WHO and Ministry of Health advice for international travel and trade concerning the outbreak of pneumonia caused by a new coronavirus in China

On 31 December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia of unknown etiology was reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. On 9 January Chinese authorities reported in the media that the cause of this viral pneumonia was initially identified as a new type of coronavirus, which is different from any other human coronaviruses discovered so far. Coronaviruses are a large family of respiratory viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to the Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The clinical signs and symptoms of the patients reported in this cluster are mainly fever, with a few patients having difficulty in breathing, and chest radiographs showing bilateral lung infiltrates. From the currently available information, preliminary investigation suggests that there is no significant human-to-human transmission.

International travellers: practice usual precautions

While the cause of the pneumonia seems to be a novel coronavirus, transmission potential and modes of transmission remain unclear. Therefore, it would be prudent to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections while travelling in or from affected areas (currently Wuhan City) by:

  • avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;
  • frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment;
  • avoiding close contact with live or dead farm or wild animals;
  • travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).

WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers.

UN, Azerbaijan discuss new cooperation framework for 2021-2025

BAKU, 16 January 2020 – A two-day workshop to shape the new cooperation framework between the United Nations (UN) and Azerbaijan has started today. The event brought together over 150 senior government officials, representatives of the UN agencies, civil society, private sector, youth organisations, academia and the media.

Organized by the UN Office in Azerbaijan and supported by the National Coordination Council for Sustainable Development (NCCSD), the workshop aims to identify the strategic priorities for the UN-Azerbaijan Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) covering the 2021-2025 period.

Mr Ali Ahmadov, Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan and the NCCSD chair; Mr Ghulam M. Isaczai, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan; Mr Mikayil Jabbarov, Minister of Economy; Mr Sahil Babayev, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population; and other high-level officials spoke at the event.

The participants will also discuss Azerbaijan’s long-term vision to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and the UN’s contributions to this process. Moreover, they will exchange views on Azerbaijan’s main challenges in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and ways to address them.

The UNSDCF is a five-year programming cycle that will serve as a guiding document for the work of the UN System in Azerbaijan. It will take over from the UN-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework (UNAPF), which elapses in 2020.

The UNSDCF is organized around six guiding principles and rooted in four primary objectives.  The six guiding principles are: leaving no one behind; human rights-based approach to development; gender equality and women’s empowerment; resilience; sustainability; and accountability. The four primary objectives focus on establishing a collective response; meaningful partnerships; tangible actions; and new tools to better meet the needs and realities on the ground.

The United Nations launches 75th anniversary dialogues: The biggest global conversation on the world’s future starts now.

1 January 2020 saw the launch of the UN75 initiative – the largest, most inclusive conversation on the role of global cooperation in building a better future for all. The initiative will see the UN spark dialogues throughout 2020 in diverse settings across the world.
In a ‘global reality check’, four innovative data streams will build the first-ever repository of crowd-sourced solutions to major global challenges. Continue reading “The United Nations launches 75th anniversary dialogues: The biggest global conversation on the world’s future starts now.”

WHO supports second national conference on burden of non-communicable diseases in Azerbaijan

BAKU, 19 December 2019 – The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Public Health and Reforms Centre (PHRC) organised the second national conference on the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The participants discussed the implementation of the strategy on fight against non-communicable diseases in Azerbaijan in 2015-2020, which was approved by the presidential decree on 23 December 2015, achievements, challenges and obstacles in this area, as well as the results of the STEPS survey.

STEPS survey, implemented by PHRC with the support of WHO, is a research methodology that helps countries develop their surveillance systems to control and fight against NCDs. The goal of the second national survey (the first one was conducted in 2011) was to provide up-to-date information using WHO-approved methods by assessing the prevalence, current situation and future tendencies of NCD causes and risk factors among the Azerbaijani population.

Deputy Minister of Health Rahim Aliyev stated that combating non-communicable diseases worldwide and country-level has become one of the priorities of health care systems and states: “In modern times, rapid urbanization and globalization of unhealthy lifestyles have contributed to the increase of NCDs burden. The main purpose of today’s conference is to review the work done in this direction and to strive for better results,” he concluded.

Gahraman Hagverdiyev, Director of PHRC said that non-communicable diseases are linked to risk factors such as smoking, overweight and malnutrition. “The results of the STEPS survey have once again demonstrated that it is important for people to develop healthy lifestyles,” he said.

WHO Representative in Azerbaijan Dr Hande Harmanci underlined the importance of collaboration to achieve that success in this area. She highly appreciated the participation of doctors and medical professionals, representatives of other fields and agencies at the conference. “A comprehensive approach is needed to prevent and control NCDs, which will involve many sectors working together including Ministries of Health, Education, Youth and Sport, mass media, local NGOs, and others,” she stressed.

In her video message, Dr Bente Mikkelsen, the Director of the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course at the WHO Regional Office for Europe highlighted the importance of improving the quality of health services and enhancing the information capacity.

Joao Breda, Head of the WHO European Centre for Prevention and control of NCD and Dr Ivo Rakovac, Programme Manager of NCD Surveillance spoke about the comparative analysis of the STEPS in Azerbaijan and implications for the prevention of NCDs and achieving SDGs with prevention of NCDs.

