change is expected to have detrimental impacts on the marine environment and coastal communities already under stress due to human activity and pollution. To assess the risks and develop strategies to adopt, TUDAV launched a new project focusing on the impacts of climate change on the marine environment of Antalya. The “Climate Change Adaptation for the Sea and Coasts of Antalya” Project will be implemented together with Antalya Metropolitan Municipality (as lead organization) and is financed by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey (within the framework of Capacity Building in the Field of Climate Change in Turkey Grant Scheme).

Why focus on Antalya? Antalya is the largest area in Turkey along the Mediterranean coast contributing significantly to the national economy. The Mediterranean basin is one of the world’s most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change in which coastal areas of the region are specifically vulnerable to climate change. European cities along the Mediterranean are increasingly aware of the impacts of climate change and are undertaking adaptation measures to manage the risks. It is of utmost importance that cities in Turkey initiate discussions on the issue.

Antalya is one of the largest coastal communities on the Mediterranean coast. The region is a highly popular tourism destination with its rich cultural and natural heritage. The city of Antalya serves as a natural museum and laboratory with its rich flora and fauna. The Specially Protected Areas in Antalya are important habitats for endemic and endangered species of the Mediterranean and the coasts of Alanya, Phasalis, Olympos, Tekirova, Üçadalar, Adrasan and Beşadalar are reported to shelter a high and unique marine biodiversity. There are also numerous antique cities and ruins scattered throughout the coastline. Antalya features a shoreline of 657 km, 25 rivers flow into the sea and the area is vulnerable to climate change. The extent and magnitude of impact must be studied.

The Project will include numerous networking and capacity building activities as well as risk assessments of climate change on areas such as biodiversity, archeology and tourism. Project activities will enable an increased awareness of climate change and specifically focus on the impacts of climate change on the marine environment and its coasts, thereby consequences to the economy, to cultural heritage and biodiversity. There will be two marine surveys which will serve as an invaluable contribution to marine and climate research. The study will develop a preliminary assessment to identify places around Antalya at greatest risk of impact from rising sea levels, invasive species, acidification, warming temperatures and extreme weather conditions.