Within the framework of V Baku International Humanitarian Forum, the round table dedicated to the topic of “The Importance of Preserving the Human Capital in Conditions of Mass Migration as a Basis for Sustainable Development” was held on September 30 at the JW Marriott Absheron Baku Hotel.
The round table was led by the Director of the Azerbaijan International Development Agency (AIDA), Ashraf Shikhaliyev and Assistant UN Secretary-General for Humanitarian Partnerships with the Middle East and Central Asia, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Rashid Khalikov. After the welcoming speech of the director of AIDA, a short film on “State care for refugees and internally displaced persons”, presented by the State Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Deals of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, was demonstrated.
In his opening speech, Deputy Prime Minister, Head of the State Committee on Deals of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, Ali Hasanov emphasized the importance of the policy pursued by the Government of Azerbaijan in solving the problems of refugees and internally displaced persons and ensuring their access to education and employment for the preservation of human capital. The opening speeches made by the Vice-president of the Republic of Bulgaria, Margarita Popova, Assistant UN Secretary-General of the United Nations, Cihan Sultanoglu and Assistant UN Secretary-General, Rashid Khalikov noted the importance of the political will to consolidate the efforts of the international community and to promote solidarity in order to overcome the problems of refugees and internally displaced persons.
The first session of the round table titled “Modern mass migration as a result of humanitarian disasters and extreme situations: effects and ways to overcome them (international practice and the Azerbaijani model)” was moderated by Assistant UN Secretary-General Rashid Khalikov. Minister of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mikail Jabbarov was among the speakers of the session and in his speech, he mentioned the special care towards the provision of educational opportunities for the internally displaced persons in Azerbaijan. He stated that according to the decree of the head of state internally displaced persons are exempt from tuition fees at the institutions of higher education. Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Azerbaijan, Salim Muslumov informed the participants about large-scale activities aimed at the solution of social problems of refugees and internally displaced persons. Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, Professor of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Dan Shechtman shared Israeli model as a successful example in the field of integration of refugees to the society.
Chairperson of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, Hijran Huseynova, Commissioner for Human Rights and humanitarian Action of Mauritania, Cheikh Tourad Ould Abdelmalek, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cultural Cooperation, Mikhail Shvydkoy, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Hesham Youssef, Assistant Director General of the International Labour Organization, Heinz Koller, Permanent Observer of the Palestine to the United Nations, Mansour Riyad, the representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Peter Van der Auwaraert, and the representative of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre of Saudi Arabia, Aqeel Alghamdi were among the speakers of the session. They informed the participants of the round table about the activities of their countries and relevant international organizations aimed at improving the living conditions of refugees and internally displaced persons, and stressed the importance of strengthening international cooperation for the timely solution of the existing problems.
The round table went on with the session on “The development of human capital among refugees and internally displaced persons as a catalyst for the recovery of the economy and social life” moderated by the director of AIDA, Ashraf Shikhaliyev. The first speaker of the session, Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Sevinj Hasanova noted that the steps taken by the government to eliminate the problems of internally displaced persons and refugees are implemented systematically with an emphasis on the development of human capital. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, Jose Luis Cancela emphasized the need for strong international cooperation to overcome the existing crises in different parts of the world.
Director of the Institute on Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Member of Parliament, Aytan Mustafazade, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture, Liliya Gumerova, Member of European Parliament, Tomáš Zdechovský, Director of the Office of the Secretary General International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Jagannath Chapagain, Member of the National Assembly of the State of Kuwait, Saud Al Huraiji touched upon the reasons for the problems of mass migration in their speeches and noted that these challenges can be overcome through maintenance of peace and stability in the world.
After the second session, the director of AIDA, Ashraf Shikhaliyev briefed the participants about the activities of the Agency in its 5 year existence and a short movie on the programs and projects of the Agency was demonstrated.
The third session of the round table was dedicated to the “Sustainable development and problems in the education of refugees and internally displaced persons”. The moderator of the session, expert of the Azerbaijan International Development Agency, Hanum Ibrahimova provided comprehensive information about the activities carried out in this field in Azerbaijan. Secretary General of the Black Sea Universities Network, Eden Mamut stated that currently, there is a need for a new approach in the field of education. Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Elmira Suleymanova talked about the successful experience of Azerbaijan in the protection of the rights of migrants. Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs of the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Nikolay Shulga mentioned that despite the crisis in his country, special attention has been paid to the development and promotion of education.
Director of the Institute of Philosophy, Ilham Mammadzadeh, Assistant Professor of Pennsylvania State University, Yael Warshel, Rector of the University of Al-Ummal of Egypt, Abd El Rahman Ali Saad and Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Parliament of Egypt, Mohamed Abdelhay Mohamed Elorabi re-emphasized in their speeches the importance of ensuring access to education for people under any circumstances and the primary role of human capital in achieving the sustainable development.
At the end, the Declaration of the Forum was adopted unanimously.