Buca (Turkey)

Buca is one of the most densely populated districts of ICLEI Member Izmir, and is a Member in its own right. It has a population of about 518,000, and a unique character and history thanks to being home to an ancient civilization dating back to 130 BC.

Buca Municipality actively seeks out opportunities to connect with peers on sustainable development, demonstrating its commitment to being a leader in this field. The municipality is, for example, part of the Sustainable Urban Development Network, which includes 31 Turkish member cities. Furthermore, it has become one of the strongest supporters of sustainability work taken on by the larger Izmir Metropolitan Municipality.

Buca approaches sustainability holistically, and is thus also committed to networking amongst stakeholders within the municipality. It strives to create an urban alliance that includes the private sector, universities, NGOs, as well as regional, national and international institutions. Buca is also preparing its own Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP), which sets the municipality on course to reach 55 percent greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030. The key to its swift progress in sustainable development has been embedding a culture of deeply engaging with its citizens.

Sustainability focus: meaningful public participation

The Buca Municipality Office leads and oversees a number of platforms, learning opportunities, and services that aim to engage citizens in sustainable development. This mindset is embedded in the municipality, which has used a local “Sustainability Module” to develop participatory and inclusive approaches to local authority process planning, and to adopt principles of transparency.

Under the motto “Buca is ours”, the city developed a “Voluntary Participation Platform”, used to engage citizens to develop solutions to local challenges. Citizens are encouraged to adopt a so-called “common mindset” when using the platform, which is designed to collect their ideas in an inclusive and holistic way.

Buca is a great supporter of arts and culture, hosting a Science and Music Fair (IMSEF), which represents 55 prestigious international organisations. The fair is hosted by Kızılçullu Science and Art Center of Buca Municipality with the approval of the Ministry of Education. 166 projects and 26 countries competed in the 2021 Buca IMSEF.

As a key part of strengthening its sustainability goals, Buca has made giving back to the community a priority. Buca’s “Digital Classroom” project encourages students to learn more and stay engaged with environmental topics. The Mayor initiated the “Digital Classroom” to support equal opportunities in education from preschool to high school. The project engages 10,000 students free of charge by providing knowledge resources in the form of high-quality video lessons from field experts, and technical equipment such as computers, tablets and mobile phones to students in need.

Buca is also involved in a project called “Nice to Share”, led by UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) encouraging a culture of solidarity and raising awareness for the benefits of a circular economy. “Nice to Share” has led to donations of clothes, shoes, toys, books and more to citizens in need. With its forward thinking, generous and proactive approach, Buca serves as an example of sustainability best practice in the Izmir region and beyond.

The need to knows

  • Buca participated in the European Mobility Week in 2020 and 2021.
  • Active involvement in Waste Reduction Week and the only local government in Turkey to be a finalist in 2020 European Week of Waste Reduction: “Invisible Waste”  for Public Administration category.
  • A leader in best practices for agriculture putting into practice actions such as Fresh Green Fodder production,  not only more sustainable but saving in labour and time.
  • The BUCAKUT- Buca Municipality Search and Rescue Unit team, a group of 60 people, operationalises urban resilience in its work.
  • Buca works with the Australian Embassy Direct Assistance Program ‘Buca Disabled Refugee Pandemic Mitigation Project‘ to reduce the effects of the pandemic on disabled refugees, providing services and support.
  • Within the scope of the Project on Strengthening the Capacities of Municipalities for Low-Emission and Climate-Resilient Cities Buca took part in an important meeting between four mayors on 28 December 2021. This meeting resulted in the establishment of the Izmir Climate Network, carried out in cooperation with Lund University, Sweden.


  • Recipient of the International Livable Communities Awards
    Buca Municipality 's "Voluntary Participation Platform Project" was awarded the bronze award in the "Technology and Solution Award" category at the 2021 LivCom Awards held in London.
  • In 2020 and 2021, Buca was awarded the title of "Partner Organization of the European Week of Local Democracy".
  • Member of the Covenant of Mayors Europe-Com (Covenant of Mayors Europe-Com) Convention on Climate and Energy (January 6, 2022)
  • Member of the Energy Cities Association of the Republic of Turkey
  • Part of the Globcal “Glore Network”

What the city has to say

“Since Buca’s adoption of the 2030 Agenda, our work has been based on the principle that no one should be left behind in our policies at the local and international levels. Fostering local movements for our environment is no longer just an option; it is a necessity. We have to create a natural, well-developed, livable and just future. For this reason, we have prepared the Buca Municipality Strategic Plan, based on international and national policy documents focusing on 17 goals in local sustainable development.

We believe that this is the only way we can achieve the goals of eliminating poverty, hunger, inequality and providing equal education and health care to all.”

- Erhan KILIÇ, Mayor of Buca


ICLEI and Buca

Buca municipality is one of ICLEI's newer members, having joined in 2022. Buca took part in the International Sustainable Cities Summit hosted by Kadıköy Municipality and the European ICLEI Sustainable Cities Association and participated in ICLEI’s 2022 World Summit held in Malmö, Sweden. The municipality collaborates with ICLEI and its sister cities to achieve common goals and to develop international best practice in sustainability.


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