Mr. Ali Ahmadov [Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Chairman of the National Coordination Council on Sustainable Development],
Ms. Inga Rhonda King [President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)],
Mr. Rashid Khalikov [Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations],
Mr. Shahin Mustafayev [Minister of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan],
Mr. Sahil Babayev [Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Azerbaijan],
Mr. Rastislav Vrbensky [Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS]
My UN Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the United Nations office in Azerbaijan, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you and especially those who have come a long way to this important forum and the beautiful city of Baku.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank the National Coordination Council for SD under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister, Ali Ahmadov for its partnership with the UNCT in organizing this regional forum.
I would like to begin my remarks by congratulating all of us on the United Nations Day. Yesterday 24 October, the United Nations commemorated the 73rd anniversary of the adoption of its Charter in 1945.
On this Day, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his message calls on us to never “give up” eradicating poverty, addressing climate change, respecting human rights and working for peace.
In his message, he reaffirms United Nations commitment “to repair broken trust, to heal our planet, to leave no one behind, and to uphold dignity for one and all.”
When the Charter of the United Nations was signed 73 years ago, one of its stated aims was to “promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom”.
It was in this spirit that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted. This year we are also commemorating the 70th Anniversary of this historic document.
It is these basic texts that have inspired and prompted the millennium declaration and the adoption of the 2030 Agenda.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Very soon four years will have passed since the adoption of the 2030 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Without further elaboration, I would like to leave you with the following messages:
It is time to go beyond talking and advocating but taking bold and concrete actions towards achieving the SDGs. We have only 12 years left.
And part of that action is that countries must come up with their national 2030 vision and roadmaps and integrate SDGs in their planning and budgetary frameworks.
Governments must do more to enlist the commitment and ownership of the 2030 agenda among the Business community, scientific community, media, and civil society organizations in order to combine policy action with innovation, scalability, and investments in SDGs acceleration.
To assess progress and strengthen SDGs monitoring, we need to do more to bring massive improvements in SDG related data collection including disaggregation, analysis and reporting. In this regard, we commend Azerbaijan’s commitment and seriousness in nationalizing the 2030 agenda and in working with the UNCT in Azerbaijan to achieving these goals.
Azerbaijan was one of the first countries in the region to submit its first Voluntary National Review report to the High Level Political Forum in NY and received a UN-led MAPS mission to help it identify its policy options. A second VNR is under preparation with the UN support.
Azerbaijan is also the first to country to come up with a set of principles for its SDGs nationalization efforts, which is known as the Baku Principles. And, we hope to adopt these Baku Principals at the end of this forum tomorrow.
In conclusion, I hope this forum will bring greater discussion among us and foster exchange of experiences and knowledge at the regional level on finding ways and means for accelerating progress towards 2030 agenda in the region.
Thank you very much!