Opening Speech by Mr. Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative at the CEPI event

February 22, 2021

Dear Ms. Rafiga Huseynzade, Vice-President of SOCAR on Ecology

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be part of this important event.

First of all, I’d like to congratulate SOCAR for pioneering this important initiative for the protection of the Caspian environment.

2020 was a challenging year for all of us. COVID-19 has exposed many deep flaws in all of our societies.

One key lesson we must learn is that this pandemic will not be the last crisis we face unless we work with nature and take more care of the environment.

According to UNDP’s latest Human Development Report, it is our own actions --as humans --that are driving climate change, biodiversity collapse, air and water pollution and land degradation.

We are destabilizing the very systems we need to survive at unprecedented speed and scale.

We must change. And this change has to start by accepting that any development that comes at the expense of our planet is no development at all.

Over the past years, UNDP has been working together with SOCAR on demonstration projects to show just how much can be achieved through greater efficiency and care for the environment.

Our win-win solutions have brought multiple benefits – for both people and the environment.

For example, we helped reduce all onshore methane emissions by 20%.

This partnership between UNDP and SOCAR clearly demonstrates that oil companies can make significant reductions in emissions by increasing energy efficiency and investing in research and development.

As a leader in the industry, SOCAR is well positioned to share its expertise across the country and beyond – and at UNDP - we hope to see some of these achievements scaled up.

So much more could be achieved if more natural gas vented from oil wells was collected; if energy efficiency requirements were included in national construction codes and norms and if proper monitoring, reporting and verification systems were put in place.

And last but far from least, so much more could be achieved if environmentally-friendly green technologies were expanded.

Investing in and implementing renewable energies and technological innovations would not only support economic diversification but pave the way to thousands of new green jobs.

According to latest research, taking action to address climate change, with a focus on the energy sector, coud generate 24 million new jobs by 2030.

UNDP is fully committed to partner on and support such initiatives – and we already have plans to work closely with the Government on building forward greener.

Because solutions that work with and not against nature are the only solutions that can help both the people and the planet to prosper – and bring us one step closer towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

It is time to do more. It is time to do better.

Thank you. Chox sag olun.