Azerbaijani MP: Preparations for COP29 are in full swing, whole team is mobilized -INTERVIEW

Interviews 14:45 14.05.2024

Azerbaijani media outlet APA News Agency interviewed Nigar Arpadarai, Member of the Milli Majlis, UN High-Level Champion on Climate Change for COP29. Ednews reprints the interview.

– In November of this year, Azerbaijan will host COP29, the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. What is the importance of this for our country? How are the preparations going?

– The conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) is one of the biggest and most important events worldwide because of its scale and significance. I want to recall that Azerbaijan took over the chairmanship for COP29 with the unanimous support of the world’s countries. In November of this year, all countries of the world will come together in Baku, and it is an indicator of the international community's trust in the policy that Azerbaijan has been conducting for years at the national and international level, including the efforts to contribute to the solution of the climate change problem. Hosting this event in Azerbaijan will affect numerous fields and regions as a whole

As you know 2024 has been declared the “Green World Solidarity Year” in Azerbaijan and COP29 will be held in our country to be a great discussion and operation platform for accelerating transition to the green energy. The energy transition is of great importance not only for the protection of the ecology but also for strengthening Azerbaijan’s energy safety and sustainable economic development.

COP 29 will give impetus to the attraction of more foreign investments in the green energy projects and technologies in Azerbaijan, and in turn, this will promote the attraction of investments in sustainable infrastructure and ecologically clean industries, and the opportunities for establishing “green” workplaces in the future.

COP29 is a great opportunity to showcase the work done and our plans to diversify energy resources, transition to renewable energy, and achieve energy efficiency at the global level in Azerbaijan.

Currently, we witness the great interest in Azerbaijan during the meetings.

Preparations have already started in full force. For your information, I want to note that every COP host country is given at least two years in preparation, and we were just 11 months away from the announcement that we would be hosting COP29. Despite the lack of time, I can confidently say that the preparation is in full swing. Relevant government agencies are involved in the process, the entire COP29 team is mobilized to organize the conference at the highest level, and each employee performs his duties with great enthusiasm and pride.

– Has the COP29 agenda been set? What issues are expected to be included in the agenda?

– The main topic of COP29 will be “climate financing”. This is plenty a complex topic, the transition to green energy is a very expensive process, trillions of dollars are needed for this, mechanisms for the allocation of this funding, rules of use, etc., all these issues are discussed globally. Both developed and developing countries have their approach and expectations. For example, island nations suffer more from climate change and they expect decisions on financing to be made quickly.

Taking into account the very important role of finance in the fight against climate change, there is a necessity to improve the implementation mechanisms of this process and carry out certain reforms. At the same time, involving the private sector in the financing process is important.

Currently, our group of negotiators is working in this direction, key topics of the discussions of COP29, including climate finance, are comprehensively discussed with all parties. Active work is ongoing on possible solutions for the successful results of the discussions. Within the framework of the COP29 hosting mandate, Azerbaijan approaches the negotiation process with all participating parties from the perspective of transparency, inclusiveness, and neutrality.

Conducting multilateral discussions among the world countries on issues of environmental protection is necessary. At the same time, the interests and aspirations of all the nations of the Earth, regardless of their size, wealth, and resources, should be taken into account during the discussion.

I am sure that within the framework of COP29, Baku will be a platform for hearing the voices of all states and ensuring the equality of both large and small states.

– Who is the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, can you inform us of her role and duties?

– The role of the United Nations High-Level Champion for Climate Change is significant in the multi-dimensional process of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It was created within the COP21, and its primary function is to coordinate the work of governments with a wide range of activities carried out by various partners, regions, businesses, and investors, building a bridge between stakeholders, encourage an inclusive process by working with the private sector, businesses, civil society, NGOs and others and by bringing them together, to promote the topic of combating climate change. So, the Climate Champion strives to involve "non-state partners" - civil society, NGOs, private sector, charitable organizations, city representatives, etc. in the COP process, while actively working to increase awareness and knowledge on the subject.

As the High-Level Champion for Climate Change for COP29, my team and I are actively engaging with all stakeholders. Given that the theme of COP29 is climate finance, I consider it crucial to involve the private sector and business in this process and therefore, we are currently in discussions with the private sector, including both large corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as entrepreneurs. In this regard, a series of measures are planned to be implemented both before and during COP29.

 

– How many foreign guests are expected to arrive in Azerbaijan? How will COP29 affect the development of the tourism field in general?

– Our country has hosted various international events to this day, COP29 will, of course, be the biggest event due to its number of participants and scale. It’s difficult to give an exact figure at the moment, the Operating Company will announce it after the registration process, however, COPs have 40000-80000 participants in general. Of course, all the necessary measures will be taken for the comfort of people who will visit Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan has repeatedly hosted large-scale events, which contributed to the issue of promoting the country. This time, tens of thousands of foreign visitors will visit the country on the eve and within the framework of the event, which will contribute to the increase of tourist activity and the revival of the tourism industry. The event will increase awareness about the history, culture, material, and cultural national heritage of Azerbaijan, as well as the wide potential of our country in new areas such as eco-tourism, agro-tourism, and responsible and sustainable tourism.

The event contains important opportunities in terms of promoting our country’s business and business tourism potential. The availability of appropriate infrastructure, organizational and technical base, and our country’s extensive experience in hosting large-scale international events are important points in organizing an international event such as COP29 at the highest level.

COP29 will positively impact economic development, including tourism and other sectors directly and indirectly related to tourism, by increasing profitability and growth. It will create new opportunities for the development of small and medium enterprises related to the tourism industry in Azerbaijan. We can include hospitality, tourism agencies, tourist guidance, public catering, transport, entertainment, and other fields here.

– Hosting of COP events is considered an opportunity to attract investments. Are there any plans in this direction?

– This is a very important issue. In addition to the significance of hosting COP29 in terms of the event itself, it is also crucial for the benefits it brings to the country in the long term. The event will attract investment in Azerbaijan towards sustainable infrastructure and clean industries from an ecological perspective, promoting the creation of future green workplaces.

As the world's energy agenda shifts towards renewable energy sources, COP29's green energy agreements will open up new economic opportunities for Azerbaijan. In line with the objectives set at COP29, Azerbaijan can benefit from international support and financial mechanisms for the promotion of a green economy that prioritizes both environmental conservation and economic prosperity, by implementing continuous projects addressing climate change, stimulating innovation, and promoting a green economy.

Moreover, COP29 will create conditions for showcasing Azerbaijan's economic potential. Companies from various countries around the world could be attracted to business opportunities in Azerbaijan.

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