Speech by Ilham Aliyev in the High Level Segment of the 15th Petersberg Climate Dialogue

26 April 2024, 16:04

Speech by President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear Mr. Chancellor.

Dear Madame Minister.

Ladies and gentlemen.

First of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to Mr. Chancellor for inviting me to attend the Petersberg Dialogue. It’s a big honor for me to be with you today. As the host of COP29, Azerbaijan is in an active phase of preparation for this global event. We have less than one year for preparation. So, we are doing all our best in order to deliver good results.

Being elected by unanimous decision as the host country for COP29 is really a big honor for us. We consider it as a sign of respect from the international community to Azerbaijan and what we're doing, in particular, in the area of green energy. Definitely, it's a huge responsibility because we not only need to organize a good event but also deliver good results. I think that Azerbaijan's international connections and active involvement in different international organizations will allow us to build bridges or strengthen bridges, and solidarity between the countries of different continents.

I mean that we have held the chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement for several years - for four years - a movement that unites 120 countries. We were elected by unanimous decision, and our chairmanship was extended by unanimous decision for one year. During our chairmanship, we established very fruitful relations with many members of the Movement. Our chairmanship coincided with COVID-19. So, we acted in a very responsible way and provided humanitarian, financial, and technical assistance to more than 80 countries. So, this international platform, I hope, will allow us to engage countries of the Global South in the common agenda. At the same time, relations with many European countries are also developing successfully. With nine EU members, Azerbaijan signed or adopted agreements and declarations on Strategic Partnership. So, saying that, I hope that these international connections will allow us to strengthen solidarity. That's mainly what we need. We need finance. We need solidarity, and we need shared responsibility.

As a country rich in fossil fuels, Azerbaijan is a member of the OPEC+ platform. I think that this is also an additional advantage. Because we think that a country rich in natural resources, particularly oil and gas, should be at the forefront of those addressing the issues of climate change. So, these different layers, I think, will create a good spirit of solidarity and will allow us to reach our goals. As we were elected as the host country of COP, the main focus of some media outlets was on our energy portfolio and energy background. I have always said that having oil and gas deposits is not our fault. It's a gift from God. We must not be judged by that. We must be judged based on how we use these reserves for the development of the country, to reduce poverty and unemployment, and on what our targets are with respect to the green agenda.

Our oil and gas will be needed for many more years, including in European markets. In 2022, the EU and Azerbaijan signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Partnership in the field of energy, and our natural gas supplies to the European Union are growing. This was the request of the European Commission. We responded positively to that. Currently, half of our natural gas exports, specifically 12 billion cubic meters, are going to the European Union market. Based on the mentioned Memorandum, our exports to the EU should reach 20 billion cubic meters by 2027. We all understand that this is a sign of responsibility of Azerbaijan in this geopolitical situation. Because we are largely investing in increasing our gas production. Because Europe needs more gas from new sources. At the same time, our green agenda started to materialize prior to being awarded COP29.

We have already started huge projects for green transition with our foreign partners and investors. This year in Azerbaijan was declared the “Green World Solidarity Year”. Only this year, the groundbreaking ceremony for power stations will be held, allowing us to produce 1300 megawatts of solar and wind energy. By the end of 2027, we hope and actually assured - because contracts have been signed – that we will have 2000 megawatts of green solar and energy operational. There will be nine power stations, and by 2030, an additional 10 solar and wind power stations will produce 5000 megawatts (five gigawatts) of electricity. Using this potential, we will largely substitute our gas consumption for electricity production. As for the volumes, I think that at least an additional five billion cubic meters of gas will be exported to Europe. So, it's actually a win-win situation. We have created a very good investment climate. All these green energy projects I mentioned are financed by foreign investors.

Azerbaijan just provides its infrastructure and a very friendly investment climate. We will save a lot of natural gas, which Europe needs. At the same time, we are currently in the final stage of a feasibility study to build integrated transmission lines from Caspian offshore wind farms to Europe, including a subsea cable under the Black Sea. This will allow Azerbaijani green energy, a volume of four gigawatts, to be exported to Europe. Our proven reserves of offshore wind energy are 157 gigawatts. So, this is an illustration of the potential. For many years, wind has caused certain discomfort for Baku inhabitants, but now wind energy will generate a lot of activity, cooperation, partnership, and will strengthen energy security. So, my final point is that energy security should definitely be treated as a matter of national security of the countries. There should be no discrimination. As the head of a country rich in fossil fuels, of course, we will defend the right of these countries to continue investments and production because the world needs it. But at the same time, countries with fossil fuels, as I have already mentioned, should be among those demonstrating solidarity with respect to issues related to climate change.

Once again, Mr. Chancellor, Madame Minister, thank you for the invitation. It's a big honor and pleasure to be among you. I wish you successful discussions. Thank you.