The second part of the conference was devoted to scientific issues and included presentations by the representatives of Azerbaijan Medical University, Scientific Research Institute of Pulmonary Diseases, PHRC, National Oncology Centre, Republican Endocrinology Centre and other leading institutions and centres. The participants discussed issues related to the prevention of cardiovascular, oncological diseases, diabetes and lung diseases, their risk factors, including the lack of physical activity, overweight and obesity, salt consumption and alcohol use.

Physical activity was done during the breaks to fight against physical inactivity and stress highlighting the importance of cooperation to promote healthy lifestyles among the population.

FAO supports discussions on the role of private sector in development of food and agriculture in Azerbaijan

BAKU, 17 December 2019 – The role of private sector in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in food and agriculture is the focus of the workshop organised by the National Confederation of Entrepreneurs (Employers) Organizations of Azerbaijan (ASK) with financial and technical support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The event has brought together 150 participants representing the government agencies, international organisations, private sector and civil society.

The workshop aims at raising awareness on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development among the private sector and facilitating a discussion between government and private sector on their role and involvement in SDG implementation in Azerbaijan.

Participants will also exchange knowledge and best practices from the region on the integration of SDGs in private sector business models and sustainable reporting, as well as ways to mobilize national private sector engagement in areas of joint interest with a specific focus on climate change and nationally-determined contributions.

Agriculture plays a vital role in catalysing growth and sustainable development in Azerbaijan, especially in rural areas, employing a large segment of the population. It is the third largest sector in the country after the oil industry and construction. The food sector also takes a significant segment of the non-oil industry providing 32% from total production.

FAO supports efforts of the Government of Azerbaijan in ensuring sustainable food and agriculture, increasing the productivity of food and agricultural production systems and diversifying agricultural production, which also leads to enhanced food security in the country.

The workshop is organised as part of the project on ‘mobilizing involvement and investment of the private sector in implementing SDGs in food and agriculture in Azerbaijan’.

UN-organised event in Baku highlights leadership role of youth in promoting human rights

BAKU, 10 December 2019 – To celebrate Human Rights Day, the United Nations (UN) Office in Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) organised an exhibition at the Youth House in Sabunchu district of Baku. It also marked the conclusion of this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the international campaign that calls to end violence against women and girls around the world.

The event, dedicated to the theme of this year’s celebration – “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights”, brought together some 150 participants from the government, civil society, diplomatic community, youth organisations and the media.

“Under our universal call to action “Stand Up for Human rights,” we aim to celebrate the potential of youth as constructive agents of change, amplify their voices, and engage a broad range of global audiences in the promotion and protection of rights,” Ghulam M. Isaczai, the UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan, said in his opening speech.

Mr. Isaczai also underlined a crucial role of youth participation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to bring fresh ideas and solutions for a better world.

The opening session also included speeches from Sabina Aliyeva, Human Rights Commissioner of Azerbaijan, Sadagat Gahramanova, deputy chair of the State Committee on Family, Women and Children Affairs, as well as video messages by Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General and Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The opening session was followed by an exhibition of cartoons and illustrations dedicated to the Universal Human Rights Declaration. The exhibition also featured a series of posters and videos with important messages voiced by youth on their role in standing up for better realization of human rights. Further, visitors got an opportunity to look at and collect various publications and educational materials printed by UN agencies.

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world.

First ever UNDP Accelerator Lab Launched in Azerbaijan

BAKU, 29 November – The first ever Accelerator Lab in Azerbaijan was launched in the presence of numerous Government, civil society, private sector and international community representatives. This Accelerator Lab will be joining the 60 labs set up in 78 countries around the world to test and scale new solutions to global challenges like climate change, poverty and soaring inequality. Continue reading “First ever UNDP Accelerator Lab Launched in Azerbaijan”

Business leaders in Azerbaijan discuss embedding UN Global Compact principles and SDGs into their operations and strategies

BAKU, 26 November 2019 – The role of business in delivering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was the focus of the UN-organised conference that brought together some 80 participants from the government agencies, businesses, international organisations, civil society and the media.

Co-organised by the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, UNICEF, UN Global Compact, UN Women and UNDP, the conference underlined the importance of integrating the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption into business policies and practices.

The event also featured the Children Rights and Business Principles developed by UNICEF, the UN Global Compact and Save the Children towards a new age of corporate respect and support for children’s rights.

“It is now well recognized that the high aspirations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development depend on leveraging all sources of finance,” said Edward Carwardine, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i. in Azerbaijan.

“Within increasingly complex financing landscapes, different kinds of public and private financing, from domestic and international sources, have important roles to play in achieving sustainable development,” Mr Carwardine added.

The workshop discussions during the conference focused on successful examples of sustainable business practices in different countries and ways for companies to tangibly integrate the SDGs into their financing, operational processes and internal decision-making. Panelists also discussed the role of businesses in supporting women’s empowerment principles – the sets of principles for corporate action to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Launched in 2000 as a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact provides a framework for developing a more sustainable and responsible business. Today, the UN Global Compact is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 10,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 60 Local Networks.

The Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact are derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

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