Deputy Resident Representative for the UNDP Azerbaijan, Mr. Alessandro Fracassetti's opening speech at the Project Inception Workshop for “Green Climate Fund Readiness and Preparatory Support Project for Azerbaijan”

June 5, 2018

Today, GEF continues to play a crucial role in supporting climate change related initiatives, both in the realm of mitigation and adaptation portfolios. Picture credits: UNDP

As prepared for delivery

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Distinguished partners and delegates,

Dear members of the international community and government representatives,

My sincere greetings to all of you!

As we are all gathered here today to mark the launch of our new joint project in support of climate change actions, let me first of all take this opportunity to acknowledge that today, 5 June is celebrated across the world as the International Environment Day.

The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment. Since the International Environment Day was first launched by the United Nations in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, which is now widely celebrated in more than 100 countries.

Coming back to the main theme that has brought us all here today, I would like to make a few points about our new project titled “Green Climate Fund Readiness and Preparatory Support Project for Azerbaijan”. This joint action is implemented by UNDP in close collaboration with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Aiming to support the Government of Azerbaijan in strengthening its climate change agenda, we have built strong partnership ties with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, along other relevant state agencies, and the Green Climate Fund –the project’s primary funding partner.

As most of you may perfectly know, since Rio Earth Summit back in 1992 the main driving and funding source for all global Climate Change initiatives was the Global Environment Facility, shortly known as GEF. Since 1992 GEF already have had 6 funding cycles, each lasting four years. This year in July, a 7th funding cycle is set to commence.

In the past, GEF has funded several projects pertaining to climate change action that have been implemented and/or are still in progress on the ground at a country level. GEF will continue playing a crucial role in supporting climate change related initiatives, both in the realm of mitigation and adaptation portfolios.

However, as it was expressed during the Paris meeting in December 2015, in order to keep a temperature increase within reversible 2-degree Celsius, greater efforts and funding support need to be in place so that we can all collectively act for climate change. With this aim a new Fund, Green Climate Fund, shortly GCF, has been established to provide financing to more ambitious, and therefore, financially much more substantial projects that GCF was to directly fund. Only with much bigger funds allocated both by the International community through the GCF and countries themselves, we will be able to save the planet from irreversible process of temperature rise above 2 percent.

Let me mention that there are already projects approved by the Green Climate Fund in our region, in Eastern Europe. As such, the GCF has recently approved funding in Climate Change Mitigation for Bosnia& Herzegovina and for Climate Change Adaptation in Georgia.

Speaking of the local context, Azerbaijan is well positioned to benefit from the opportunities created by the GCF as well.

Azerbaijan ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1995. The establishment of State Commission on Climate Change followed in 1997 according to the Presidential Decree. In the following year, Azerbaijan joined the Kyoto Protocol as a non-Annex I country. Despite being a very minor emitter – less than 0.2%, Azerbaijan has taken voluntary obligation to reduce its GHG emissions by 35% in comparison with the base year 1990.

Azerbaijan makes big efforts to report regularly to the Secretariat of the UNFCCC. The Government of Azerbaijan developed and submitted its First, Second and Third National Communications in 2001, 2010 and 2016 respectively. In addition, Azerbaijan has also submitted its First Biennial Updated Report in 2015. The Second Biennial Reporting is also ready and waits for the clearance from the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources to be submitted to the Secretariat of the GCF.

The Project that we are discussing today was developed to define a strategic engagement framework with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), help strengthen the National Designated Authority (NDA) and enhance Azerbaijan’s capacity to implement mitigation and adaptation actions. The project includes activities that will allow the NDA to:

i)                  strengthen national capacities;

ii)               ii) support stakeholder engagement in consultation and policy development processes; and

iii)            iii) mobilise private sector in national consultations and financing mechanisms.

The project will increase the capacity of the NDA and other national stakeholders to carry out its climate change focused programs in partnership with the GCF and pave the way for structured and active participation of all stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society organization to achieve national climate goals.

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Let me emphasise that UNDP jointly with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources is taking substantially big efforts to advance the environmental agenda in Azerbaijan. For a number of years already, UNDP has been closely working with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, and we will continue our cooperation in the future.

As we speak about the mutual collaboration between our institutions, I want to specifically reiterate the importance of partnership for solidifying the nation-wide efforts towards environmental protection. Let’s admit that climate change is a global problem, and as such it requires cooperation among all stakeholders. Only through committed and orchestrated efforts we will be able to save the planet for future generations.

In my concluding remarks, I would like to once again wish you all a happy International Environment Day, which notably coincides with the launch of this new partnership engagement between the Government of Azerbaijan, UNDP and the Green Climate Fund. This project is an important part of UNDP’s environment portfolio in Azerbaijan and is in line with our shared commitment to accelerating the achievement of Global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. In fact, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states our resolve “to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources”. In particular, Goals 14 and 15 focus on protecting under water and on land ecosystems, as well as on sustainably using marine and terrestrial resources. 

As we move forward with the implementation of the Readiness and Preparatory Support Project¸ it is important to remember that these actions will need to be tailored to the needs of local communities and aim to reduce vulnerabilities while increasing the resilience to the negative impacts of climate change.

Thank you!