Mehriban Aliyeva, Leyla Aliyeva attend COP21

By: Nigar Orujova

Azerbaijan’s First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and Vice-President of the Foundation, founder and head of IDEA Public Association Leyla Aliyeva have attended COP21 Climate Change Conference underway in Paris.

COP21 climate change summit gathered more than 190 nations to find a new global agreement on climate change, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that can cause dangerous warming on the planet.

The first lady and the head of IDEA were welcomed by Secretary General of COP21 Conference Pierre-Henri Guignard.

As part of the conference, Leyla Aliyeva addressed a side event titled “Innovative decision making tools for low carbon development and climate resilience in Europe and Central Asia” organized by the Regional Environmental Center.

In her speech, Leyla Aliyeva highlighted global environmental problems, and proposed ways of addressing them.

She drew the audience’s attention to Azerbaijan’s favorable geographical location, nature, rich flora and fauna and climate.

The head of IDEA also spoke of the activities of her organization and responded to questions from the audience.

IDEA is implementing large-scale local and international projects to protect the environment and to promote innovative approaches toward solving environmental problems.

The campaign is based on the principles of: dialogue, action, leadership, and education – all the essential components for fostering positive and sustainable environmental change.

On the sidelines of COP21, Leyla Aliyeva further met with Executive Director of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) Marta Szigeti Bonifert.

They discussed prospects for cooperation and joint projects between IDEA and REC, as both organizations focus on increasing public awareness of environmental threats.

IDEA and REC are now working together to launch an innovative multimedia educational kit, the Green Pack, for Azerbaijani schoolchildren, which will be presented next year.

Bonifert hailed REC’s cooperation with IDEA, saying they are committed to continuing this collaboration. She also praised the activities of IDEA.

As part of the conference, Leyla Aliyeva also met with Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Richard Kinley.

Aliyeva congratulated UNFCCC on the successful organization of the Paris Conference.

She highlighted national and regional projects of IDEA Public Association, and noted that IDEA is a member of several international organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, World Wide Fund for Nature and International Union for Conservation of Nature.

On his part, Kinley hailed IDEA’s experience in biodiversity restoration and raising public awareness.

After the meeting, Aliyeva viewed pavilions of COP21, including an exhibition arranged by Morocco, the host of COP 22 Conference. She met with Moroccan Minister of the Environment Hakima El Haite here.

At the meeting with Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Monique Barbut, Leyla Aliyeva and Barbut signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between IDEA and UNCCD.

Following the signing ceremony, Aliyeva highlighted IDEA’s projects aimed at preserving the environment, particularly “No tree cutting” program. She said more than 5 million trees have been planted in the country in four years.

Barbut also congratulated IDEA on getting accreditation from UNCCD.

Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.

The head of IDEA also met with Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Inger Andersen in Paris.

Aliyeva congratulated Andersen on her appointment as Director General of IUCN. She highlighted the activities of IDEA, and the organization’s cooperation with IUCN. They discussed prospects for cooperation in the fields of education, conservation of fauna and flora, and public awareness.