Azerbaijan Towards COP29: Green Energy and Liberated Territories


Neighboring Azerbaijan will host the 29th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change – COP29 – in November this year. The decision in this regard was taken at the COP28 plenary session on December 11.

It should be noted that the hosting of the COP usually rotates among the UN’s five regional groups. Each regional group must unanimously decide to nominate a country from among its members to host this conference.

When it was the turn of the Eastern Europe regional group to host the COP29 in 2024, Azerbaijan submitted its candidacy to host the conference in Baku. In addition to Azerbaijan, Armenia and Bulgaria also submitted nominations. In a joint statement issued after direct talks between the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister’s Office of Armenia on December 7, Armenia announced its withdrawal in favor of Azerbaijan. Bulgaria also withdrew its candidacy in favor of Azerbaijan.

Answering questions at the forum “COP29 and the Green Vision for Azerbaijan” organized jointly by ADA University and Baku-based AIR Center and attended by more than 60 foreign experts from 30 countries, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev assessed Armenia’s position as positive. The President said Armenia’s support for Azerbaijan’s candidacy contributed to building trust between the two countries.

One of the issues discussed by political experts is whether a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia will be signed before COP29. Answering questions, Ilham Aliyev said that it is absolutely realistic to reach an agreement on basic principles. A similar statement came from Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on May 7.

The organization of COP 29 in Azerbaijan is an important development for the country and is expected to contribute positively in various fields such as economy, tourism, investment, regional leadership and s.

At the COP meetings, which are held every year on certain calendars, issues such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, combating climate change, providing financing for this purpose are discussed and decisions are taken.

These meetings also review the implementation of international climate agreements that play a decisive role in combating climate change, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

Addressing the mischiefs of global warming at the ADA forum, the President of Azerbaijan emphasized that the Caspian Sea is also adversely affected by climate change, which not only causes environmental problems, but can also confront countries with serious connectivity problems. The Central Corridor project, which will connect China to Europe through multimodal transportation solutions, passes through the Caspian Sea, and the growing environmental problems could seriously jeopardize such important projects in the future if no solution is found.

Azerbaijan’s goal is to develop its renewable energy potential, which is an important part of the country’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2050. The country aims to increase its renewable energy capacity to 30% by 2030 and become a leader in green energy in the region by diversifying its existing energy system accordingly.

Green energy potential in areas liberated from Armenian occupation

Azerbaijan has declared Karabakh and seven regions, as well as the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, which it recaptured after the Second Karabakh War in 2020, as green energy zones.

About 25% of the country’s freshwater resources are concentrated in Karabakh and the seven regions. The long years of occupation of these regions caused the country not to benefit from these resources, hundreds of thousands of hectares of agricultural areas could not be irrigated, fertile lands were eroded and desertification problems emerged. In this respect, Suqovushan and Sərsəng water dams, which were liberated from occupation, are very important for Azerbaijan.

Hydropower accounts for about 10% of Azerbaijan’s domestic annual electricity generation. Azerbaijan’s goal now is to increase this capacity by utilizing the water reserves in the liberated regions. Hydroelectric power plants with a capacity of 170 megawatts started operating in these regions between 2021 and 2023, and this number is expected to reach 270 megawatts by the end of 2024.

Azerbaijan also has potential for the development of solar energy. In October last year, the 230 megawatt Montenegro Solar Power Plant, built in Azerbaijan by the United Arab Emirates company MASDAR, was inaugurated. This is the largest solar power plant in the Caspian Sea and Caucasus region. In 2022, the Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan and MASDAR signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of renewable and clean energy in the liberated territories.

The solar energy potential in the liberated regions of Zangilan, Jabrail, Gubadli and Fuzuli is the second most favorable in the country after the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

The mountainous regions of Lachin and Kalbajar have good potential for wind energy.

The reconstructed city of Lachin

The city of Lachin, strategically important for Armenia and the separatist regime in Karabakh, was occupied on May 18, 1992.

As a result of the occupation, more than 70,000 Azerbaijani citizens were forced to flee their homes.

When the city was occupied, houses were looted and many were burned. During the years of occupation, one of the main goals of Armenia and the separatist so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was to increase the number of inhabitants of the city. To this end, Armenians from Armenia and the Middle East were settled in Lachin. However, poverty and poor living conditions in the city have prevented the population from growing.

The city of Lachin was returned to Azerbaijan in August 2022 on the basis of the 2020 ceasefire agreement signed between the leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia.

In April 2023, Azerbaijan took control of the Lachin corridor connecting Karabakh to Armenia, which was under the control of Russian peacekeepers, and established a border crossing point on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border.

Soon after the return, reconstruction work in the city began at a rapid pace, and in 2023 the residents of Lachin began to return to their homes.

Speaking at a forum in Lachin organized jointly by ADA University and AIR Center and attended by more than 60 foreign experts from 30 countries, Masim Mammadov, the representative of the President of Azerbaijan in Lachin, announced that 59 families will soon return to the village of Sus in Lachin.

To date, 493 families (1838 people) have migrated to the city of Lachin and 217 families (823 people) to the village of Zabuh.

New businesses also continue to open in Lachin. A fish farming facility on the Hakari River employs 16 people who returned to Lachin.

In the greenhouses in the agricultural and industrial zone in the village of Zerti, 8km from the city, a variety of vegetables, decorative flowers, exotic fruits and tree saplings are grown to address the ecological damage caused by the 30-year occupation of Lachin. The workers here are also Lachin residents. In the near future, a large open and closed marketplace of the fair type is planned to be built on the territory of Lachin district. The main goal is to sell both the products grown in the greenhouse and the fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products produced by the people of the regions around Laçin.

The transformation of Laçin, so to speak, fascinates people who visit the city. Set in the bosom of lush green mountains, this rebuilt city reminds one of an open-air museum.

And the people who have returned to their homes and cities do not hesitate to share this happiness. But they still worry from time to time. Although the trauma of having to leave their homes in the first war and the city’s location close to the Armenian border sometimes worries them, they know that Azerbaijan is in a much stronger position than it was in the 1990s. This is one of the reasons why they return home with peace of mind.

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