Azerbaijanis to return to Aghdam starting from 2025
By Sabina Mammadli
The return of Azerbaijanis to their hometown of Aghdam will commence from 2025, Special Representative of the President in the liberated territories of the Karabakh Economic Region (except for Shusha district) Emin Huseynov said.
The remarks were made on the sidelines of the Azerbaijani National Urban Forum in Aghdam.
"The major construction projects of Azerbaijan will kick off at the end of 2023 and wrap up by the end of 2024. The residential areas, cultural institutions, administrative centers, social institutions, kindergartens, parks – everything required for a fulfilling life, are supposed to be ready and be put into service by the end of 2024," he added.
He noted that the major infrastructure projects will be completed by the end of 2022.
According to him, the reconstruction activities in the city center and nearby villages are to begin next year.
"The key projects speeding up the 'Great Return', as well as the return to a normal life on liberated lands will be launched in the foreseeable future. Hopefully, we will be able to witness the resettlement of our compatriots in Aghdam and its surrounding villages, as well as in liberated Fuzuli, Khojavand, and Tartar districts in the next three years,” he stressed.
Further, Huseynov stated that Azerbaijan plans to resettle about 10,000 people in Aghdam city at the initial stage.
"Currently, the resettlement is based on the overall maximum potential forecasts and in accordance with living space. Alongside this, work is underway to create new workplaces. The new workplaces that will be created in the ongoing recovery processes will be potential jobs. In addition, certain jobs will be created both in the agriculture and light and food industries. In general, at the initial stage, it's planned to resettle about 10,000 people in Aghdam city," he said
Construction & restoration
Speaking at the forum, Chairman of the State Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture Anar Guliyev said that Azerbaijan is successfully carrying out unprecedented comprehensive restoration and construction work on its liberated territories in accordance with advanced urban planning standards.
He noted that the parallel implementation of such large-scale works in a short period of time, along with the involvement of a large number of highly qualified designers, architects, engineers, and builders, also increased the relevance of applying new effective institutional management methods.
"In accordance with the presidential order dated November 24, 2020, on the liberated territories, in order to centrally resolve issues and coordinate the activities of all organizations involved in the restoration work, a Coordination Headquarters was created, which includes members of all government agencies,” Guliyev said.
He added that the State Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture, along with many other ministries and state committees, ensures the preparation of basic documents for territorial planning of settlements liberated from occupation.
Similarly, Director of Chapman Taylor British Company Marcelina Zielinska noted that the progress that is seen today in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan is impressive.
"Today we got acquainted with the plan for the reconstruction of Aghdam city. We are very impressed by the ambitious plans of the Azerbaijani government to revive these lands," she said.
According to Zielinska, the work that has already been done in Shusha is amazing.
"We will continue to implement various projects. We will also work in the city of Jabrayil. This work will be different from what we did in Shusha. There will be more social infrastructure in Jabrayil," she added.
At the same time, she noted that one of the primary tasks is the preservation of the natural environment.
Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN‐Habitat) Maimunah Mohd Sharif expressed appreciation for the work that Azerbaijan is doing to populate its liberated territories.
"Azerbaijan's government is intensively working to restore lands and return former internally displaced persons," she said.
Sharif noted that factors such as climate change, and COVID-19 create problems for the urban process and transformational changes.
"Today's forum is important from the point of view of studying the work done by Azerbaijan in its liberated territories, studying the country's technical experience," she added.
Meanwhile, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan Vladanka Andreeva added that the UN will begin a needs assessment for the reconstruction of Aghdam city.
"The research mission together with the EU, the World Bank was carried out back in March, including in Aghdam, and UN thinks that in a few weeks, an assessment of the needs for the restoration of these territories will begin," she said.
She stressed that the UN is supporting Azerbaijan in such an important issue as mine clearance, as well as in the transition to a 'green' economy.
"The post-conflict period provides an opportunity for Azerbaijan to accelerate the achievement of sustainable development goals and generally improve the quality of life of the population. UN is developing the strategy together with the Azerbaijani government based on such areas as a competitive economy, inclusive growth, building human capital, and, of course, a clean environment," she noted.
Chairman of the State Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture Anar Guliyev stressed that the committee provided preparation for the General Plan for the entire region liberated from occupation, the development of general plans for Aghdam and many other cities and villages were completed, and the design of hundreds of settlements continues.
He noted that during the development of master plans, modern approaches to' smart city', 'green energy, such factors as a clean environment, the integrated development of industry and agriculture, and the wide realization of tourism potential were taken as the basis.
Additionally, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Economy Minister Elnur Aliyev pointed out that the country aims at long-term inclusive and sustainable economic development of liberated territories.
"In accordance with the long-term inclusive development model of Azerbaijan, the main goal is to create a modern production infrastructure in the liberated territories, attract investments aimed at introducing modern technologies, and effectively realize the potential of the region," Aliyev said.
He emphasized that for this purpose, all conditions for entrepreneurs have been created in the industrial parks created in the liberated territories.
Sabina Mammadli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @SabinaMmdl
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz