Today, a panel discussion was held in Baku, Azerbaijan, by the National Coordination Council for Sustainable Development (NCCSD) together with the UN System. The topic of the event was dedicated to the role of civil society in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country, as set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This event was a one of a series of panel discussions which are being organized as part of a UNDP project which aims to support the localization of the SDGs and the alignment of national development plans in Azerbaijan.
Joining the discussion, Mr. Ali Ahmadov, Chairperson of NCCSD and Deputy Prime Minister, emphasized the importance of the 17 SDGs in addressing global problems such as poverty reduction, the fight against disease and providing decent work for populations.
Mr. Ahmadov also spoke about the growing gap of equality between developed and developing countries, which it is hoped will be eradicated in the frame of 2030 Agenda. “By adopting the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN aims to transform the world by 2030 with a set of goals which offer solutions to almost all global problems.” – he said.
Mr. Ahmedov highlighted that the development strategy of Azerbaijan is in line with the 2030 Agenda and creates new opportunities for synergies between civil society and the government. “The strategy has assigned serious tasks for civil society groups, whose participation is encouraged by the national government. The role of the recently established National Coordination Council is to unite and coordinate all the efforts of the different groups of society on the path towards a sustainable future in Azerbaijan.”- he also said.
Welcoming the participants, Mr. Ghulam M. Isaczai, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Azerbaijan, urged civil society organizations to be more active as a channel to raise awareness and in giving vulnerable groups a voice, as well as being agents of accountability and service delivery, and an indispensable part of the data collection, reporting and monitoring process.
“To represent the interests of everyone, civil society organizations should listen to people and be aware of their needs and concerns. Their biggest role will be in translating the voices of the poorest and most marginalised citizens into rational or strong arguments that are acknowledged and addressed by the local governments.” Mr. Isaczai said.
The other guest speakers, Ms. Elmira Suleymanova, Commissioner for Human Rights and Ombudsperson and Mr. Azay Guliyev, Chairman of the Council on State Support to NGO’s under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan also shared their opinions during the discussion.
The floor was given to NGOs where Mr. Israyil Isgandarov, the Chairperson of “UMID” Support to Social Development Public Union and Mr. Sabit Baghirov, the Chairperson of the Fund for the Support of Development of Entrepreneurship and Market Economy delivered a presentation about the role of NGOs in administration and implementation of sustainable development.
The opening session was followed by an active discussion between NGO representatives and officials in a Davos format where opinions were exchanged on the challenges and opportunities to increase the contribution of civil society towards achieving the SDGs in Azerbaijan.
On October 6th 2016, the President of Azerbaijan signed into decree the establishment the National Coordination Council for Sustainable Development (NCCSD). This marks a significant step towards integrating the SDGs into the national development agenda in the country. The United Nations welcomes this initiative as a commitment to working towards the global goals and is ready to support the Council in its effective implementation of an inclusive process that includes civil society and other segments of Azerbaijani society.