SPEECH BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE UNDP MRS. HELEN CLARK
Excellency Mr. President,
Excellency First Lady,
Excellencies Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to represent United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at this opening of the IV International Humanitarian Forum. At the outset, let me thank his Excellency, the President of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, for convening today’s Forum which provides an important opportunity for an exchange of ideas on a wide range of issues.
In my brief address today I would like to comment on UNDP’s work with Azerbaijan aimed at promoting human development, and on a number of the initiatives developed to that end here which are very innovative. As Azerbaijan steps up its South-South Co-operation, UNDP will be delighted to partner with the country in sharing its knowledge and expertise with others who are seeking solutions to challenges similar to those which Azerbaijan has been tackling.Azerbaijan has been endowed with large reserves of valuable natural resources. History tells us, however, that while the extraction of such resources may significantly raise Gross Domestic Product per capita, it does not necessarily lift either government revenues or the level of human development. Translating natural resource wealth into wealth for the country and greater human development requires deliberate public policy decisions which will achieve those ends. Azerbaijan has made significant decisions in this respect.
In September 1994, Azerbaijan signed what has been called the `Contract of the Century’ - a “production-sharing agreement” with a consortium of foreign oil companies. From the profits of this initial agreement to develop the country’s Caspian oil reserves, Azerbaijan was to receive eighty per cent of the profits.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Azerbaijan and its partners on the twentieth anniversary celebration of the Contract of the Century that took place here in Baku on 20 September. This was celebrated with the Southern Gas Corridor groundbreaking ceremony for the new pipeline which will bring Azerbaijani gas reserves all the way to Europe.
This Contract opened up major new opportunities for Azerbaijan’s development. As for other resource-rich countries, it was also a time for reflection – on how Azerbaijan’s wealth could contribute to lifting human development.
More than a decade ago, UNDP helped Azerbaijan shape the concept of turning its “Black Gold to Human Gold”. The initiative focused on developing an internationally competitive non-oil sector, and developing and strengthening the capacities of people. Over the years, Azerbaijan has seen a drastic reduction in the level of poverty, new investments in social services, the establishment of a social security system, and rising salaries.
The concept of “Black Gold to Human Gold” remains as relevant now as it was when it was launched. Continuing to lift human development will be critical for the achievement of Azerbaijan’s national development strategy, Vision 2020. At UNDP we are fully committed to supporting Azerbaijan in taking this vision forward.
The Millennium Development Goals have remained relevant for Azerbaijan, with challenges still around the goals for gender equality and women’s empowerment and a number of the health and environmental targets. As it is likely that the unfinished business of the MDGs will carry over into the post-2015 global development agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals expected to be adopted by world leaders next September will also be relevant to Azerbaijan, and will contain new challenges too, given the emphasis UN Member States are placing on ensuring that no one gets left behind in development and that human development is pursued in a manner compatible with environmental sustainability.
Azerbaijan is well placed to share its development experiences with other countries through South-South and Triangular Co-operation. Indeed, UNDP and Azerbaijan have already partnered on support provided by the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies here to its Afghanistan counterpart through the UNDP offices in Baku and Kabul.
Last year, in the Plenary Session of this Forum, the former President of Turkey, Suleyman Demirel, emphasized that the Black Gold to Human Gold initiative could serve as a model for other countries to explore. At UNDP, we agree, and we see many other possibilities for sharing Azerbaijan’s innovations too.
- UNDP has welcomed the establishment of the ASAN Service Center – a one-stop shop for access to public documentation. Since its establishment, the service provided by ASAN has significantly reduced waiting times and costs for people wanting to obtain documents like birth certificates, permits, and public services. This increases the efficiency of the public service, and reduces opportunities for corruption. This approach has been a great success here in Azerbaijan, and will be of interest to other countries seeking to modernize their public services. UNDP co-operated with ASAN on formulating its longer term strategy. I will have the pleasure of visiting the Center tomorrow.
- The country’s new pension system administration is another excellent example of Azerbaijan’s innovative approaches. UNDP was pleased to work on this initiative which has set up one of the world’s most modern pension system administrations. Payments are made to 99 per cent of pensioners electronically, and state-of-the-art IT systems have been installed to achieve that. This is a remarkable achievement, which other countries may well wish to emulate.
