I am delighted and honored to address you today on behalf of the United Nations System in Azerbaijan at this high-level event tackling one of the most urgent challenges facing humanity at this time.
I would like to thank the Government of Azerbaijan for hosting this event in beautiful Baku and being a co-organizer of the event together with the UN System, WB, and other partners present here.
Since the adoption of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, we have witnessed remarkable successes in access to energy for the poor.
More people are connected to off grid energy resources, new technologies are lowering the cost of renewable energy and governments are investing more and more in renewable energy resources.
However a lot more needs to be done, in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 on energy in the next 15 years.
Because energy is a key enabler, meeting the targets of SDG 7 is central to achieving the 2030 Agenda and implementing the Paris Agreement.
The Agenda is based on a vision and promise that no one should be left behind and a common understanding that, in this increasingly interconnected world, we need a truly transformative, integrated and universal path to development.
Since Energy is the golden thread connecting economic growth, increased social equity and a healthy environment, Sustainable development is simply not possible without sustainable energy.
Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the United Nations and other international actors, countries and the private sector, are exploring how they can implement the SDGs and other aspirational pledges on climate change which require countries to pursue concerted and accelerated action on energy in their national policies and strategies.
Today’s Forum provides a unique opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved, identify challenges to be addressed, and share ideas, experiences and best practices.
The choice of venue for this forum could not have been more befitting for Azerbaijan whose share of global emissions is less than half percent of the world. In spite of being a relatively small emitter of Greenhouse Gases, Azerbaijan demonstrates a strong political will and commitment to climate change mitigation.
It has ratified the Convention on Climate Change in 1995 and signed the Paris Agreement. It has set itself an ambitious target to reduce 35% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compare to 1990 baseline.
In July 2016, the United Nations and the Government of Azerbaijan signed a new UN-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework (UNAPF) for 2016-2020, which aims to make an important contribution to achieving national development priorities and the SDGs.
One of the three strategic priority areas pursued by the UNAPF will focus on improving environmental management and strengthening resilience to climate change.
As part of the UN System in Azerbaijan, UNDP has been working closely with the Government of Azerbaijan to address issues related to climate change and renewable energy.
In partnership with the State Agency on Alternative Energy, UNDP has contributed to feasibility studies for bio, solar, and wind sources of energy and drafting of a law on the usage of alternative energy.
UNDP is assisting the State Oil Company on piloting activities in energy efficiency in construction, transportation and associated gas capturing under National Appropriate Mitigation Action.
UNDP has supported Azerbaijan in preparing its previous three National Communications on Climate Change, and jointly with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources is launching the work on the country’s Fourth National Communication.
Ladies and gentlemen.
Achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda requires strong political commitment from Governments.
In this regard, I am particularly pleased to see that Azerbaijan has set a good example only a few days ago by establishing a National Council for Sustainable Development.
The UN System is ready to support the National Council in coordinating national actions for integration of SDG targets and indicators into national plans and monitoring their progress.
The Forum’s agenda offers a range of opportunities over the next four days, providing a snapshot of how international cooperation advances development agenda in the region and the world.
Several experiences will be shared and I hope that lesson learned in one country can be used successfully in another.
I hope the experience- and expertise-sharing during this forum will be useful for all participants to reflect on the challenges and agree on ambitious and concrete measures.
Wishing you all a fruitful discussion.