Azerbaijan's green energy initiatives take center stage
    Baku gears up for COP29

    ANALYTICS  20 June 2024 - 16:39

    Khazar Akhundov
    Caliber.Az

    On November 11 - 22, 2024, Azerbaijan will host events on the margins of the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP29) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The forum will become an important international platform for discussing topical issues in the field of environmental problems, development of green energy, aspects of a healthy future, and addressing other urgent problems stipulated by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Ahead of this most important international conference, Azerbaijan is hosting a series of events and meetings that form the agenda and goal-setting of COP29. Thus, the three-day 29th high-level meeting themed "The Path to COP29: Sustainable and Resilient Future" got underway in Baku.

    Preparations for the UN climate conference in Baku include the formation of a multifaceted approach to responding to the existing global challenges and opportunities in the climate sphere. Many international organizations, scientific and expert communities, specialized NGOs and media are involved in this process. In fact, in order to coordinate global efforts to prepare for COP29, the 29th high-level meeting "The Path to COP29: Sustainable and Resilient Future" was organized at the initiative of the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre.

    In particular, a forum is being held in Baku on June 19-20, and discussions will continue in Zangilan on June 21. In preparation for COP29, participants of the high-level meeting will join important discussions on issues as mitigation and adaptation, financing, climate change and its impact on biodiversity, water and food security, the current state of the food and agricultural sector, the role of science, technology and innovation. Along with representatives of relevant agencies of Azerbaijan, the Forum is attended by top officials of the UN specialized structures and other international organizations.

    At the beginning of the event, Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, Head of the Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev read out President Ilham Aliyev’s address to the Baku-hosted high-level meeting participants.

    "For a long time, tackling climate change has remained among the top priority matters in the global agenda. Climate crisis and its consequences, a shared problem for humanity, have hampered countries’ sustainable development and prosperity, significantly impacting ordinary people’s daily lives and lifestyles.

    As you know, late last year, by the unanimous decision of the states worldwide, the Republic of Azerbaijan was honored to be chosen as a host of the 29th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP29). I wish to state that Azerbaijan is fully vested in the preparations for COP29, and spares no effort to solidify solidarity for a green, fair, inclusive and sustainable world, ensuring positive outcomes for the sake of our planet’s future, the address by President Aliyev noted.

    In his address to the event participants, the president emphasized the need to accelerate work on the global "green" agenda due to increasing challenges and threats that are becoming more serious every day. As the President of Azerbaijan noted that it was an already universally recognized reality that we are running out of time to mobilize the international community’s efforts and undertake joint emergency measures and urgent actions to limit global warming to 1,5 C°.

    °The COP29 to be held in Baku will see the talks on agreeing upon a new collective quantified goal on climate finance post-2025. Our ultimate objective is to agree on a new collective quantified goal to address the increasing financial burden faced by developing nations in coping with climate change. This investment in our shared future represents a collective responsibility toward both present and future generations. Azerbaijan will take all the necessary measures to ensure advancing these negotiations in transparency and inclusivity, as well as accelerating the implementation of previous commitments and pledges,” the president added.

    It is appropriate to note here that in recent years Azerbaijan has made a lot of efforts to implement the UN Green Agenda, and today is carrying out large-scale work on the organization of the COP29 conference, designed to become an international platform for involving countries of the Global South in the implementation of urgent climate reforms. Note that this year has been declared the "Green World Solidarity Year" in Azerbaijan, and the country along with international partners is accelerating large-scale projects within the framework of the green transition.

    In general, the country has made great strides in the development of the renewable energy sources (RES), and has also committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 35 per cent by 2030 and 40 per cent by 2050. Along with voluntary reductions in methane emissions, Baku has set a target of increasing the share of RES in the country's installed energy capacity to more than 30 per cent by 2030. To this end, a "green" energy zone is being formed in the Karabakh region, "smart" towns and villages with RES elements are under construction, a dozen and a half small HPPs have been reconstructed and built from scratch, and new solar and wind power plants will be put into operation here in the near future.

    Similar projects are also being implemented in the Absheron Peninsula and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Thus, the total capacity of wind and solar power generation projects, which will be launched in the country only in 2024, will amount to 1,300 MW.

    In turn, preparations have begun for the Black Sea Energy project, which envisages laying an underwater electric cable with a capacity of 1,000 MW under the Black Sea to supply electricity generated in the RES segment from Azerbaijan to Europe. The next step will be to attract foreign investment to develop the potential of wind energy in the Caspian Sea and the production of "green" hydrogen.

    It is not surprising that the scale of work done in Azerbaijan in the field of "green" energy and efforts to implement the UN climate agenda do not go unnoticed by the international community.

    "The success of the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will not only be a success for Azerbaijan, this event will generally strengthen confidence in COP," said María Fernanda Espinosa, a participant of the Baku meeting, President of the 73rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

    “We have heard the words 'enabling COP', 'inclusive COP', 'financial COP', I believe that these three criteria are at the heart of the expected success of COP29, and all participants of the high-level meeting want to be part of this success".

    The need for all of humanity to come together in a concerted effort, utilizing opportunities for cooperation and crucial financial support to bring about the innovations needed for a sustainable future was the leitmotif of another participant in the Baku meeting, Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Najat Mokhtar. According to the IAEA representative, the latest scientific reports show that the world is failing to meet its climate change targets, which jeopardizes almost all the objectives of the UN SDG agenda.

    "We stand on the threshold of a pivotal moment in history, and our actions today will shape the future of our planet for generations to come. Climate change is a challenge that affects all aspects of our lives, from health and nutrition systems to the economy and the environment," Najat Mokhtar emphasized.

    Therefore, to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise, there is a need to come together in a concerted effort, leveraging collaboration and critical financial support to deliver the innovations needed for a sustainable future: and the COP29 agenda will play a crucial role in achieving these goals.

    In a similar vein, a video message to the forum participants was delivered by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

    "Millions of people are suffering from a sharp rise in air temperature and due to drought, climate change is also contributing to the spread of diseases such as malaria. The scale of climate-related humanitarian emergencies is increasing and this is a major challenge for the global health system."

    The head of WHO emphasized that climate action and united efforts of all countries in this regard can save millions of lives every year.

    It is noteworthy that the COP29 agenda is designed to cover the diversity of problems and challenges associated with global climate negativity.

    "As COP29 chair, it is important for us to hear all opinions, develop a consensus-based program and find common solutions that will empower everyone to fight climate change," said Mukhtar Babayev, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan, COP29 President, as he addressed the high-level meeting.

    “The COP29 team is working to help all parties raise their ambitions through national climate action plans: we have held extensive and meaningful consultations with stakeholders and leaders of relevant international organizations over the past months, and we have seen a strong commitment from all parties to work together to address the impacts of our common climate challenge."

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