Baku, June 27, AZERTAC
On June 27, in the Polish city of Katowice, the eleventh session of the World Urban Forum continued its work on the theme “Change our cities for a better future”.
According to AZERTAC, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev spoke at the session in video format.
President Ilham Aliyev
-ladies and gentlemen.
Dear event participants.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak at the World Urban Forum.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s membership in the United Nations. To celebrate this important event, in March this year in the cultural capital of Azerbaijan, the liberated city of Shusha, a very important event was organized with the participation of United Nations structures dedicated to achieving sustainable development goals in the post-conflict and post-pandemic period.
The participants of the event held discussions about the progress made by Azerbaijan in achieving the sustainable development goals, as well as the revival of liberated lands and the return to life in them.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New City Plan focus our efforts on sustainable urbanization and a better future for our cities. Besides preserving the historical appearance of the capital Baku, we have made reconstruction and modernization of its infrastructure. It should be noted that during the modernization and reconstruction of Baku and other cities of Azerbaijan, we gained new opportunities and experiences in the field of urban development. Baku is considered one of the most beautiful cities, it harmoniously combines historical heritage and modernity with unique architecture, parks and streets.
After the Patriotic War of 2020, which ended with Azerbaijan liberating its lands from the 30-year-long Armenian occupation, sustainable development of cities has become more valuable to us. Armenia deliberately destroyed cities and villages during 30 years of occupation of Azerbaijani lands, plundered all cultural and religious monuments, and turned these lands into a clear example of the killing of cities and villages. Perhaps, after the Second World War, nowhere in the world did cities suffer such massive destruction. 9 cities and hundreds of Azerbaijani villages were wiped off the face of the earth. The city of Agdam was so devastated that foreign experts called it “Hiroshima of the Caucasus”. After the liberation of Fuzuli city from occupation, the Azerbaijani army did not find any building there to raise our flag.
During their visits to the liberated territories, foreign diplomats, journalists and representatives of international NGOs witnessed this vandalism and documented the full extent of the devastation.
Despite the 30-year occupation of Armenia, Azerbaijan intends to turn the page on the war, normalize relations and sign a peace treaty with Armenia on the basis of the principle of mutual recognition of each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Azerbaijan put forward five basic principles for peace negotiations and Armenia accepted them. We believe that a peace treaty can turn the region into an area of peace and cooperation.
Azerbaijan is currently carrying out one of the most complex and ambitious works of restoration and reconstruction. The reconstruction process begins with demining. Mass mining is the biggest difficulty we face, and this slows down the reconstruction work and the return of the displaced. Preliminary estimates indicate that, during the occupation period, Armenia planted more than one million mines in these lands. After the end of the Patriotic War in November 2020, more than 220 Azerbaijani citizens were killed or seriously injured as a result of a mine explosion.
Azerbaijan implements modern urban planning in the liberated lands, and applies the concepts of “green energy” and “zero waste”.
For 30 years, the internally displaced have suffered from the Armenian occupation and been deprived of their homes. The first pilot project for the return of internally displaced persons was carried out in Aghali village, Zangilan District. In May of this year, the first residents of the village of Aghali began to settle in their native lands. Today Agali is one of the most modern villages in the world.
In less than eight months, Azerbaijan built an airport in the liberated city of Fuzuli. At present, two more airports are being built in Zangelan and Lachin liberated from occupation.
The master plans of some liberated cities are already ready. The master plan of Shusha was built on the preservation of its lavish historical heritage.
In Agdam, which will become the industrial center of the Karabakh region, we are building a completely new city for tens of thousands of people. The Agdam Industrial Complex is already operational, which covers an area of 200 hectares, and is open to investors and businessmen.
Zangilan City is built keeping in mind its integration into nature and transformed into a city park.
In general, our goal in the renovation process is to combine quality and speed. Environmental protection will be among our priorities in this process.
Our goal is to build inclusive, safe, secure and sustainable cities and villages in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals. In the new towns and villages the conditions of life and work will unite.
All this work is done at the expense of the financial resources of Azerbaijan.
We believe that this large-scale reconstruction work carried out by Azerbaijan is turning our liberated lands into a laboratory of excellence in the field of urban development. Azerbaijan will share its vast experience in this field with the international community.
Besides, solidarity with our country and international support are of great importance to us in the field of reconstruction in the liberated lands. This will strengthen our belief that Azerbaijan is not alone in its noble activities.
We have already, with the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Union, assessed the rehabilitation and reconstruction needs in our three liberated areas.
We had the opportunity to discuss further cooperation with the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) Maimouna Muhammad Sharif during her visit to Azerbaijan in March of this year. The Executive Director visited the liberated city of Agdam and witnessed the extent of the destruction. We intend to collaborate more closely with UN-Habitat in the reconstruction of our liberated lands and look forward to the organization’s professionals becoming involved in the reconstruction process.
Azerbaijan and UN-Habitat are also discussing the issue of organizing an annual National Urban Forum in Azerbaijan, Agdam, this year.
In conclusion, I would like to state with deep satisfaction that Azerbaijan wants to hold one of the regular sessions of the World Urban Forum and is ready for this. I am confident that holding the World Urban Forum in Azerbaijan, a country with extensive experience in organizing high-level international events, will be successful.
I wish success to the forum. thanks for the.
It should be noted that the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) holds the World Urban Forum every two years, dedicated to the problems caused by rapid urbanization. The eleventh session of the World Urban Forum runs until 30 June.
The United Nations Human Settlements Program was established as the structure of the United Nations in 1978 as a result of the first conference “Human Settlements and Sustainable Urban Development”, held in 1976 in Vancouver, Canada. The organization is headquartered in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The Executive Director of UN-Habitat is Maimunah Muhammed Sharif from Malaysia. In March 2022, Mrs. Maimunah Muhammed Sharif visited our country and was received by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. As part of the visit, the Executive Director visited the liberated city of Agdam from the occupation.
Remember that the Habitat Agenda was endorsed at the Habitat II Conference held in Istanbul in 1996 on the topic “Human Settlements and Sustainable Urban Development”. Its main objective was the development of adequate housing for all and the sustainable settlement of people in an urbanizing world.
At the 2016 HABITAT III Congress, a document called “The New Urban Agenda” was adopted. Among the main objectives of the agenda, an important place is given to improving the living conditions of people living in slums, providing clean drinking water and sanitation.
UN-Habitat implements projects in various fields in more than 90 countries around the world. These projects cover urban legislation, land and governance, urban planning, urban economics, basic urban services, housing and slum improvement, risk reduction and rehabilitation issues.
UN-Habitat, with the help of donors, is supporting post-conflict reconstruction in many countries around the world. After the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka in 2009, UN-Habitat implemented infrastructure projects to rebuild the destroyed homes of 31,000 families and improve the living conditions of 420,000 internally displaced people. Similar activities were carried out in Iraq in 2019.
Azerbaijan and UN-Habitat are currently holding consultations on holding an annual conference on urban development in our country. The first conference is scheduled for this fall in the city of Agdam.
In addition, negotiations are underway to involve a UN-Habitat expert in the urban development process in the territories liberated from occupation.
Azerbaijan recently made a financial donation to the organization in the amount of 1.5 million dollars.
AZERTAG.AZ :President Ilham Aliyev spoke in video form at the eleventh session of the World Urban Forum video
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