“One of the strongest advocates of multilateralism in the contemporary international relations system is the Non-Aligned Movement. We look forward to hosting the next Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, which will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 25-26 October 2019,” Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov said in his speech at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, ONA reports.
“Throughout its history, the Non-Alignment Movement has played a fundamental role in strengthening international peace and security by promoting adherence to the Bandung Principles. The chairmanship of Azerbaijan will provide another impetus for advancing the founding principles of the Movement, the 65th anniversary of which will be celebrated in 2020.
As we continue our path of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we need to regularly test ourselves to identify the extent to which we are delivering on our commitments. Sustainable efforts backed by adequate resources are essential to secure a bright future for our people and ensure that no one is left behind. Yesterday, Azerbaijan became a member of the Group of 77 and stands ready to actively contribute to its work on ensuring sustainable development through the promotion of economic cooperation.
Azerbaijan has maintained its sustainable economic growth and continued its consistent efforts to improve the living standards of our citizens.
Through successful implementation of economic development programs, over the last 15 years, Azerbaijan’s economy has developed at a record pace on a global scale with an increase of Gross Domestic Product by 3.3 times. During the same period, industrial production has grown by 2.6 times, exports by 4.7 times and foreign exchange reserves by 24 times amounting up to $45 billion.
Social sphere has always been in the spotlight. This year the Government adopted a social package that covers more than 4 million people out of 10 million populated countries. Investments in the social sphere over the last 15 years resulted in the poverty rate in the country to be reduced from 49% in 2004 to less than 5% in 2019. Over the same period, the unemployment rate has dropped from 10.6% to less than 5%.
The 2019 World Bank’s Doing Business report lists Azerbaijan in the top 10 most reforming countries in the world. The favorable business climate in the country brought about $250 billion investment to the Azerbaijani economy over the last 15 years, half of which attributed to foreign investments.
Azerbaijan contributes to regional development efforts through promoting connectivity, bringing together continents and creating a platform for mutually beneficial cooperation. Despite being a landlocked country, Azerbaijan has transformed into an important international transportation hub.
Azerbaijan attaches particular importance to the promotion of cultural diversity. All ethnic and religious groups live in Azerbaijan in peace and harmony. In recent years we have hosted several major global events and launched a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening dialogue and mutual understanding. Among such initiatives is the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, which has been recognized by the General Assembly and the Secretary-General as a key global platform for promoting intercultural dialogue.
Having one of the youngest age distributions among the European countries, the Government places special emphasis to the full realization of the future generation’s potential by offering them quality education and decent job opportunities. A new employment strategy of Azerbaijan for 2019-2030 has set 13 targets for 2030. These targets aim to reduce unemployment among young people, improve vocational education and training, and increase employment in Small and Medium Enterprises.
Azerbaijan continues to strive in ensuring gender equality and empowering women in public and social life. I am pleased to announce that we are currently developing a national action plan for the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security.
As an emerging donor country, Azerbaijan continues to render international humanitarian and development assistance to a number of countries through the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Azerbaijan International Development Agency. Particular attention is being paid to addressing the needs of the developing and least developed countries.
The existential threat of climate change is becoming more real with every hurricane, wildfire, and centimeter of sea-level rise. Azerbaijan is highly sensitive to the effects of climate change and is already facing its negative impacts, such as floods, droughts, heat stresses, and others.
Azerbaijan is a party to major international agreements on climate action, including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. The national policies and strategies have been adapted to be in line with those international instruments. The Government has taken important steps to bring carbon dioxide emissions to a minimum and has pledged to reduce it by 35 percent by 2030.”