Opening Speech by Ghulam M. Isaczai at UNAPF Signing Ceremony

Dear Minister of Economy Mr. Shahin Mustafayev, Dear Mr. Vahid Akhundov, State Counsellor for Economic Policy at the President’s AdministrationExcellencies, Honourable Members of the Parliament (Milli Mejlis), Distinguished representatives of the Government of Azerbaijan, Dear Colleagues from the UN System in Azerbaijan, Ladies and Gentlemen, Hormetli Xanimlar ve jenablar

Sabahiniz Xeyir

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, Minister Shahin Mustafayev, for graciously hosting us for today’s event and your leadership in this process.

I would like to welcome you all to this important event and it is a great pleasure to join you all today to sign the UN-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework (UNAPF) for 2016-2020 with the Government of Azerbaijan on behalf of the United Nations System in Azerbaijan.

The PF that we are signing today is the result of almost two years of laborious and close consultation between the Government of Azerbaijan and the UN system. It was prepared through a consultative and participatory process that involved the private sector, civil society groups, and academia in addition to the various departments of the Government of Azerbaijan under the leadership of the Ministry of Economy.

The primary purpose of the PF document is to support the national development agenda through a coherent, coordinated and joined up approach. It brings together both resident and non-resident UN entities to deliver its assistance as One UN. The Document is aligned with the national aspirations articulated in the ‘Azerbaijan – 2020: The Vision of the Future’ development concept.

The UNAPF is being signed at a critical time for Azerbaijan when the Government is busy preparing a new roadmap for economic reform and diversification. The UN family stands ready and is well-placed to support the government of Azerbaijan in this process by providing a critical mass of expertise and high level policy advice in a number of areas where the UN has demonstrated expertise and comparative advantage including but not limited to Agriculture, health, education, environment, employment and job creation, disaster preparedness, migration and IDPs, etc. Our role is to help the government of Azerbaijan balanced economic agenda one: that reflects all three interconnected elements of sustainable development; namely, economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability.

The UNAPF is also our joint commitment to support the Government in its implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its new set of 17 Goals, which Azerbaijan, along with other 192 UN Member States, endorsed at the UN Summit in New York in September 2015.

The UNAPF is built around three strategic outcomes, which my colleague, will present to you later.  Here, I must emphasis that human rights and gender equality will remain the fundamental principle that will guide the implementation of the PF and UN’s joint support to the Government in  achieving its national development priorities and meeting its international commitments. It is important to note that the central objective of the Sustainable Development Goals is to leave no one behind and we will continue to push for that in our work.

In the coming months, the UN System in Azerbaijan will consult the Government and other stakeholders to develop a Roadmap on the implementation and mainstreaming the SDGs into national plans in Azerbaijan.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The success and effectiveness of the UNAPF implementation will depend on the following key factors:

  • First, it requires strong political commitment and ownership from all parts of the government, not simply the Ministry of economy with which we have already been closely working on the development of this document.
  • Second, it requires close coordination not only with government but a multitude of other actors especially bilateral and multi lateral institutions which are supporting Azerbaijan’s economic and development agenda, as well as the civil society, academia, and the media.
  • Third, it requires sustained funding and resources to the UN system to deliver on its commitment and programmes.  Here, I would like to acknowledge and thank the generous financial support of the Government of Azerbaijan and other donors most of them present in this audience today to the UN.

We count on your support and look forward to a new sustainable development partnership that will truly serve human development, peace and well-being of all people in Azerbaijan.

At the end, I would like to thank everyone who were deeply involved in the preparation and development of this document in particular, special thanks to Ms. Sevinj Hasanova Deputy Minister of Economy who has been the driving force for her coordination role in the UNAPF formulation and finalization process.

We would also like to thank all government counterparts for their providing valuable contributions over the last two-and-a-half years to formulate the UNAPF in 2014, its finalization by June 2015, and endorsement in May 2016.

Last but not least, I would like to thank members of the UNCT, UN colleagues and Irada for their inputs and support in bringing us here.

Thank you!

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