At the outset, I would like to greet the participants and thank you, Mr. Chairman, for organizing this meeting. I would also like to warmly welcome Ambassador Michael Christidis and wish him the best of luck and every success in discharging the demanding functions of the Secretary General.
This informal meeting is another opportunity for exchanging views on recent developments within the Organization and for shaping our common vision with respect to BSEC’s role in the wider geography.
Taking stock of BSEC’s activities over the course of the recent decade, we believe that pursuing the path of consistent reforms within the Organization adds value to the ongoing debate on the necessity to raise the effectiveness and efficiency of the Organization, enhance its legal and institutional capabilities and, most importantly, achieve a flexible decision-making mechanism.
The process of reforms should also lead to transforming BSEC PERMIS into the strong professional executive body, capable of generating ideas and initiatives as well as fulfilling respective decisions and resolutions. We should also restrain from embracing every field of cooperation. Our activities should be based on specific and agreed priorities and be relevant to our organizational capacities and limited human and financial resources. As one of the BSEC founding members, Azerbaijan realizes the important role that BSEC plays in the region and is genuinely interested in strengthening the effectiveness of the Organization. In this regard, we support the BSEC reform process that would help it better adapt to the changing realities of the global development agenda and better respond to the needs of its members.
To be precise, we suggest that the number of BSEC subsidiary bodies be reduced and the efforts be taken towards the consolidation of their activities. It is also important to strengthen the activity of the Working Groups as a core part of the subsidiary bodies.
With this in mind, Azerbaijan has recently assumed the duties of the country-coordinator of two Working Groups, namely, on Customs Matters and on Science and Technology. We hosted the meetings of these groups, during which important policy issues were discussed and the road maps for streamlining cooperation within these Working Groups were adopted. With a view to further contributing to the work of the Organization, Azerbaijan has also volunteered to take up the functions of the country-coordinator within the Working Group on Information and Communication Technologies. We believe that scientific development in cohesion with ICT is one of promising areas of successful cooperation in the BSEC region. We are in a position to allocate sufficient resources and establish an interactive working platform for sharing of expertise and project generation that would undoubtedly strengthen the effect of our common endeavors in the respective area.
As far as practical modalities of the functioning of the Organization are concerned, we uphold the view that strengthening the BSEC’s financial and budgetary system is an inevitable precondition for the effective implementation of challenges that the Organization is currently facing.
Development of economic cooperation depends on an adequate and timely response to numerous and complex challenges encountered by the BSEC Member States. One of key obstacles for ensuring a full-scale regional cooperation is the existence of protracted armed conflicts, which are the major source of instability and a serious impediment to the economic development. For that reason, while setting its reform guidelines, our Organization should not overlook the existing and potential threats present in the BSEC region and be able to timely identify and adequately respond to them. Needless to say that lasting peace, stability and cooperation in the region require, first and foremost, the resolution of these conflicts on the basis of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of States.