UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam M. Isaczai’s speech at the Presentation Ceremony of the “SƏLİS” – the System for Fast Coordination and Project Management

Mr Azay Guliyev, Chair of the Council on State Support to NGOs under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan;

Mr Ali Hasanov, Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan for Public and Political Affairs; Continue reading “UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam M. Isaczai’s speech at the Presentation Ceremony of the “SƏLİS” – the System for Fast Coordination and Project Management”

UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam M. Isaczai’s speech at “Leave no person with disabilities behind – with accessibility to inclusion” conference

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great pleasure for me to open today’s conference on disabilities called “Leave no person with disabilities behind – with accessibility to inclusion”. Continue reading “UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam M. Isaczai’s speech at “Leave no person with disabilities behind – with accessibility to inclusion” conference”

UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam M. Isaczai’s speech on the roundtable dedicated to the Migration Processes in Azerbaijan and Protection of Migrants’ Rights

Dear Professor Elmira Suleymanova, Human Rights Commissioner of Azerbaijan,

Dear Mr. Vusal Huseynov, Chairperson of the State Migration Service,

Dear Mr. Sahil Babayev, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population of Azerbaijan, Continue reading “UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam M. Isaczai’s speech on the roundtable dedicated to the Migration Processes in Azerbaijan and Protection of Migrants’ Rights”

UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam Isaczai’s speech at the International Women Entrepreneurship Forum

Dear Mr. Ali Akhmedov, Deputy prime minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan,

Ms Hijran Huseynova, Chairperson of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs,

UN colleagues,

Excellencies,

 

Ladies & Gentlemen!

It is such an honour for me to say a few words on behalf of the UN at this International Women Entrepreneurship Forum.

I would like to thank the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs for organising this event and for inviting me to speak.

I am happy to see among you so many women entrepreneurs, who are full of enthusiasm to take up additional business responsibility on top of their family duties.

I am here to voice my support and congratulate you and millions of other women entrepreneurs for your courage and success.

You have defied social expectations and stereotypes and operate in challenging environment often dominated by men.

Women’s equality and empowerment is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

It is also integral to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development.

The case for women’s economic empowerment has several interlinked pillars, each integral to progress.

The expansion of women’s entrepreneurship in particular is an important tool not only for elimination of inequality and reduction of poverty, but also contributing to the Global Goals of universal education and quality healthcare for all.

UN Secretary-General Mr. Antonio Guterres also stated that Economic empowerment is a necessary condition to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Studies show that, if women were able to participate equally in the economy, global GDP could increase by 26 per cent – the equivalent of $12 trillion dollars – by 2025, but unfortunately only 50 per cent of women of working age, worldwide are in the labour force – compared to 77 per cent of men.

In addition, women tend to be concentrated in informal and precarious employment, and they are paid on average 23 per cent less than men and carry out at least 2.5 times more unpaid household and care work.

There are still countries where gender discrimination is part of legal and social norms, and where women do not have the right to divorce, inherit property, own or rent land, or access credit, which is putting a huge constraint on women’s economic empowerment.

Azerbaijan has made good progress towards gender equality and some of which has historical roots.

National legislation stipulates equal rights of men and women to engage in all types of economic activity, inherit, own and sell property, receive bank loans and travel in and out of the country.

Azerbaijan also joined major international conventions on women’s rights – the CEDAW Convention.

Despite considerable progress, challenges remain. Women are disproportionately represented in informal sector and low paid jobs. There is a great deal of gender stereotypes and discrimination that often leads to violence against women.

UN agencies in Azerbaijan are working closely with the Government and international donors to tackle these issues and provide new opportunities to women.

In rural communities, we help women gain access to resources, which were unavailable to them before, establish businesses of their own they couldn’t even dream about before and become financially independent, against all odds.

United Nations will continue to work with the Government, civil society and other partners to remove any barriers to gender equality.

 

Dear Women Entrepreneurs, 

With your efforts you are making a difference and serving as a role model for others. Keep up your good work.

The world today needs more entrepreneurs.  It is about inspiring more people to recognize that entrepreneurship is very important for the future of their societies.

Entrepreneurs, especially women, can be a real force for change helping to address the challenges of their communities in innovative ways.

