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The Path to Sustainable Socio-Economic Development

The Republic of Turkey has seen remarkable economic growth in the last decade, placing a strain on its natural resources and degrading its air and water quality. Accompanies by representatives of the World Resources Institute Center of Sustainable Transport in Turkey (EMBARQ-Turkey), scientists from the Istanbul Technical University (ITU) visited the National Space Science and Technology Center in April 2010 to discuss ways in which remotely sensed observation systems and computer models could assist decision makers and stakeholders in Turkey chart a more sustainable path to economic development. The three sides agreed to develop a multi-year research, application and education program aimed at designing, evaluating, and operating a satellite data-centric computational Decision Support System (DSS) capable of assessing the environmental impact of multi-sector development strategies on land resources, urban climate, air quality, water resources, and agricultural productivity under a changing global climate. Representatives from NASA's Applied Science program, Earth Science Division and USRA's Science and Technology Institute visited ITU in September 2010. A five-year, multi-disciplinary research agenda was discussed that would enhance the use of scientific tools in public policy decision-making in Turkey. All agreed to pursue such research in collaboration with other U.S. federal agencies, such as U.S. EPA, Department of Energy, and Department of Transportation have had decades of experience and expertise in undertaking government sponsored, multi-disciplinary research to inform decision-making at levels of the U.S. government. In the long-term, expansion of human and earth system science research at ITU will provide an opportunity for the U.S. and Turkey to jointly engage the rest of the developing world towards an environmentally sustainable path to socio-economic development.

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