Azerbaijan also has unique experiences to share in areas as wide-ranging as e-governance, mine clearance, oil revenue management, and youth policies and programmes. Let me add how pleased the United Nations Office of the Secretary- General’s Envoy on Youth, UNDP, and UNESCO are to be co-conveners of the First Global Forum on Youth Policies here in Baku with the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Council of Europe. We are also highly appreciative of Azerbaijan being an early funder of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Youth Envoy,
UNDP welcomes the initiative of the Government of Azerbaijan to establish the Azerbaijan International Development Agency (AIDA) to manage its development assistance. We will be very happy to work with AIDA as it builds its capacity and as a partner with it in providing development co-operation. We note a number of contributions which Azerbaijan has already made to other countries, including for disaster relief, and to UNESCO programmes.
We believe that engaging in South-South and Triangular Co-operation will be of benefit to both partner countries and to Azerbaijan itself. It will strengthen bonds between countries and between specialists and experts across borders, providing a strong basis for future co-operation. It will position Azerbaijan as a centre of excellence in specific areas, which will ultimately also add to its capacity for export of a wider range of goods and services.UNDP, with its global network of Country Offices and its programming in more than 170 countries, is uniquely placed to facilitate South-South and Triangular Co-operation. We are excited about the potential to work alongside Azerbaijan as it develops its international partnerships further, in the interests of sharing innovative approaches to human development, including through ICTs, and modernized public administration.
Once again, I thank the Government of Azerbaijan for the invitation to attend this Forum, and I wish all participants a very successful Forum
- welcoming the creation of the Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism;
- taking into account the growing significance of international humanitarian cooperation and effective partnership in this sphere in ensuring harmonious, sustainable development and the elimination and prevention of political and military conflicts proliferating throughout the world;
- considering as part of a broad exchange of opinions, such problems as:
- drawing attention to the fact that stimulating the economy by constantly increasing demand contradicts the principles of sustainable development and is already coming up against serious resource, ethical and humanitarian restrictions and leading to irreversible global ecological consequences;
- seeking to make our contribution to ensuring long-term sustainable development, founded on contemporary knowledge, human potential and the principles of ecological civilization;
- recognizing that in conditions of globalization our common future can be shaped through the effective, scientifically based mobilization, in accordance with humanitarian ethical principles, of the whole intellectual, cultural, social human potential and natural diversity existing on our planet;
- taking into account that effective responses to the challenges of the 21st century require the broad integration of contemporary scientific and traditional knowledge with information technology and for them to be made universally accessible on the global and national level;
- underlining the special role of civil society and the mass media in raising the information level in society and expanding participation in the planning and achievement of objectives in the sphere of humanitarian development;
- calling upon political, cultural and academic elites, international organizations and representatives of civil society and the mass media to strengthen further humanitarian cooperation in order to ensure the sustainability of development;
- realizing that under conditions of limited resources, their best use on the principles of sustainable development and humanitarian ethics should be built on achievements already made;
- realizing that under conditions of limited resources, their best use on the principles of sustainable development and humanitarian ethics should be built on achievements already made;
- considering as part of a broad exchange of opinions, such problems as:
- Comparative research into multiculturalism: from theory to humanitarian practice
- Media transformation in the digital age: new development trends
- The role of interdisciplinary integration in innovative development
- Sustainable development and ecological civilization
- Challenges of globalization: between tradition and transformation
- Molecular biology and biotechnology in the 21st century: theory, practice, prospects
- Converging technologies and outlines of the future: landmark challenges of the 21st century
- Humanism as a basic value in the postmodern era
- we note that the expansion and further development of international humanitarian cooperation is the key factor in an effective response to contemporary challenges and threats and enables the accessibility and expanded application of contemporary management and production technologies, ensuring the well-being of present and future generations;
- we recognize that the Baku Humanitarian Forum, traditionally held on the initiative of the Republic of Azerbaijan, constitutes an important contribution to the development of multiculturalism, based on humanitarian practice as the basic value of the post-modern era;
