April 18. 2024. 1:38

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Azerbaijan prepares to host COP29 Climate Summit

Hosting international events and supporting important interregional energy and connectivity projects became a key element of Azerbaijan’s vision for economic growth and regional cooperation. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan will host the 2024 UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 29) for the first time in the region from November 11- 22, 2024 — writes Shahmar Hajiyev.

It is an enormous opportunity to bring heads of state and governments, civil society organizations, business, and international institutions together in the South Caucasus to discuss climate change, measures to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and focus on long-term climate strategies and goals.

Talking about international events, it is worth noting that Baku has already valuable experience in hosting important international events. Baku, Azerbaijan’s largest city and the most important transportation hub with a well-connected international airport, and its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it an ideal meeting point for hosting such events. Baku hosted the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, the First European Olympics from 12 June to 28 June 2015, the World Chess Cup 2015, the Chess Olympiad 2016, the 4th Islamic Games 2017, some games of UEFA Euro 2020 and the Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network (NAM PN) dedicated to the theme of “Boosting the role of national parliaments in promoting global peace and sustainable development” from June 30 to July 1, 2022. All the abovementioned international events contributed to infrastructure development and improvements, as well as the city gained valuable experience in how to provide security, upgrading communication infrastructure, providing digital technology, designing cultural events, and last but not least, supporting the tourism sector.

In essence, tourism is one of the priority sectors in Azerbaijan’s non-oil economy, and hosting international events and developing infrastructure projects increases the country’s attractiveness as a tourism destination and ensures positive economic and social development. For instance, during the European Games, over 28,000 foreign tourists had visited Azerbaijan to watch the sport event. Most foreign tourists were citizens of the Russian Federation, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, the U.S., and the United Arab Emirates. The NAM PN Conference in Baku was also attended by parliamentarians from more than 40 NAM Member States, including Speakers and Deputy Speakers of their respective national parliaments, as well as 8 inter-parliamentary organizations. Also, after the liberation of Garabagh from Armenian occupation, the participants of the Baku Conference visited Shusha city.

The 2024 was declared "Green World Solidarity Year" in Azerbaijan, and it is an important measure to demonstrate Azerbaijan’s commitment to environmental protection and climate action. Baku’s high-profile role as an experienced country in hosting international events supports Azerbaijan’s ultimate goal of hosting COP29 in Baku. Moreover, Azerbaijan has proved itself as a reliable energy partner and a responsible member of the international community in the fight against global warming. Even though the country is rich in fossil fuels, and its energy mix is heavily concentrated in fossil fuels (oil and natural gas), Azerbaijan supports a sustainable energy future and a green economy. Azerbaijan’s green growth strategy and green energy projects will transform the country into a “green energy hub” in the region to supply renewable energy sources from the South Caucasus to Europe. Towards this end, the Black Sea underwater electric cable project signed between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, and Hungary supports regional green energy transition and the European Green Deal goals.

Of course, the COP29 summit is a much bigger event, and one cannot compare COP29 with any of the events hosted in the country. To plan and organize this important event successfully, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on the establishment of the Organizational Committee in connection with the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP29), the 19th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, and the 6th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement. The key task of the Organization Committee is to prepare and implement an Action Plan related to the organization and conduct of the COP29, the 19th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, and the 6th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, to take measures to establish an operational company, the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan was instructed to ensure financing in connection with the implementation of the Action Plan.

It should be noted that in Dubai COP28, which was the largest UN climate summit ever with around 200 nations, represented in the talks and 80,000 attendees, the key question was the need for countries to address fossil fuels as the key sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, during COP28, the parties agreed on the "loss and damage" fund that could start handing out money. Also, discussions continued on setting a ‘new collective quantified goal on climate finance’ in 2024, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing countries. The new goal, which will start from a baseline of USD 100 billion per year, will be a building block for the design and subsequent implementation of national climate plans that need to be delivered by 2025. Given that, it seems that the key question during the Baku COP29 will be finance and how to focus on long-term goals and strategies.


COP29 will be one of the largest and most important international events in 2024, and as less progress has been seen in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, progress was too slow across all areas of climate action, and getting financial and technological support to vulnerable nations, the Baku COP29 will be an important platform to support international cooperation on these areas, implement the Paris commitments, and ultimately focus on financial issues. In addition, Baku may put important topics such as environmental threats of war and landmine threats on the COP29 agenda as the country suffers from environmental degradation and landmine contamination. In time, COP29 may turn out to be an important opportunity for Azerbaijan to support a wider use of renewable energy sources throughout the economy and speed up the green transition.

Author: Shahmar Hajiyev ,Senior Advisor at the Center of Analysis of International Relations

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