“Personalities like Leyla Aliyeva have unique strength of conviction, and millions may respond to their calls”

The fact that Leyla Aliyeva, Vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, has been  appointed a Goodwill Ambassador of UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is another significant step forward to building partnership between Azerbaijan and FAO.  These were told by the head of the organization for mobilization of resources and relations with donors, Nadin Valat.

The author writes that on 2 September 2015, FAO was honoured to receive Vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and FAO Goodwill Ambassador Leyla Aliyeva at the organization’s head office.  On May 25, 2015, Leyla Aliyeva was declared a Goodwill Ambassador of FAO during the visit of FAO’s Director General Jose Graziano da Silva to Baku.  An agreement was signed during the visit on establishment of the Partnership and Coordination Office of FAO in Azerbaijan,  with participation of Azerbaijan’s Agriculture Minister Heydar Asadov. 

Noting that Azerbaijan has been a member to FAO since 1995 and that partnership with Azerbaijan has developed ever since, Nadin Valat wrote: “In 1999, Azerbaijan implemented the first project on providing urgent aid to Azerbaijan’s internally displaced people, which was  financed by Netherlands. A number of projects have been implemented in the course of the last 20 years aiming at improving food safety and providing aid to internally displaced people. They include such projects as programmes on controlling the “bird virus” and its removal, as well as supporting the development of aqua culture, utilization of outdated pesticides,  supporting the development of beekeeping, protection of agriculture and supporting the women in rural areas.”

Nadin Valat mentioned that Azerbaijan has recently made a concrete move towards changing its status as a country receiving  international aid: “The country has declared its intention to be a party to projects with the capacity to provide support to other countries of the region and countries beyond its boundaries in the future”.

The author underscores that FAO highly appreciates  partners such as countries in which the market economy has been formed and have average level of incomes, as they are key players on the international development arena, and they may contribute to FAO’s efforts aiming at diversifying partnership’s resource basis. So, they may share their knowledge and experience, through the South-South cooperation and tripartite cooperation, with other countries that would be possible to be successfully implemented by countries with less privileges in order to remove the issues associated with food safety. 

On May 25, 2015, the Partnership Programme was signed between Azerbaijan  and FAO.  The Programme will be implemented by  FAO’s Partnership Office in Baku. Providing investment of 10 million US Dollars in the course of 5 years, the new Partnership Programme will, in the preliminary phase, aim at priority areas defined by the Azerbaijani Government and FAO within the framework of the country programmes. These  include animals’ health issues and protection of plants, including struggling against animals’ trans-border movement and plant diseases, supporting investments to agriculture and food safety and development of rural areas,  supporting improved agriculture crops, fishing and cattle-breeding, and  sustainable and effective development of agriculture, management of land and water resources, development of potential including agricultural education and researches, as well as broadening and strengthening  of policy and institutional framework  aiming to develop agriculture and rural areas. 

FAO’s goodwill programme started in 1999 and, ever since, world-renowned personalities such as Carl Louis (athlete), Raul Bova (actor), Celine Dion (singer), Queen Leticia (Spain) have participated in FAO’s mission, delivering it to the public and  act in the name of FAO and its mandate. The  Conference of Parties (COP21) will sit in December to address  solution of climate changes. Climate changes have a great impact on the lives of millions of people, and their food safety. There are technologies and possibilities to eradicate famine on a permanent basis. 

Nadin Valat says: “FAO believes that it may, with the help of the organization’s goodwill ambassadors, disseminate this call further and make everybody believe that preventing famine is not a wish, it is a concrete possibility that we can see in our lifetime.”

It is noted that personalities like Leyla Aliyeva have unique strength of conviction, and millions may respond to their calls:  “We believe that Leyla Aliyeva, by participating in big events on raising funds in Azerbaijan and disseminating information about FAO’s activities, would successfully contribute to FAO’s business. Her fame may attract local mass media in the regions to FAO’s activity and increase awareness of the struggle against famine. Leyla Aliyeva may inform people in Azerbaijan and in the region of FAO’s projects and their outcomes.” 

FAO has recent years widened the spectrum of partnership with other major interested parties, including the private sector in general and especially funds. 

The author has also informed in the article that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation is a very famous organization and provides support to activities in the sphere of development in Azerbaijan, especially activities aiming at generating women incomes and protecting  the environment. FAO is hopeful, in the near future, it will be possible to expand the partnership with the Foundation. Following the initiative of Leyla Aliyeva, FAO and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation may, through the exchange of knowledge and experience in the sphere of development in agriculture and development of villages, successfully join their efforts and build a better world free of famine.