Azerbaijan is a key partner of UNESCO in promoting intercultural dialogue. Since 2008, Baku Process, initiated byPresident of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, has become a special international platform supporting cultural rapprochement. In his annual report, the UN Secretary General emphasized that Baku Process is a key global platform for promoting intercultural dialogue. This statement was voiced by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Ramiz Hasanov during the general political debates at the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference in Paris. He stressed that as the result of outstanding contribution of Azerbaijan's First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva to Azerbaijan-UNESCO bilateral relations, the relations with this organization have grown to a more intensive and dynamic level and opened new partnership horizons for promoting the ideas of peace and security. Speaking about the occupation of our territories by the Armenian armed forces and the destruction of our historical and cultural heritage in the occupied territories, R. Hasanov noted that, Azerbaijan as a country affected by the occupation, fully supports effective implementation of 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. In this regard, he mentioned that the book on protection of cultural heritage from the effects of armed conflictsand other emergencies, translated into different languages with the support of Azerbaijan, has become a textbook in military educational institutions. In a globalized world, multilateralism and inclusive cooperation are key factors for the realization of many important areas of human life, such as quality education, equal access to information, environmental protection, and the improvement of social and economic status of citizens, regardless of religion,language or race. UNESCO should be active in international cooperation. One of the key factors in improving the efficiency of the organization in order to respond to urgent international challenges is to reform. These reforms should be conducted in close consultation with member states in accordance with the UN reform process, Hasanov said. He spoke about the limited budget of the organization and emphasized the importance of paying more attention to its mandate as indicated in its constitution. He reiterated that he believes the strategic transformation made by the Director General will further strengthen the organization. Hasanov emphasized that during the presidency of Azerbaijan in the Non-Aligned Movement, the Republic of Azerbaijan will spare no effort to support other Member States to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. He also mentioned the hosting of the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement by Azerbaijan and the inclusion of Baku in the UNESCO Creative Cities List. Deputy Minister also provided information about The Trust Fund, established in 2013 and the International Development Agency (AIDA) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and spoke about the ongoing humanitarian projects. Azerbaijan will remain committed to the values and ideals of UNESCO and will continue to support the organization's noble mission. We think that as a laboratory of ideas, UNESCO should be a truly multilateral environment where all member states can come together to protect our common heritage, respect for diversity, promote peace and culture, "said Hasanov.
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