- we bear witness that a range of countries, including the Republic of Azerbaijan, have achieved significant progress in recent years in the planning and management of sustainable development which has been reflected in the figures and reports of international organizations;
- we pay special attention to the need for further development of international cooperation to transform society from a society of consumption into a humanitarian society of consumption on the basis of sensible sufficiency, as well as to achieve a way of life that meets the demands of ecological civilization;
- we recognize the importance of the application of nano- and bio-technologies, based on the latest scientific achievements, and the convergence of contemporary and traditional technologies to ensure food and medicinal security, raise the quality of life and achieve the human potential for longevity;
- we acknowledge that the development of human potential through the integration of the latest knowledge and skills, including interdisciplinary, in a programme of continuing education, as well as the expansion of cooperation in this sphere, are the key humanitarian components of sustainable development;
- we note the ever growing role of the mass media and civil society in achieving the goals of humanitarian development through increased awareness and expanded participation in the humanization of development;
- we call on the various international and national structures specializing in humanitarian development systematically to hold forums, conferences and round tables aimed at creating an atmosphere of tolerance, mutual respect and resolving contemporary global and local challenges;
- we note the need for such forums to be held annually and express our profound gratitude to the President and government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and all the organizers of the Baku International Humanitarian Forum for holding this major, productive event;
- we consider it necessary to pass this declaration and to make use of it to strengthen cooperation in humanitarian development.
Summary of speeches by participants of the plenary session
IV Baku International Humanitarian Forum proceeded with plenary session after official opening ceremony on October 2.
Azad RAHIMOV, Minister of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan was chairing the first part of the session which was attended by former presidents. He spoke about the measures taken towards the development of humanitarian field in the country during the years of independence. The Minister also mentioned that multicultural dialogue platform had already been established in Azerbaijan.
Arnold RÜÜTEL, former President of Estonia touched upon existing ecological problems in the world, emphasized the concern caused by the reduction of flora and fauna species. He also said that in recent years the number of poor countries in the world was increasing and that led to serious problems such as social inequality. Arnold Rüütel talked about actions implemented for achieving ecological balance and contributions made to global cultural diversity.
Stjepan MESIC, former President of Croatia spoke about the issue of restoring faith among nations. He added that terrorism actions occurring in the international community were unacceptable and restoration of relations based on faith became necessity. Stjepan Mesic condemned cases of violence and supported peaceful solutions of controversial issues.
Valdis ZATLERS, former President of Latvia drew attention to the achievement of goals defined in the previous Forum. As to him the ground of tension in the world is not a religion but other reasons and he added that wars were threat for peace. From this aspect, the guest emphasized the importance of peaceful settlement of Nagorno Karabagh conflict.
Vytautas LANDSBERGIS, former President of Lithuania highlighted the peace –as a basic idea of Baku Humanitarian Forum and said that although Azerbaijan faced fact of invasion, it still demonstrated ideas of establishing stable state.
Enrico LETTA, former President of the Council of Ministers of Italy talked about development of relations between countries and importance of Forum. Mentioning the relationships of EU with South Caucasian region Enrico Letto expressed his opinion that economic and social cooperation with Azerbaijan should be expanded. He expressed his certainty about holding the first European Games in high level in our country and said: “We are very delighted that Azerbaijan takes parts in European partnership.”
Sheikha Fariha Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al SABAH, President of the Kuwait Association for the Ideal Family noted that our country was in the center of attention of the world experiencing crisis and the formula of gaining accomplishments in such a world was being observed in Azerbaijan.
Hadil Fontes da Rocha VIANNA, Vice Minister for Cooperation, Culture and Trade Promotion, Ministry of External Relations of Brazil, expressed his gratitude for the invitation to the Forum. Vice Minister spoke about the work carried out in the field of cultural diversity and accentuated the essence of cultural pluralism for each country.
Gabriela CUEVAS, Senator, President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate, touching upon the importance of debated issues stated that world union should strive for solution of existing conflicts through negotiations; norms and principles of international law should be preserved. He particularly noted the necessity of unifying efforts against terrorism.
