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Sahiba Gafarova’s Speech at G77 + China Summit in Havana

Sahiba Gafarova’s Speech at G77 + China Summit in Havana

Sahiba Gafarova’s Speech at G77 + China Summit in Havana Sahiba Gafarova’s Speech at G77 + China Summit in Havana

Chair of the Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova delivered a speech at the G77 + China Summit on current development problems in Havana on 15 September.

Speaking during the debate about the roles of science, technology and innovations, arranged as part of the Summit, Sahiba Gafarova remarked that G77 was arriving at its 60th anniversary as an important entity promoting solidarity, collective endeavours and mutual support in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals agenda covering the period until 2030. It is thanks to G77 that the voices of developing countries were heard while addressing global problems, according to Mrs Gafarova.

Though a relatively new member, Azerbaijan holds G77’s significance high and is trying to contribute to the group’s work actively.

‘The Sustainable Development Goals are of special importance to my country as well. Azerbaijan remains committed to implementing the SDG Agenda for until 2030. Suffice to say, Azerbaijan was the first country in her region and one of the 12 countries in the world to submit three voluntary review reports to the UN,’ Mrs Gafarova continued.

The Government of Azerbaijan included the SDG tasks and points in the national development plans and strategies. Science, technology and innovations are viewed as important tools to implement the development priorities.

A clean environment and green development are two of the five priority areas within the new socio-economic development strategy of Azerbaijan for until 2030. Our country ratified the Paris Climate Accords committing herself to the voluntary reduction of hothouse emissions by 35% by 2030, by which year, incidentally, renewable sources are expected to have exceeded 37% of the total energy capacity of the country thanks to the relevant projects that are afoot currently, according to the speaker of the Azerbaijani legislature.

‘I should like to note that Azerbaijan has offered to host the 29th conference of the parties to the Convention on Climate Change. We stand ready to make a contribution of our own to implementing the global climatic agenda and share our experience,’ Sahiba Gafarova said.

‘International co-operation and co-ordination in achieving the development  goals are becoming yet more pressingly needed in view of the similarities between development problems and priorities of the G77 countries. Strengthening the dialogue, solidarity, mutual support and multilateralism has always been the driving force behind Azerbaijan’s global outlook… the special session of the UN General Assembly on COVID and the UN resolutions on equitable and all-encompassing access to the vaccines were amongst the important results of the Azerbaijani chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement the majority of whose members are developing countries. Azerbaijan, besides, extended financial and humanitarian aid against the coronavirus to more than 80 countries and contributed USD 10 mn to the World Health Organisation voluntarily.

‘Azerbaijan is working on establishing the Women’s Platform of the Non-Aligned Movement following the emergence of its Parliamentary Network and Youth Organisation, which is recognition of the contribution that women, youth and parliamentarians are making to the attainment of our development goals.

‘Revitalisation of the work of the NAM-G77 Joint Co-ordination Committee towards the end of 2023 may prove another milestone in the Azerbaijani chairmanship in the NAM. It can result in stronger mutual support and combined efforts and improve the interaction amongst developing countries.

‘President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr Ilham Aliyev made two global calls: to support the postpandemic revival of Africa and to do the same to the small island developing countries. Those calls were made at the summit meeting of the COVID-19 Contact Group of the Non-Aligned Movement in Azerbaijan in March this year. Those calls envisage a direct financial support, provision of greater education opportunities, capacity-building and other tools. Azerbaijan as the first donor released USD 1 mn towards both calls’ implementation. It is vital for those countries’ sustainable development that the calls in question be supported by the international community.

‘The official development aid was one of the mechanisms used by Azerbaijan to promote the international development agenda and to address development problems around the world more efficiently. The international aid from Azerbaijan’s International Development and Promotion Agency to more than 130 countries is intended to prop sustainable development and eradicate poverty through building up the human and institutional potentials as well as via exchange of experience and advanced experience.

‘Azerbaijan allocated full scholarships to students from 83 countries, most of them the Group 77 members, in the period from 2018 to 2023. I am glad to tell you that we strive to continue granting such scholarships to the countries of the OIC, NAM and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the format of the Heydar Aliyev International Educational Grants Programme established to the relevant decree of the President of Azerbaijan in July this year,’ Sahiba Gafarova was saying.

Sustainable development is unobtainable without peace and security today, in the opinion of the Speaker of the Milli Majlis who reminded the audience that Azerbaijan busied herself with the large-scale restoration of her formerly captured lands following their liberation from the three-decades-long occupation in 2020. It is now one of the staple development priorities of Azerbaijan. The country is facing a rather serious task to tackle, not least of building eight towns and hundreds of villages from scratch given the devastation that the occupation left behind. None the less, Azerbaijan is making good: the erstwhile IDP have begun to return to their homelands after only a relatively short while since those lands were liberated.

‘Also, Azerbaijan initiated normalisation and a peace treaty with Armenia to rely on international law standards and principles. This is the only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in the region. However, Armenia continues breaking earlier arrangements and undermining the negotiations despite Azerbaijan’s frank approach and commitment to this process… Armenia continues military and political provocations against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan… supports separatism in the territories of Azerbaijan by any means possible. The recent so-called “presidential elections” of the illegal formation in Azerbaijan’s Garabagh Region came as another sheer violation of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

‘The international community ought to raise its voice against aggressive separatism and condemn such illegal acts sternly. Separatism is unacceptable, intolerable in the modern world trying for peace, prosperity and sustainable development,’ Sahiba Gafarova said.

Mrs Gafarova also stressed that G77 was an important platform to promote peace and development by virtue of international co-operation under the auspices of the UN.

Our world is facing serious problems that only grow in number. New problems arise alongside the existing ones. The difficulty of addressing those slow down or even hinder progress, multiply adverse consequences and, in this way, widen further the rift between the developed and developing countries of the world, in the opinion of the Speaker of the Milli Majlis.

‘The Sustainable Development Goals constitute an important toolbox to solve global problems. Still, it would be difficult to achieve a comprehensive success without an integrated approach to using those tools. It is not merely about including them in the national strategy… but, rather, about uniting the efforts through capacity-building and an exchange of expertise and advanced experience.’

Mrs Gafarova underlined the substantial role of science, technology and innovations in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals before saying that simply admitting this decisive role in this was not enough. Instead, the integration of science, technology and innovations in national development plans should be promoted via extensive co-operation aiming to boost the relevant potential.

Sahiba Gafarova concluded her speech by expressing sincere condolences on her own behalf as well as on behalf of the Members of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the bereaved families and friends of those killed in the recent natural cataclysms in Morocco and Libya, and wishing a speedy elimination of the havoc that the disasters had caused in both countries.

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