November 16, 2012

Third sitting of the European Council of Ministers for Environment and Health

The third sitting of the EU Council of Ministers for Environment and Health was held in Baku within the framework of the “Green Week”, which took place in joint partnership between the International Dialogue Initiative for Protection of the Environment (IDEA) and UN Environmental Program (UNEP), November 16.

Vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, founder of IDEA Leyla Aliyeva attended the sitting. 

Leyla Aliyeva delivered a speech at the event.

Speech by Leyla Aliyeva:

- Ladies and Gentlemen!

Esteemed Guests!

First of all, I would like to welcome all participants of the “Green Week” project to our country!

Recently Azerbaijan has become a venue for global forums to discuss essential international maters. In environmental matters, our efforts reflect our thoughts and positions as one of the regional and international leaders on the way to green development.

Within the framework of the “Green Week” being held in Azerbaijan, “round table” talks on the themes of “International Youth Forum”, “Environmental Diplomacy Course” and “Green Economy”, as well as “Regional Consultation Meeting” was held   for the first time beyond the European region. With joint organization support from UNEP and country’s experts, Azerbaijan has been the first country to undertake and finalize the study of “Green Economy”.

My speech reflects the new direction of development of our country on the way to transition to the “Green Economy”. But this does not mean completion of the study and end of the road, this is a next step forward in this direction. The 20th anniversary of global efforts for sustainable and equal development in the world is marked. Therefore, creation of a platform to develop environmental sustainability, “green economy”, ecological health and ecological enlightenment has become a symbolic event. Having planted trees showing that people were branches of the same tree, the guests  demonstrated the great effect of the “Green Week” being held in Azerbaijan.

Dear Friends!

My Homeland is not only a place with nice and marvellous mountains with ever-snowy peaks, sheer cliffs, dense forests, meadows and   hunting areas, it has also extremely mild climate.

In my speeches, I’ve always talked of Azerbaijan’s being so lucky for having a glorious history and distinguished culture, at the same time rich biodiversity. So far I haven’t forget my excitement at the picture  of a leopard made in Nakhchyvan a few weeks ago, which justified our hopes that leopards would return to Europe.

As I look at the world, I realize that our duty before future generations is associated with protection of nature. We will hand over the environment to future generations in better conditions than we have seen. Our educational project entitled “IDEA for Green Azerbaijan” is aimed at enlightening people about the environment and increasing their theoretical and practical knowledge in this area.  Trainers of the organization have taught 8 thousand pupils in more that 20 towns of Azerbaijan and various districts as to how not to cause damage to the environment.

We think that protection of environment is an integral and main part of the environment policy.  3 million trees that we have planted representing 3 million young people living in Azerbaijan are a good example in terms of turning our nation’s attention to solution of environmental problems. We have been facing extremely complex challenges in nature that are  too difficult to be solved by one country, but are not attached importance.

Currently we have been working on a series of projects relying on our values that would define Azerbaijan’s geography. Looking at our past and present, we can say that Azerbaijan has been a unique country in terms of tolerance, ideas, dialogues and beliefs. As during the times, while Azerbaijan was the centre of the historical  “Silk Way”, now too we are trying to unite countries along the “Global Green Corridor”.  The unique conception of the “Global Green Corridor” means to unite intellectuals and organizations engaged in protection of the environment. Later this would encourage local organizations and departments to cooperation to protect the biodiversity and sustainable management of natural resources.

We believe that all spheres of the society will begin acting in order to turn the world into an environment with less CO2, and prevent ecological, public and economic effects of climate changes.

Ladies and gentlemen!

The primary objective of the humanity should be ensuring normal living conditions for today’s and future generations. As I travelled countries of the world, I have witnessed how enthusiastic the youth are about protecting the environment. Therefore, with my colleagues we established the IDEA campaign, which is an international environmental movement mostly spread in the South Caucasus, at the same time, one of the organizers of the “Green Week” project. Within the framework of the “IDEA” actions, we have created nests for long-wing bird flocks, whereby some 200 nests were moved to another place during the restoration works on the Maiden Tower. The IDEA campaign has defined the Great Five of Caucasus. They are bear, eagle, wolf, gazelle and leopard. Keeping these animals - main species - alive should be considered as our primary duty.  

We have established relations with environmental groups not only based in Azerbaijan, but also from various places of the world to develop dialogue, education, leadership and cooperation among the youth all over the world. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Russia’s International Wildlife Fund, which allowed the IDEA to enter the Caucasian wisent on the IDEA’s List of Endangered Species. Now we have been working on a similar legal document with a Turkish organization with the same name. Our today’s meeting serves the same purpose – creating a real change for the young generation.

Dear Friends!

During this week, we have brought 50 representatives from over 25 countries of the world together, which means the realization of IDEA’s “One world, one future” slogan. This reflects also our thoughts, behaviour and the reality associated with the environmental condition. This year, we have gained a number of opportunities to prevent human activities causing environmental damages, through education. We have again to remember that we are handing over complicated environmental challenges to future generations. Therefore, we have to, at least, create opportunities for the future generation to know the basic means how to perceive and remove these challenges.

The teaching aid prepared by the IDEA campaign in connection with the environment, which is expected to be included in school programs, will be taught in Azerbaijan as an optional subject. Through discussions and practical works, schoolchildren will learn how to value and protect nature.

Ladies and gentlemen!

In the 21st century, we once more faced ecological challenges. But there are better principles to overcome these challenges. Every citizen, every society and every country has to show the existing reality so that if not billions, then millions of people could see, when there is an opportunity for actions, the environment pollution and disorder end. There are a lot of pressing issues on our agenda and I’m hopeful our discussions will end up with development of written political documents, regulations and agreements.

I would like to thank participants of the “Green Week” project for their great interest and aspiration, their attempts to find new ways to solution of globalized environmental problems, and all people that have made their contributions to organization and implementation of the “Green Week” project. I hope the “Green Week” project implemented in Azerbaijan will not be the last project. On the contrary, it will be the beginning of a large-scale and global awareness program and successful activity.

Thank you for your attention.

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