Addressing a special session on the International Day of Zero Waste at the United Nations, First Lady Erdoğan said: “We have never remained indifferent towards global matters and we stand committed to be a part of the solution regarding environmental problems.”

Commencing her speech by remembering those who lost their lives in the February 6 earthquakes in Türkiye, First Lady Emine Erdoğan extended her gratitude to those who sent aid and joined the search and rescue efforts in the country.

Stressing the importance of respecting the order and functioning of the earth, which houses millions of different species, First Lady Erdoğan said: “We, however, have lost this understanding over the last two centuries. Humans, who are obliged to protect the balance of the earth, have positioned themselves against the nature.”


First Lady Erdoğan said: “We live in such a world where waste is sent to the least developed countries with the belief that the garbage we don’t see is actually harmless. These piles of waste not only pollute the environment but also create a new version of colonialism. If thousands of children are still losing their lives in different parts of the world due to drought caused by climate change, it means that we don’t have a single moment to waste before we take action. It deeply hurts every responsible citizen of the world that the production of a single cigarette consumes 3.7 liters of water in a world where millions of people have no access to clean drinking water.”

“It is in our hands to stop this destruction once and for all and save the world, our common home. We are obliged as humanity to act at once and together because we will either win or lose all together in this equation. We launched the Zero Waste Project in Türkiye with these thoughts in mind about five years ago,” the First Lady stated. “We have thus shown that small changes in our behavior could spark a huge transformation. Within the framework of the project, 650 million of raw materials have been saved and 4 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions have been eliminated through recycling. I am proud to state that as Türkiye we have never remained indifferent towards global matters and we stand committed to be a part of the solution regarding environmental problems. We are in the process of establishing the zero waste foundation in order to spread our efforts to greater masses through NGO volunteers.”


“I believe that every step taken forward under the UN in the name of Zero Waste is valuable. Secretary General Guterres and I have opened the global commitment document for signing, which has become an important milestone in our journey towards the institutionalization of the Zero Waste initiative. I am proud and happy to see as a Zero Waste volunteer that this national initiative we have launched in our country has now reached such a level that it has become an exemplary model for the rest of the world and now it has turned into a strong policy under the roof of the UN. This success belongs to sensitive policymakers developing macro-level initiatives as much as to the responsible individuals who are diminishing and recycling their household waste,” First Lady Erdoğan said. “Just like in other matters, we need a just system based on fair distribution regarding climate and environmental problems as well.”


Drawing attention to the importance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement that ‘the World is bigger than five’ in terms of the fight against climate change, First Lady Erdoğan pointed out that a fair system needs to be established whereby countries which have no part to play in the emergence of climate change in the first place but are still most affected by its consequences are looked out for.

First Lady Erdoğan continued her remarks as follows: “We cannot talk about a fair sharing while the number of children dying of famine is equal to those dying of obesity. We cannot afford to dispose one third of the food produced as the global population is growing and the resources are inadequate. That is why I am crying out that the World is bigger than five.”

The First Lady further stressed: “We need to initiate a change right now if we want to have answers to give to future generations. We need to do something today. And I would like to appeal to those who think, ‘Am I the one to save the world!’ Yes, you are. We are going to save the world. We are the last generation to reverse the trend. The longest journeys begin with a single step. I hope that March 30 will be our first step on a journey towards our future and for the earth, our common home.”