Ghulam Isaczai's Speech at the UNAPF Steering Committee Meeting

Dear Minister of Economy Mr. Shahin Mustafayev, Dear Deputy Minister Ms. Sevinj Hasanova, Distinguished representatives of the Government of Azerbaijan, Dear Colleagues from the UN System in Azerbaijan, Ladies and Gentlemen, Hörmətli xanımlar və cənablar, sabahınız xeyir!

First, I would like to extend new year’s greetings and welcome you all to the first meeting of the UN-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework (UNAPF) Steering Committee. The meeting has been long overdue.

Second, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, Minister Shahin Mustafayev, for your effective leadership in the process of the endorsement of UN-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework for 2016-2020 and its implementation.

The UNAPF was formulated in close partnership with the Ministry of Economy after two years of laborious and close consultation between the Government of Azerbaijan and the UN system and representatives from the private sector, civil society, and academia.  It was signed in July 2016.

The Partnership Framework is aligned to national aspirations that are articulated in the ‘Azerbaijan – 2020: The Vision of the Future’ development concept, and its primary purpose is to support national development agenda through a coherent, coordinated and joined up approach to truly serve human development, peace and well-being of all people in Azerbaijan.

The UNAPF is built around three strategic outcomes namely: 1) boosting economic diversification and decent work; 2) strengthening institutional capacities, and 3) improving environmental management and resilience to hazards. My colleagues will present these outcomes to you later.

The UNAPF is also our joint commitment to support the Government in its implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which Azerbaijan along with other UN Member States endorsed at the UN Summit in New York in September 2015.

Our role is to help the Government to foster sustainable development with its three interconnected elements – economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. We will also focus on the concept of leaving no one behind which is the central objective of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Human rights and gender equality will remain the fundamental principles that will guide the implementation of the UNAPF and UN’s joint support to the Government in achieving its national development priorities and meeting its international commitments.

The United Nations welcomes the efforts made by the Government last year to promote sustainable development in Azerbaijan which, among others, included development and launch of a comprehensive Strategic Roadmap for economic reforms, establishment of the National Coordination Council for Sustainable Development, and the Parliament’s ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement. We stand ready to assist the Government in the implementation of these plans and global commitments.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The UNAPF represents a collective value of the partnership between the Government and the United Nations, which is anchored at shared priorities and shared goals. UN Agencies in Azerbaijan will strive to apply the “Delivering as One” approach to function more effectively and foster greater collaboration, teamwork, and joint initiatives as the UNAPF drives joint and comprehensive work planning and monitoring for results.

2016 was the first year of the UNAPF implementation. It was also a transition year where the UN Country Team was adapting to the changing country development context.

This year, we will place emphasis on improving statistics and analysis to support evidence-based decision making through drawing on global best practice, innovation, creative communication, with a special focus on national capacity development to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Being a high-level body with responsibility for leading the UNAPF implementation process, the UNAPF Steering Committee will endorse today the TORs of three UNAPF Results Groups and will review priorities which have been identified by UN Agencies for 2017 in the three UNAPF strategic areas. These priorities represent the activities which have been agreed between UN Agencies and Government partners, in line with individual work plans signed between Agencies and their partners.

Now, the floor is given to my colleagues from the UN family in Azerbaijan.  The co-chairs of the three UNAPF Results Groups will present priorities identified for 2017 which will be further discussed in-depth with the concerned national partners and stakeholders to make progress towards shared goals.

Thank you!

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