AHOA CEO: I expect that COP29 shall be the best and most productive COP ever held -



AHOA CEO: I expect that COP29 shall be the best and most productive COP ever held - INTERVIEW



On March 8, the Afrihealth Optonet Association (AHOA), comprising 2,400 NGOs from 106 countries specializing in health, environment, and climate change issues, released a statement of support to Azerbaijan regarding COP29. The statement, signed by Chief Executive Officer of AHOA Uzodinma Adirieje, along with 107 NGOs from 30 countries, who are members and partners of AHOA, also joined the appeal.


Uzodinma Adirieje responded to AZERTAC's questions about AHOA's support for Azerbaijan's dedication and leadership in global action on climate change. AZERTAC presents the interview.


- Azerbaijan attaches great importance to international cooperation in combatting climate change and other issues. The decision to hold COP29 in Azerbaijan is evidence of the international community’s strong support for our country’s position on these issues. With its statement, AHOA also expressed its support for Azerbaijan. We would like to hear your opinion on this.


- Afrihealth Optonet Association (AHOA)’s message of support is very apt and timely, and it’s very significant that the global Civil Society as represented by AHOA is engaging in the COP29 Azerbaijan process early enough in its planning stages.


As we approach the 29th UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP29) to be held in Azerbaijan, the leadership and members/partners of Afrihealth Optonet Association (AHOA) extend our heartfelt support to the COP29 Presidency and Azerbaijan, the host country as they undertake the crucial task of guiding the global community towards a sustainable and resilient future.


While AHOA deeply concerned about the pressing environmental challenges facing our planet, we are inspired by the expressed dedication and leadership demonstrated by both the COP29 Presidency and Azerbaijan in advancing climate action on the international stage. The urgency of addressing climate change cannot be overstated. We are at a critical juncture where bold and decisive actions are needed to mitigate the impacts of climate change, protect vulnerable communities/populations, and preserve our precious ecosystems for future generations. In this regard, AHOA is pleased to note the commitment of COP29 Presidency and host country in fostering dialogue, cooperation, and innovation is of paramount importance.


We are optimistic that Azerbaijan, with its rich cultural heritage and diverse natural landscapes, is not only a custodian of invaluable ecological treasures but also a proactive advocate for climate change and environmental stewardship. Through initiatives such as “Troika - Mission 1.5”, Azerbaijan has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to sustainable development in climate resilience and we are persuaded that the Country shall build and improve on the successes made in COP28. Afrihealth Optonet Association (AHOA) is very optimistic that Azerbaijan will initiate making strong and important decisions in climate change negotiations during COP29.


- What are your expectations from COP29, which is set to be held in Azerbaijan?


I expect that COP29 shall be the best and most productive COP ever held, and be a big improvement on the COP28 Dubai.


We expect that COP29 will look beyond adaptation and mitigation to address the causes and prevention of the climate crises; including how chemical pollution and wastes from the industrialized world are daily instigating the climate crises in developing countries, leading to very rapidly devastating consequences for health and environment.


- In your opinion, what issues should be prioritized at COP29, particularly in the health sector?


- Among other issues, COP29 should prioritize the ending the climate challenges posed by chemical pollution, industrial and military wastes; and request that entities generating these wastes and pollutions take full responsibilities for managing them within their own environments without exporting them to other populations that have very little capacity to manage their impacts on health and human lives. We know that indigenous communities living near industrial and military waste dumps, industrial sites or agricultural areas may be exposed to harmful chemicals and pesticides, leading to adverse health effects such as respiratory problems, neurological disorders, and reproductive issues. Livestock may also be affected by exposure to toxic chemicals through contaminated water sources or feed. Chemical pollution harms health through contamination of air, water, soil, and food, leading to diseases and ecological damage.


Chemical pollution also poses significant risks to human health and the environment, highlighting the importance of implementing pollution control measures, promoting sustainable practices, and advocating for policies that prioritize public health and environmental protection; as part of the measures to address climate change effectively.


- In general, as the CEO of the Afrihealth Optonet Association (AHOA), what environmental and climate change issues of the continent you represent would you like to call for action in 2024 when COP29 will be held?


- We know that environmental contaminations of water, soil and air, are accelerated by climate change. The increase in temperature and the variability of precipitation directly influence the proliferation of contamination levels. With climate change, the levels of several gases in the atmosphere is disbalanced and many toxic gases are formed, thus increasing environmental pollution. The adverse effects of climate change can lead to destruction of the ozone layer, makes the air to polluted, thus negatively affect human health and environmental ecosystem/biodiversity.


The importance of promoting universal access to photovoltaic renewable energy to prevent climate change and environmental degradation, cannot be over emphasized. All hands must be on deck to raise awareness and promote education about climate change, its impacts, and solutions; in order to engage and empower individuals, communities, businesses, and governments to take action. COP29 must seek to foster a global culture of sustainability, environmental stewardship, and climate resilience through well-resourced public outreaches, education campaigns, and capacity-building initiatives. And all development projects must be preceded by diligently implemented Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, as a condition precedent.




The Afrihealth Optonet Association (AHOA) is a global civil society Network and Think-tank with focus on health and sustainable development. With the experience, resources, and reach of its 2,400 member organizations from 106 countries, and the input of the experts and stakeholders in its Google Group of 40,000 members, AHOA has become a third-sector global player, partner, project/programme developer, implementer, monitor and reporter on the measures needed to achieve and safeguard them.


AHOA is in Consultative Status at UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and an Accredited Observer status at the UNEP/UNEA.