President of UN GA: 'I hope that COP29 to be held in Azerbaijan will be successful and memorable' - INTERVIEW



President of UN GA: 'I hope that COP29 to be held in Azerbaijan will be successful and memorable' - INTERVIEW

Azerbaijan's chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement ("NAM") is set to conclude, poised to hand over its chairing role to Uganda at the 19th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement scheduled for January 19–20, 2024. Under Azerbaijan's leadership since 2019, the NAM has made remarkable progress, becoming an impactful international player that amplifies the voice of its 120 member countries. Azerbaijan, during its chairmanship, initiated several measures to coordinate cooperation among member states, strengthen the values of multilateralism and international cooperation, and revitalize the institution.


Dennis Francis, the President of the 78th Session of the General Assembly, shared insights with the US Bureau of Report regarding Azerbaijan's accomplishments during its NAM presidency. Additionally, he addressed questions on many important issues related to Azerbaijan and the UN.


- Mr. President, thank you for giving me the opportunity today to ask my questions to you. Azerbaijan leaves behind a significant legacy as the NAM chair after four years. During its tenure, Azerbaijan played a crucial role in enhancing the movement's international standing, particularly by leading global efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you assess Azerbaijan's contribution to the NAM during its chairmanship?


- First of all, I would like to congratulate the government of Azerbaijan for its extraordinary leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). I know that a lot of work has been done by the government of Azerbaijan to further strengthen the NAM, and we need a strong NAM in the system. To that end, I know that Azerbaijan has hosted a series of meetings, including the NAM Ministerial meeting last year in July in Baku, which was quite a success. So, kudos to the government of Azerbaijan as a strong partner and an effective leader of the Non-Aligned Movement.


- Mr. President, as you mentioned, under Azerbaijan's chairmanship, significant steps were taken for the further institutional development of the NAM. Initiatives such as the establishment of the NAM Parliamentary Network and the NAM Youth Organization were introduced. Additionally, President Ilham Aliyev proposed creating the NAM Women Platform. Could you please share your perspective on these developments?


- At this juncture in the 21st century, some buzzwords exist in the UN system. Two of them in particular are inclusion and transparency, that is bringing more and more people into the system, that they participate in the formulation of policies and in the making of decisions by the United Nations. It was very consistent with the philosophy of the UN, and this reinvigorated the working method of the UN. To engage with stakeholders across the spectrum in order to produce decisions and outcomes that adequately respond to the wishes and values of the people. In that regard, the government of Azerbaijan has been instrumental in establishing the NAM Parliamentary Network, which is an important and democratic development that engages parliamentarians and political leaders across the spectrum. As well as the Women's Network. As you may know, gender equality is an important dimension of the work of the UN and, in particular, of my presidency. You notice I'm wearing a pin with a woman. This is the UN Women's Pin, and it's set against the background of these sustainable development goals. Because we believe in the UN, women have an equal role to play in sustainable development. We are promoting that with great gusto and energy. The contribution that Azerbaijan has made in creating these new additional platforms for engagement, discussion, and refinement of important policy measures has added significant value to the thrust of stakeholder engagement in the UN.


-I remember your impactful speech at the II Baku Forum on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). That forum was a precise demonstration of Azerbaijan's attention to sustainability and its immense efforts to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, there are a lot of infrastructure and green energy projects going on in different parts of Azerbaijan, including Karabakh. How do you assess the role of Azerbaijan in achieving the UN SDG goals?


- All member states of the United Nations need to heighten both their commitment and their performance in advancing rapidly towards the 2030 agenda. Unfortunately, progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals has been significantly slower than we had hoped for. But it is interesting and, in fact, exciting for me to learn that Azerbaijan has invested a lot of time and effort in the sort of greening of its territory. Its commitment to green development and sustainability will create dividends not just for Azerbaijan but for the entire global community. Because, as you know, the effects of climate change require all countries to contribute in proportion to their capacity. Azerbaijan's leadership in this area is, I think, welcome and timely given that the threats are becoming more and more strong and the evidence of climate change is becoming increasingly harsh. We've seen it, and we are seeing it with the last year, net 2023, being the hottest year on record. We're surpassing the previous record of 2016. It's time to act, and act decisively. I welcome and applaud Azerbaijan for its action on sustainability.