Using this opportunity, I would like to congratulate the award-winning women entrepreneurs.

I wish you all a very successful Forum.

 

Thank you!

UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam Isaczai’s speech at the XVI Baku International Conference of Ombudspersons

Excellencies,

Colleagues and friends,

It is a great pleasure to be here among you today and talk about human rights.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Elmira Suleymanova for organising the XVI Baku International Conference of Ombudspersons, specifically devoted to the roles of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) in achieving peace and Sustainable Development Goals.

This is an exciting moment for those of us, who are committed to enabling the realisation of human rights, to discuss new opportunities, as well as challenges in promoting and protecting human rights through the implementation of the SDGs.

The topic of today’s conference is important and timely. As stated in the preamble of “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, the SDGs “seek to realize the human rights of all”.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly references human rights throughout its text, and the 17 SDGs and related 169 targets and provides reflection of human rights standards.

The goals are designed to “leave no one behind” in pursuit of sustainable development.

And the Agenda integrates crosscutting human rights principles, such as participation, accountability and non-discrimination. In other words, the 2030 Agenda and human rights are inevitably tied together.

As the national focal points for promotion and protection of human rights, NHRIs have a unique role in the promotion and protection of Human rights and are the driving force for monitoring of the crosscutting human rights principles, which are emphasized throughout the 2030 Agenda. They can also play an important role in translating the SDGs into reality on the ground.

In 2015, just few weeks after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, NHRIs from all world regions adopted the Mérida Declaration, which outlines how the NHRIs can apply their broad human rights mandate and functions for achieving the SDGs and ensuring that no one is left behind.

These functions and activities include but are not limited to advising national/local governments; raising awareness and promoting dialogue and participation; developing and sustaining partnerships for implementation; shaping national indicators; monitoring and reporting on progress; holding duty-bearers accountable; investigating rights violations and providing access to justice for all.

NHRIs are uniquely placed to play a bridging role between different types of stakeholders; government, civil society, development partners, business, UN agencies and others.

This role is particularly important in the context of the 2030 Agenda, since collaboration between a variety of actors and sectors will be absolutely essential for effective and equitable implementation.

The independent nature of NHRIs and the international human rights system, and their experience and expertise in monitoring and reporting on the implementation of human rights standards places them at the heart of what has been called the SDG “web of accountability”.

As independent State institutions mandated to support national compliance with international human rights commitments, NHRIs are crucial elements of the institutional accountability architecture necessary for ensuring peaceful and inclusive societies with access to justice for all.

An independent NHRI is an indicator of sustainable development. Given the importance of NHRIs for the 2030 Agenda, the ‘existence of independent National Human Rights Institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles’ was adopted as the global indicator for the achievement of SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.

The selection of the existence of an independent NHRI as a global indicator reaffirms that NHRIs constitute an essential element of the institutional framework for sustainable development and sustainable development itself cannot be achieved without a strong and independent NHRI.

One of the practical functions, which the Mérida Declaration identifies for NHRIs as fundamental in their contribution to a Human Rights-Based Approach to the 2030 Agenda revolves around the potential for NHRIs to be involved in the measurement of progress towards national implementation of the SDGs.

NHRI monitoring of human rights is immediately relevant for specific goals and targets, such as Goal 16 on peace, justice and sustainable institutions; target 4.7 on human rights education, and; targets 5.c, 10.3 and 16.b on elimination of discriminatory legislation. NHRIs can monitor progress in the implementation of the Agenda at the local, national, regional and international levels, to disclose inequality and discrimination in this regard, including through innovative approaches to data-collection and partnerships with rights-holders, vulnerable and marginalized groups for participatory and inclusive monitoring, and by identifying obstacles as well as actions for accelerated progress.

National Action Plans for Human Rights (NAPs) constitute another mechanism that NHRIs can make use of, when contributing to monitoring of national progress towards the SDGs. Many of the objectives of such NAPs are related to the SDGs. Making those connections explicit could help national governments to better understand the role of human rights in the SDGs as well as support their monitoring of progress towards the SDGs. Further, NHRIs can use recommendations and findings adopted under the international and regional human rights mechanisms, including the Human Rights Council, Special Procedures, the Universal Periodic Review, and treaty bodies, to assess and guide SDG implementation.