H.E. Mr. Mohamed Sameh AMR, Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO, expressed his gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev for the high-level organization of Forum. He mentioned that UNESCO had pursued ideas of humanism since its establishment and appreciated maintenance of world cultural diversity as a profound criterion. He emphasized that aims of Baku Forum overlapped with those of UNESCO.
Akif ALIZADE, Academician and President of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences was chairing the 2nd part of the session and said that it was a great platform in terms of bringing well-known scientists, politicians from all parts of the world together.
Erwin NEHER, Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology and Medicine noted that by accomplishing profound achievements in the fields of chemistry, biotechnology, and physiology in recent years great results were obtained towards the elimination of regenerative diseases. He emphasized that serious researches were conducted during last decade and China, USA, and Japan held enormous projects associated with the investigation of human brain.
Rudolph Arthur MARCUS, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry drew attention to the fact that because of inequality in welfare of people in the world our modern community suffered from different adversities. He added that for eliminating this problem, great projects in the field of science, education, and medicine should be carried out in relatively less developed countries.
Kary Banks MULLİS, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry said that precluding diseases, problems in the modern world was critical issue for scientists. He also mentioned that remaining of environmental problems, wars, hatred among people, violence and other crimes led world to the catastrophe gradually.
Rudolf Martin ZİNKERNAGEL, Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine stated that human physiology should be learned deeply for perceiving problems occurring in the world. From this viewpoint, qualified primary education, educating young and well-educated teachers is intensely essential. It is overall necessary for the protection of human life.
Robert Betts LAUGHLIN, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics said that in our modern world computer technology prevailed over physical human features. He stressed that it was already time to contemplate about hazards of electronic revolution.
Kurt WÜTHRICH, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry expressed his proud to speak at the beautiful architectural monument Heyder Aliyev Center. He said that as a result of implementation of different scientific inventions of various centuries important achievements were obtained in the field of economy, medicine, technology, etc.
Finn KYDLAND, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics expressed his delight for being in Baku for the fourth time and spoke about the steps taken by the states to overcome crisis and its impacts. As to him world economic crisis made states encounter with the obligation of defining precise predictions related to economic development.
David Jonathan GROSS, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics stated that the problems that threaten humanity can only be resolved by joint efforts of the world community. Disputes should not be settled by force. History shows that all conflicts result in terrible human lost. The scientist mentioned that cases of chauvinism and violence have often been observed in recent years which cause big difficulties. We have to join our efforts to deal with such negative cases.
Theodor Wolfgang HÄNSCH, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics stressed that Azerbaijan attached great importance to humanitarian values. “I am glad that today we witness the transfer of “black gold” to human capital” – he said. He also mentioned about rapid development in the field of technology and appreciated the trends of scientific circles to direct their resources to this field.
George Fitzgerald SMOOT, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics said that we had to protect our planet both for ourselves and for future generations and should be aware of the impacts we had on environment. Sustainable development pursued by the governments in economy should be provided in the field of environmental protection.
Mrs. Ada YONATH, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry expressed her gratitude for invitation to the Forum and hospitality she witnessed in our country. In her speech, she talked about human longevity and mentioned about successes gained against various diseases due to development of medicine. She also stressed that serious researches were being conducted towards the gradual change of genetic code.
Peter Arthur DIAMOND, Nobel Prize Winner in Economic Sciences talked about employment. He stated that job made person feel internal satisfaction along with causing income. He stressed the importance of diversification of the employments policies by the governments to defend economy against crises. P.Diamond evaluated the transfer of manpower from one field to another and the large number of competent people with leadership skills in each sector as an important factor in the solution of employment problem.
Thomas Christian SUDHOF, Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine appreciated contribution of multiculturalism to the development of science and stated that the role of science is to spread and promote human values. He stressed the importance of the roles of scohlars in pragmatic decision-making and reasoning process, espaecially trust of policy makers in scientific circles.
Arieh WARSHEL, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry talked about positive impact of scientific achievement on society. The scientist pointed out that human life would be better due to significant scientific achievements.
Akif Alizade mentioned the establishment of the Institute of Biophysics attached to the ANAS and thanked George Fitzgerald Smoot, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics for his cooperation with our country in this field.
At the end of the plenary session, Akif Alizade appreciated the importance of the participation of the renowned scientists and Nobel Prize Winners in the Forum and their speeches in terms of significant contribution to Azerbaijan and world science.
In the third part of the session, the reports of the chairpersons of the “round tables” to be held in the VI Baku International Humanitarian Forum.
Chairperson Mikayil JABBAROV, Ministry of Education welcomed the guests and spoke about the importance of the Forum held in Baku for the fourth time. The Minister said that statements made both in the official part and plenary meeting of the Forum would constitute key topics of the “round tables” to be held on October 3. Speaking about important measures taken in the fields of science and education in our country in recent years Minister Mikayil Jabbarov stressed that substantial reforms had been carried out in this direction in Azerbaijan and state strategy on the development of education had been adopted in the previous year.
Antonio VILLARAIGOSA, Former Speaker of the California State Assembly, former Mayor of Los Angeles spoke about issues to be discussed in the round table “Comparative Research into Multiculturalism: from Theory to Humanitarian Practice” chaired by him. He emphasized that multiculturalism affected a great number of life processes and crisis appeared in this field caused very complicated problems. A. Villaraigosa stated that humanitarian issues, particularly those relating to multiculturalism were current issues of our time. Azerbaijan is a multinational, multicultural country. The positive atmosphere here is sought in many parts of world.
Mikhail GUSMAN, First Deputy Director General of ITAR- TASS Russia News Agency, chairperson of the round table “Media Transformation in the Digital Age: New Development Trends” in his speech stated that Azerbaijan was his native country and he felt very happy of being there: “I have attended the first Forum as well. The Forum has obviously improved and enriched thenceforth. I am sure that Baku International Humanitarian Forum will exceed Davos Economic Forum in future for its significance”. M. Gusman pointed out the issues to be discussed in the round table, including problems of the modern media, the role of mass media in the digital era, and some other current issues.
Eden MAMUT, Secretary General of the Black Sea Universities Network in Romania will chair the round table “The Role of Interdisciplinary Integration in Innovative Development”. He stressed the importance of the measures taken towards the development of modern science and expanding the educational opportunities all over the world. He mentioned that 21 reports of the specialists from various countries would be heard in the round table and a number of issues on the topic would be highlighted.
John LAWRENCE, Adjunct Professor of Columbia University informed about the issues to be discussed in the round table “Sustainable Development and Ecological Civilization” chaired by him. Speaking about the importance of the ecological civilization American scholar pointed out that human development index was very important in the modern world: “This index is in fact regarded very simple. Some countries, including Azerbaijan has changed its standards on the basis of this.
Hikmet KOÇAK, Rector of Ataturk University, Turkey, Professor stated that the round table “Challenges of Globalization: between Tradition and Transformation” to be chaired by him would deal with rather philosophical debates. He mentioned that the model of human being and society appeared in the process of globalization and every individual should contribute to the development of society.
Karol SIKORA, Chief Medical Officer of the Cancer Partners UK pointed out that the round table “Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in the 21st Century: Theory, Practice, Prospects” would cover the recent achievements, future and problems of the medical science. He said that revolutionary breakthrough was being observed in technology. “If we can study the direction of movement of the molecules causing cancer, we will be able to diagnose at the initial stage”- he stated.
Ivan VIDENOVICH Program Management Officer, Department of Technical Cooperation of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), chairperson of the round table “Converging Technologies and Outlines of the Future: Landmark Challenges of the 21st Century” stated that development of educational sector was closely connected with that of communication and high information technologies. Approximately 60 representatives from 19 countries, including three Nobel Prize Winners would participate in our round table. “Azerbaijan is the country interested in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Azerbaijani scientists will touch upon this issue in their speeches”.
Walter SCHWIMMER, Former Secretary General of the Council of Europe emphasized that the round table “Humanism as a Basic Value in the Postmodern Era” chaired by him would be devoted to a very important and urgent topic. He stated that the round table would consider the increasing need for the shift of values in the postmodern era. “Azerbaijan also suffers from the long-standing conflict. Sustainable peace in the Caucasus is of the greatest importance for the region”.
At the end of the session, Minister M. Jabbarov expressed his gratitude to the participants and wished them good luck.