Mr. Ghulam M. Isaczai’s speech at the panel discussion on “The role of Science and Research in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Azerbaijan”

Dear Mr. Ali Ahmedov, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairperson of the National Coordination Council on Sustainable Development,

Dear Mr. Akif Alizada, President of the National Academy of Science

Dear Mr. Ziyad Samadzada, Member of Parliament

Dear Mr. Adalat Muradov, Rector of Azerbaijan State Economic University

Distinguished representatives of academia, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to join you today to highlight the role of science, research and data in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. I would like to commend the efforts of the National Coordination Council on Sustainable Development under the leadership of the Deputy Prime Minister and the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan for organizing this event.

I am sure many of you are aware that after three years of inter-governmental negotiations and consultative processes, 193 UN Member States, including Azerbaijan, adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on 25 September 2015. This identified 17 universal Sustainable Development Goals or “SDGs” and 169 targets to be achieved by 2030.

The achievement of the SDGs will require different sectors to work together in an integrated manner by pooling financial resources, knowledge and expertise.

To this end, I would like to emphasize the importance of the participation of leading scientists, technology experts, and innovators in the discourse on SDGs and to highlight concrete ways in which science can contribute to achieving the SDGs.

I hope that this event will be the first step in bringing together representatives of the scientific community in Azerbaijan to discuss this important issue and to ensuring that the work of this sector is aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Science like music is a universal language that can transcend cultural and national borders. Throughout history science has played a key role in advacing social and economic inclusion and  promoting environmental sustainability and peace. Therefore we need to take advantage of this unique characteristic science for promoting global  public good.

Science and research are crucial for overcoming obstacles on the way towards eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development. At the foundation of this concept is the need for new approaches in order to identify, define and confront global challenges.

Let me mention a few of the challenges that require the scientific community’s collaboration towards the 2030 Agenda:

One of the main challenges the world is facing today is climate change, which is caused by many factors, specifically fossil-fuel use. It is also associated with natural disasters, sea level rise and ocean acidification.

Many studies have identified energy conservation and energy efficiency as essential, multi-beneficial, low-cost measures that will prevent the worsening of this issue.

Access to clean water and nutrition are among the basic needs of people and make up another major issue that needs to be resolved with the help of science and research.

Much research and innovation is needed in terms of achieving SDG #3- Well-being and access to healthcare for everyone. By 2030, HIV, malaria and tuberculosis need to be eliminated, along with a reduction in child mortality and ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services.

As these examples show, scientific innovation and research can contribute significantly and directly to sustainable development. Our achievement of many of the SDGs will depend on a scientific community that is focused on research that aims to address questions of relevance to sustainable development.

As we work towards integrating the SDGs into the national development agenda in Azerbaijan, we should not forget the necessity of clear references to science under each agreed SDGs.

The active participation of science and research in achieving the global goals nationally and globally will help Azerbaijan to improve national statistical systems and provide policy-relevant data, analysis and information. Good quality, reliable and timely statistics and indicators are crucial to the measurement of progress and to ensure that no one is left behind.

I am confident that today’s discussion will help us understand the main opportunities and challenges for maximizing the contribution of science, technology and innovation to the achievement of the SDGs in Azerbaijan.  I would like to thank Mr. Deputy Prime Minister Ali Ahmedov for taking the lead in organizing this forum and the distinguished panel members for joining and sharing their insights.

I wish all of us an interesting and fruitful discussion

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