Given their focus on the range of human rights that underpin the SDGs, NHRIs have a significant potential for serving as credible data providers that can provide context-specific analysis and advice, as well as information about vulnerable groups and sensitive issues that are hard to capture through common statistical data.

Further, NHRIs can assist in the shaping of national indicators and sound data collection systems, including by providing advice and expertise on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Data.

Last but not least, the mutually reinforcing nature of human rights and the SDGs implies that NHRIs can directly contribute to assessment of progress of the SDGs, and provide guidance to direct and accelerate implementation, including to ensure that vulnerable groups are not left behind.

From 2015-2018, a total of 109 Voluntary National Review (VNR) reports were submitted to the High-Level Political Forum, with the aim of reporting on progress and challenges, enable mutual learning across countries and mobilise necessary support and partnerships. In its VNR report, Azerbaijan mentioned that its NHRI is represented in several working groups to further sustainable development under the National Coordination Council for Sustainable Development.

Successful implementation of the SDGs will underpin the solution to many challenges that NHRIs and people around the world face.

Thank you!

 

UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam Isaczai’s speech at the award ceremony of winners of the “Future of Work” essay contest dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of ILO

Dear Matin Karimli, deputy minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population,

Dear students,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an enormous pleasure for me to participate and speak today at the awarding ceremony of the essay contest on “Future of Work”, which is dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the International Labour Organisation – ILO.

ILO is the oldest UN specialized agency, which played a central role in the struggle for social progress throughout its history.

An agency born of the bloodshed of the First World War, dedicated to building a better tomorrow, and inspired by a simple yet vital goal: to end “injustice, hardship and privation” in the workplaces of the world.

Today, the ILO can look back with pride at what it has achieved through a century of tireless work with employers, trade unions and governments.

Safer workplaces.

Fairer conditions.

Better pay.

However, the world of work today is undergoing a major process of change. Such process is synthetized in the report of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work launched in January 2019.

The report highlights how “technological advances- artificial intelligence, automation and robotics – will create new jobs, but those who will lose their jobs in this transition may be the least equipped to seize the new opportunities”.

According to the report, “today’s skills will not match the jobs of tomorrow and newly acquired skills may quickly become obsolete.”

Possible shifts toward “greening of our economies will create millions of jobs as we adopt sustainable practices and clean technologies, but other jobs may disappear as countries scale back their carbon – and resource – intensive industries” and “changes in demographics will not be less significant.”

Expanding youth populations in some parts of the world and ageing populations in others may place pressure on labour markets and social security systems, yet in these shifts lie new possibilities to afford care and inclusive, active societies.

The reports conclude by inviting ILO Constituents to “seize the opportunities presented by these transformative changes to create a brighter future and deliver economic security, equal opportunity and social justice – and ultimately reinforce the fabric of our societies.”

Young people are particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in economic trends. And the figures I will voice now show that the youth employment remains as of the main global problems:

621 million young people aged 15-24 years old are not in education, employment or training.

75 million young people are trained but have no job.

In the next decade, one billion young people will enter the labour market, and large numbers of young people face a future of irregular and informal employment.

It is estimated that 23% of young people currently employed in the world earn less than $1.25US a day, which means that they live in an extreme poverty.

By one popular estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.

In such a rapidly evolving employment landscape, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements, job content and the aggregate effect on employment is increasingly critical for businesses, governments and individuals in order to fully seize the opportunities presented by these trends—and to mitigate undesirable outcomes.

In order to prevent the increase of the youth unemployment we need to invest

in lifelong learning and make the education system more adaptable and attuned to the needs of the labour market.

We have to ensure effective economic and labour market policies to create jobs for young women and men.

Investing in entrepreneurship education would be a key to unlock youth’s creativity and innovation, linking to opportunities in wage and self-employment in the future.

I believe the essay competition has encouraged you to take a keen interest in the future of labour, reflect and write about existing challenges, and explore possible solutions.

We cannot succeed without your help and participation. We need you as partners and leaders. We need you as we build a peaceful and more sustainable world.

