By Gulgiz Dadashova
The United Nations (UN) and World Bank (WB) agree that Azerbaijan has made a significant progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the UN member countries and all leading development organizations in the world.
UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan Antonius Broek said that Azerbaijan has already achieved many of the goals of the Millennium, including the improvement of social services and poverty reduction.
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the Millennium Development Goals, starting with the reduction of extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV / AIDS and providing universal primary education (and all that - before the date set in 2015), is a program adopted by the all countries and all leading development organizations in the world. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the poorest in the world.
Governments, foundations, businesses and civil society groups rallied around the call to action to slash poverty, hunger and disease by 2015.
Addressing the workshop titled "The goals of sustainable development - national consultations in Azerbaijan" in Baku on May 27, Broek said the economy of Azerbaijan has demonstrated high growth rates over the recent years.
"Oil and gas industry and the efficient use of its revenues played a big role in this. However, much should be done to continue the process of reducing poverty in the country, the diversification of the economy and so on. In this regard, Azerbaijan developed the long-term development concept "Azerbaijan 2020: vision of the future", which aims to increase exports of the non-oil sector of the economy, poverty reduction and so on. If these goals are achieved, then Azerbaijan will enter the list of countries with high average incomes, and in the future - the group of countries with high income," he said.
Moreover, Broek said, Azerbaijan is successfully progressing towards a group of countries with high human capital development, and the UN reports prove it.
"Quantitative indicators are important, but quality changes, especially in the areas of education, health, social services, are needed," Broek said.
According to Broek, the UN has started discussions with 100 countries, including Azerbaijan, to define the goals for the period after 2015.
In turn, World Bank (WB) Country Manager for Azerbaijan Larisa Leshchenko said that Azerbaijan has made progress in the area of poverty reduction, basic education, HIV infection, but Azerbaijan should pay great attention to the opening of new jobs, regional development, inclusive growth of the economy to achieve all the MDGs.
In addition, she said, the development of human capital should remain in the spotlight of the state to achieve the goals of economic diversification.
'Azerbaijan 2020: A Look into the Future' concept
Azerbaijan approved Development Concept "Azerbaijan 2020: A Look into the Future" in late 2012. The need for such a concept is explained by the fact that the country is entering a new phase in its development.
The key strategic vision of the concept is to take into consideration the existing opportunities and resources to achieve sustainable economic growth and social prosperity in Azerbaijan, ensure effective state governance, rule of law and complete exercise of all human rights and freedoms, and reach a development stage characterized with an active status of civil society in the country's public life.
Over the period covered by the concept, Azerbaijan's population will increase by an average of 1.1 per cent a year to reach 10.2 million people by 2020.
Then, Azerbaijan will be an economically and politically developed and competitive country. Azerbaijan will be a country with high population incomes, minimum unemployment rate, highly developed human capital, a sound environment and extensive opportunities for every citizen.
As a result of the activities envisaged in the concept, the GDP per capita will be more than double to reach $13,000. In 2020, according to the World Bank's gross national income classification, Azerbaijan will become a "high average income country" with plans to advance further among "high human development" countries of the UNDP human development report.
From the standpoint of economic development, Azerbaijan will advance from being a regional leader to become a highly competitive participant in the system of international economic relations. To do that, the country will avail itself of the advantageous geographical location and broad potential to turn into a regional commercial center with the per capita volume of non-oil exports of $1,000.