December 9, 2005

An Agreement of Cooperation signed between Heydar Aliyev Foundation and UNDP

Agreement was signed on December 9 between UNDP and Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

Opening the ceremony, executive director of the Foundation Anar Elekberov said the cooperative agreement and project document will be signed between the two bodies on assurance of access to information and communication technologies for blind and visually impaired people. 

The documents were signed by Mehriban Aliyeva, President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, MP, and Marco Borsotti, UN Resident-coordinator to Azerbaijan. 

After the documents were signed Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva delivered a speech: 

- Dear Mr Borsotti! 

Dear ladies and gentlemen! 

Today very important agreement was signed between Heydar Aliyev Foundation and UNDP. The project ensuring access of blind and visually impaired people in our country to information and communication technologies is already in the beginning of implementation. 

320,000 invalids live in Azerbaijan. 40,000 of them are blind and visually impaired. The project will return these people back to the life, widen their possibilities to receive knowledge and information through information communications, lift their employment, in general, improve lifestyle of these people. This agreement is the first cornerstone of cooperation between Heydar Aliyev Foundation and UNDP. From the first day of its establishment Heydar Aliyev Foundation pays very big care and attention to the weakest sections of the society. Our activity that is open to all proves this. Programs such as 'Highest care to diabetes-affected children', Life without thalassemia', New school to new Azerbaijan', 'Development of children homes and boarding schools' were implemented within a short time, due to which thousands of people were helped, care about orphan children lifted, important social problems settled. Just because of this activity Heydar Aliyev Foundation possesses a great sympathy in Azerbaijan and plays significant role in public life of the country. 

Today Heydar Aliyev Foundation appears in international arena, commences to the common activity with UN, the most prestigious organization in the world. I am sure the project we are starting today will result in very big success, the gained experience will assist to the new strategy developed for enlarging the opportunities of blind and visually impaired people. 

Lastly, I express my deep gratitude to all the people involved in the project, employees of the Foundation, UNDP and personally to Mr Borsotti. Thanks a lot. 

Then UN Resident-coordinator to Azerbaijan Mr Marco Borsotti gave a speech: 

- Dear Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva! 

Dear ladies and gentlemen! 

I think this day is very remarkable for every employee and specialist working in UN. Because as UN we took very important step with Heydar Aliyev Foundation. Necessary services will be rendered due to this to the blind and visually impaired people. Implementation in a number of countries of different actions in direction of removing the digital difference is an important issue for UNDP. We attach big importance to the interest shown to this issue by dear Heydar Aliyev first and then by Mr President Ilham Aliyev. Participation of Azerbaijan in the last conference in Tunis was a proof to its enormous interest to this field. The major goal and major summary here was that everyone in such a developing country should be paid attention. Implementation of this project will serve not Azerbaijan only. It will be a big sample for other countries as well. I am fully sure this project will be very effective, give positive results and we will strengthen our ties and cooperation in next directions. 

Coming to the end of my speech I want to tell Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva that the reason why we go in this direction and why we are here is just the glances of Mrs Aliyeva. Thank You so much. 

After the ceremony of signing, executive director of the Foundation Anar Elekberov informed the journalists the signed agreement projects have been developed in accordance with the obligation taken in UN Millennium Declaration by the heads of states and governments on assurance of access of everyone to the new technologies, specially information and communication technologies and National ICT Strategy of Republic of Azerbaijan. This project will be realized in three phases. The first phase includes the preparation of the specific program project to find out needs of blind and visually impaired people to ICT and remove the digital difference for them. For this, polls, discussions must be held, experiences exchanged, types of appliances that will be purchased determined. 

In the second stage, the works will be done towards the creation of model ICT classroom in the boarding school for blind and visually impaired people. Main tasks here include purchase and installation of computer appliances, local-based installation of program assurance, assurance of access to Internet and development of specific educational-training programs. 

The third phase contains preparation of audio-libraries, creation of training centers, creation of the record studio to have the library fund in audio format, due to help of this studio restoration of Braille font and audio books in existing libraries, access to Internet, IT-based training courses, establishment of computer center for finding and getting the information on Internet, training of teachers and trainers of the training courses. 

Total cost of the project that will be carried out during 8 months is $418,000.