By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has called for solidarity and cooperation among the international community amid COVID-19 in the speech where he also stressed Azerbaijan’s role to fight the pandemic globally.
He made this remark during videoconference on “Close the digital divide: digital response to COVID-19”.
"For the first time as the Chairman-in-Office of the Non-Aligned Movement, Azerbaijan held a summit by videoconference, and in May 2020 initiated an extraordinary summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States by videoconference. Our country has allocated $10 million to the World Health Organization to help people in need, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America,” the minister said.
Moreover he emphasized that recently, on behalf of the member countries of the Non- Aligned Movement, Azerbaijan has initiated the convening of a special session of the UN General Assembly with the support of the majority of UN member states.
Mammadyarov noted that it was important to combine efforts to help countries mobilize resources and implement modern and contextual solutions for the remote provision of goods and services amid COVID-19.
The minister said that the rapid spread of the virus is a major challenge for humanity as the number of diseases and casualties in every part of the world, causing irreparable damage to human health, safety and well-being, is increasing day by day.
Use of digital technology amid pandemic
Mammadyarov emphasized that Azerbaijan actively uses information and communication technologies as part of national response to the impact of COVID-19.
"From the early days of the pandemic, digital technology has been at the heart of national strategies to respond to COVID-19. For example, information and communication technologies have become a tool for providing access to online education, developing platforms for health monitoring, disseminating important information to populations, and facilitating the delivery of goods and services to those in isolation, etc,” he said.
He stated that during the pandemic, the Ministry of Transport, Communication and High Technologies launched a single digital platform that makes electronic services accessible to all. The platform, which integrates links to online shopping, education, health, entertainment and product delivery, makes it easier for users to access. In addition, the platform offers advice on how to maintain social distance and stay home, as well as a range of online learning opportunities, including training on how to set up and run an online business.
He also spoke of a platform that allows people to leave their place of residence during quarantine, as well as a new video conference system based on “Azcloud” infrastructure.
Furthermore, he highlighted that a comprehensive system of distance learning has been launched to ensure sustainability of the educational process.
"National TV channels broadcast television lessons, and the recording of these lessons is posted on the Ministry of Education's training platform and is available online. Most universities use free online learning platforms provided by the Ministry of Education," he emphasized.
However, he stressed that the pandemic showed that the starting point was not the same for all in terms of access to information and communications technology tools and broadband, as there was interregional and intraregional digital divide between developed and developing countries.
Thus, Mammadyarov said that special session of the UN General Assembly will be a platform to explore how well information and communication technologies can be used in response to COVID-19, and to continue sharing experience in this area.
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