I congratulate both winners and participants of the contest and wish you every success in your life!

Thank you!

 

 

UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam Isaczai’s speech at the conference dedicated to the Role of Turkic World Women in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to speak at this event dedicated to the Role of Turkic World Women in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

I would like to thank the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries for organising this event, which aims to strengthen the role of the women of Turkic world in various fields of society.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 2015 world leaders came together and made a historic promise. They signed up to 17 Global Goals – the Sustainable Development Goals – that have the potential to end poverty, to reduce inequality and to tackle climate change in 15 years.

At the heart of these goals is a commitment to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’ and that no goal is considered met unless met for all including women.

We cannot build the future we want and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without the full participation of women.

Gender equality is the focus of the SDG 5 and is integrated in the other goals, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality and empowerment as both the objective, and as part of the solution.

This reflects the growing consensus that gender equality is a driver of progress across all development goals.

There is no doubt that women’s empowerment and gender equality are essential to global progress.

Studies show that, if women were able to participate equally in the economy, global GDP could increase by 26 per cent – the equivalent of $12 trillion dollars – by 2025, but unfortunately only 50 per cent of women of working age, worldwide are active in the labour force – compared to 77 per cent of men.

In the United Nations we understand, we have to do our share for equality and inclusion. Under the leadership and reforms initiated by our Secretary-General, António Guterres for the first time in UN history, the UN has the highest-ever numbers of women in senior management team.

And the UN has achieved full gender parity among its field leadership, namely UN Resident Coordinators around the world.

There is a commitment to continue to build on this progress and achieve gender parity across the whole United Nations system within a decade.

Azerbaijan has made good progress towards gender equality and some of which has historical roots.

 

Distinguished Guests:

I would like to return to the Progress Azerbaijan has made in women empowerment in the last century.

Azerbaijan was the first Muslim Country to enfranchise women when it introduced Universal suffrage in 1918.

The first secular girls’ school and the first of such kind in the Russian Empire opened in Baku in 1901.

The country has a well-developed legislative base for protection of women’s rights.

The Constitution of Azerbaijan guarantees its citizens gender equality and freedom from all kinds of discrimination in all spheres of life.

Azerbaijan also joined major international conventions on women’s rights such as the landmark UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Azerbaijan’s history is full of extraordinary women such as Leyla Mammadbayova, the first Azerbaijani female pilot, Shovkat Salimova, the first Azerbaijani female ship captain, Keisar Kashieva, the first Azerbaijani female artist, to name just a few.

Today, we witness the talent, courage, and dedication of more Azerbaijani women including H.E 1st Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva as role models.

While this progress is commendable, more can be done to improve the environment for women empowerment and gender equality in Azerbaijan and other countries of the Turkic world.

For instance, more women should be represented in leadership positions and decision-making both in Government and the private sector.

More women can be employed in the high paid formal sector jobs.

More robust measures should be taken to address gender stereotypes and discrimination that often leads to, early marriage, gender biased sex selection and violence against women.

Also, gender issues should be mainstreamed across policies and programmes to ensure equal access to education, decent work, good standard of health care, representation in political and economic decision-making.

I commend the government of Azerbaijan and the National Coordination Council for Sustainable Development for nationalizing all targets and indicators of SDG 5 – “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” This means Azerbaijan has taken full responsibility to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women and build a future of equality.

Let me also take this opportunity to recognize UN’s partnership with the Government to promote women empowerment.

The UN has been supporting the efforts of State Committee for Women, Family, and Children Affairs to eliminate domestic violence, prevent early and forced marriages, abolish gender-selective abortions, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and promote women’s economic empowerment.

In rural communities, we help women gain access to resources, establish businesses of their own and become financially independent.

In conclusion, I would like to praise the secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries for their efforts to promote the role of women from the Turkic world in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. I believe such forums is? an excellent opportunity to share experiences, best practices and highlight the both the achievements and barriers to women empowerment in Turkic speaking countries.

The United Nations stands ready to work closely with all Governments, and other partners such as TURKPA towards achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls in Azerbaijan and in the world.

Thank you!

UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam Isaczai’s speech at the launch event of initial findings of the GBV costs study

Dear Hijran Huseynova, Chair of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Affairs;

Dear Government officials, Members of Parliament, UN colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic and one of the most pervasive human rights violations. It is a moral affront to all women and girls, a mark of shame on all our societies and a major obstacle to inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.

According to the global estimates one in three ever-partnered women face some form of gender-based violence (GBV) per day. Statistically, this would translate into one billion women across the world abused physically, psychologically or sexually by their intimate partners, other family members or strangers.

GBV has a range of short- and long-term consequences that affect women’s health, and ability to engage in income generating activities, as well as undermine their dignity and equality of opportunity.

The good news is that following concerted efforts of the international community as well as those of the local advocates, violence against women is no longer tolerated as a matter of private affairs. More and more countries are holding up a lens of human rights and justice to GBV by adopting the legal acts that make the cases of abuse either administratively or criminally punishable.

It is commendable that Azerbaijan has also underwent this path by adopting the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence back in 2010 and sending out a message that violence against women constitutes violation of human rights necessitating state intervention.

Today I am pleased to comment on the progress the Government of Azerbaijan has achieved since the adoption of the law. The series of amendments were made to legal and policy documents to create favourable environment for bringing the perpetrators to justice and providing protection and support services to the survivors. Numerous data collection and research initiatives were undertaken. Extensive awareness raising campaigns are regularly held.

Nevertheless, the challenges do remain. According to the findings of the first ever research on GBV in Azerbaijan held back in 2008 the average prevalence rate of lifetime physical violence among ever partnered women was 15%. The International Men and Gender Equality Survey held in 2016 showed increase in GBV prevalence rates with 32.5% of men reporting perpetrating and 32.1% of women experiencing violence.

These figures are thought provocative indeed. While, at first glance, the increase could be attributable to increased prevalence rates of GBV over the years, we should also not disregard the fact that the work held by the Government within these past years including inter alia in partnership with UN agencies have contributed to better understanding of the phenomenon and thus increased response rates among the population.

Notwithstanding different interpretations put forward by the research community to explain the trends, the truth is not far beneath the surface. The women continue being affected by violent acts that not only constitute violations of human rights but also impact sustainable development of the country. And I want to share with you some figures regarding the costly price tag attached to violence against women.

The global cost of GBV was estimated by the UN to be US$1.5 trillion back in 2016, equivalent to approximately 2% of the global gross domestic product. And we will hear in a short while from the expert the figures for Azerbaijan which, I guess, are similar to global estimates.

As you know already the UN is having very bold aspirations to reduce hunger, poverty and ensure decent work and opportunities for all by 2030. And we are pleased to see that the Government of Azerbaijan is fully committed to uphold this vision. However, we are also cognizant that the ability of those subjected to violence to decent work, health and safety is severely affected by cases of violence taking place in the country. Violence against women and girls holds back realization and implementation of the universal achievement of the SDGs.

Therefore, the importance of the project on the costs of GBV held by the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs and supported by UNFPA could not be overstated. The findings will give us a chance to look at the issue from the development angle, thus pushing all to boost the action for reducing GBV by preventing violations of human rights and reducing its social and economic costs and consequences.

I would like to conclude my speech with the quote from the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who stated that “Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free from fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world.”

Thank you!

UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam Isaczai’s speech at the International Conference on “Mountains: culture, landscapes and biodiversity”

Mr Huseyn Baghirov, Chairman of Board of Trustees of Western Caspian University,

Professors and students,

Distinguished guests,

 

It is a great honour for me to be here today at the International Conference dedicated to “Mountains: culture, landscapes and biodiversity”.

I would like to thank the Western Caspian University, especially its Mountain Culture and Landscape Research Institute, and the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation, for organizing today’s event.

Allow me to also take this opportunity to congratulate the Government and People of Azerbaijan on the 96th Birth Anniversary of the late national leader, Heydar Aliyev.

Distinguished Guests,

For me the very mentioning of the word “Mountain” reminds me of my native country Afghanistan and brings back some very nostalgic memories of my childhood in Kabul, a city surrounded by mountains.

After leaving the mountains of Hindu Kush in Afghanistan, my affection and association with the mountains did not end as my UN career took me to new heights of the Himalayas in Pakistan, Nepal and Tajikistan, the Jabal Al Shuaib Mountains in Sana, Yemen, the Zagros mountain ranges in Iraqi Kurdistan and now the Caucuses mountains in Azerbaijan.

In addition to their immense ecological, cultural, and socio-economic value, mountains are continuing to play a crucial role in human’s spiritual and mystical well-being as well.

From their mentioning in ancient Greek, Egyptian, Chinese and other mythologies to holy books such as the Bible and the Quran, Mountains have always symbolized power, authority, strength, vitality, energy and life.

Today almost one billion people in the world live in mountain areas, and over half the human population depends on mountains for water, food and clean energy.

Let me highlight why Mountain should matter to us:

  • Mountains are the world’s ‘water towers’, providing between 60 and 80 percent of all freshwater resources for our planet.
  • Mountains attract 15-20 percent of global tourism and are areas of important cultural diversity, knowledge and heritage.
  • Mountains are a vital source of food and important centres of agricultural biodiversity.
  • Mountains are home to many Indigenous Peoples as many mountain areas host ancient indigenous communities that possess and maintain precious knowledge, traditions and languages.
  • Mountains are home to half of the world’s biodiversity concentration.
  • And most importantly, mountains provide early indicators of climate change.

But despite providing these key goods and services, mountains still remain among the ecosystems least documented and least talked about subject.

Today a combination of increasing global demographic and economic pressure makes our mountains vulnerable.

Mountains are under threat from climate change, land degradation, over exploitation and natural disasters, with potentially far-reaching and devastating consequences, both for mountain communities and the rest of the world.

And as global climate continues to warm, mountain people — some of the world’s hungriest and poorest — face even greater struggles to survive.

Considering the crucial role mountains play in providing key ecosystem goods and services to the planet and their vulnerability in the face of climate change, we need to step up action and raise attention to sustainable protection and development of mountains.

The United Nations system in Azerbaijan is closely working with its local partners – government, civil society, private sector and other international organisations – in the field of environmental protection, which is of the strategic areas in the UN-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework.

UNDP has supported mountain landscape sustainability through various projects, such as “Sustainable Land and Forest Management in the Greater Caucasus mountains landscape” and livelihood opportunities to local communities in the high-mountain villages of Ismayilli and Shamakhi in partnership with ABAD.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) is working closely with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources to support Azerbaijan in integrating biodiversity and sustainable management of forestry.

Globally, the UN has adopted several instruments and action agendas to protect the fragile ecosystem of mountains.

Agenda 21 which came out of the Earth Summit in 1992 dedicated a whole chapter and programme of action to sustainable mountain development.

During the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in South Africa, the United Nations established The Mountain Partnership, an international voluntary alliance dedicated to improving the lives of mountain peoples and protecting mountain environments around the world.

Today, the Mountain Partnership has 343 members, comprising governments, intergovernmental organizations and major groups from civil society, NGOs and the private sector.

In the outcome document of the Future We Want adopted at the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference in 2012, member states of the United Nations not only recognized the benefits derived from mountain regions, as essential for sustainable development but also warned about the vulnerability of fragile mountain ecosystems to the adverse impacts of climate change and the marginalisation of its communities.

In 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and more specifically, Goal 15 “Life On Land” called on countries to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems including mountains, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss.

All of these instruments and frameworks invite Member States to increase collaboration, involvement and sharing of experience of all relevant stakeholders, adopt a long-term vision, include mountain-specific policies into national sustainable development strategies, and design poverty reduction plans and programmes for communities in mountain areas.

They also encourage active engagement of mountain people in decision-making processes with a specific focus on women’s role to ensure recognition and inclusion of indigenous cultures, traditions and knowledge in development policy and planning.

Therefore, in view of its importance, the organization of this conference by the Western Caspian University in partnership with the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation to discuss for the next two days how to protect this precious gift of nature and examine the role of mountains in shaping our echo system and biodiversity is very commendable and appreciated.

Furthermore, the outcome of this conference will be fundamental to research efforts and to improve understanding of the drivers of change affecting mountain regions.

I wish the event a great success.

Thank you!

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