By Rasana Gasimova
A two day conference to identify priority areas of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the UN for the next five years started its work in Baku on January 16.
The event was attended by over 150 senior government officials, representatives of UN agencies, civil society, the private sector, youth organizations, academia and the media, local media reported.
Addressing the event, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Ali Ahmadov said that the compliance of Azerbaijan's development with the UN development strategy is one of the country’s main goals.
He noted that Azerbaijani government has always highly appreciated the cooperation with the UN and this cooperation has greatly benefited the country, adding that Azerbaijan’s relations with the UN cover various fields.
Ahmadov said that Azerbaijan is one of the most successfully developing countries of the last 30 years, noting that the country's economy is developing, and people's living conditions have significantly improved.
"Azerbaijan is one of the few countries that submitted two National Reports to the UN, and this suggests that efforts are being made to achieve the UN global goals, set before 2030. The country outlined its the main goals until 2030 in accordance with the project, and the main goal is to ensure that the national development program is in line with the strategy defined by the UN," he said.
Ahmadov noted that development in Azerbaijan is that it is observed in all areas.
"One of the main tasks of the country is the development of the social sphere. In recent years, Azerbaijan has implemented many social projects that will be continued," he stressed.
He emphasized that over the past 30 years, the Azerbaijani population has grown by three million people.
“Every year, 100,000 people enter the labor market. Many social projects have been recently implemented and the same number will be implemented in the future. The goal of the development is well-being of every person," Ahmadov noted.
Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Population Sahil Babayev also spoke at the event. He noted that Azerbaijan ranks first in the CIS in terms of minimum pension and second in terms of purchasing power of minimum wages.
Babayev said that the minimum pension and salary were increased in the country, steps were taken in connection with overdue loans and the assignment of various types of pensions and benefits was done online.
"At the initiative of the head of state, the government is implementing major reforms in the social sphere. The minimum wage in the country has been increased by 92 percent, the minimum pension - by 72 percent, and all benefits - by 100 percent," he informed.
Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov emphasized that the poverty level in the country has decreased by 10 times. He noted that 49 percent of the population lived below the poverty line in Azerbaijan in 2001, but today this figure is less than 5 percent.
Jabbarov noted that the National Coordinating Council on Sustainable Development has selected 17 priority goals and 88 targets, adding that an operational comprehensive assessment was carried out in order to determine whether the Sustainable Development Goals meet national priorities, and according to the results of the assessment, compliance was at the level of 70 percent.
Organized by the UN office in Azerbaijan with the support of the National Coordinating Council for Sustainable Development, the conference aims to determine the strategic priorities of 2021-2025 the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) for Azerbaijan.
During the conference, participants will also discuss Azerbaijan’s long-term vision to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and UN’s contributions to this process. They will exchange views on Azerbaijan’s main challenges in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and ways to address them.
Azerbaijan and the UN on July 12, 2016 signed a framework document on partnership for 2016-2020. Under the agreement, it was planned to implement projects worth $72 million. These projects included contributing to the creation of new jobs, increasing productivity in the agricultural sector, protecting the environment, mitigating and reducing disaster risks, health and education development, etc.
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