Baku-hosted 2nd Global Shared Societies Forum features three sessions on its first day

Baku April 28 (AZERTAC). The 2nd Global Shared Societies Forum has featured three sessions following an opening ceremony in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on Monday.

The first session was called “Fundamentals of Shared Societies.

Leave no one behind: the importance of social inclusion in the Post 2015 sustainable development agenda”.

Moderator Clem McCartney, Shared Societies Project Content and Policy Coordinator, thanked the Azerbaijani government for “the excellent organization of the forum”.

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, former President of Sri Lanka, Member of the Club de Madrid, said governments should ensure that all groups of population were actively involved in the society`s life and decision-making. Bandaranaike Kumaratunga stressed the importance of “transparent and effective governance in this process”.

Rexhep Meidani, former President of Albania, Member of the Club de Madrid, said “we should work together and build close cooperation in order to overcome all contradictions”.

Yves Leterme, former Prime Minister of Belgium, Member of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, emphasized the necessity of ensuring equal education, healthcare and other opportunities for all layers of the society. He said this was one of the core principles of the shared society.

Maitreyi Das, Team Leader for Social Inclusion at Social Development Department at the World Bank, said such forums were of profound importance in terms of ensuring social inclusion.

Mikayil Jabbarov, Minister of Education, highlighted the Azerbaijani government`s work to develop education in the past few years. “Some 60% of secondary schools in Azerbaijan have been reconstructed.”

Discussion in the first session aimed at improving the understanding of the synergies between policies for inclusive economic growth and equal opportunities for decent work, high quality education and other social services.

Called “Social inclusion as a driver of sustainable economic growth respecting global boundaries”, the second session was moderated by Werner Puschra, Executive Director of the Israel Office of the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung.

Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister of Israel, Member of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, said the session was aimed at deepening the understanding of how social inclusion is essential for the attainment of sustainable economic growth, respect for natural resources and global boundaries and how, in turn, sustainable economic growth can foster inclusion.

Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland, Board Member of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, Member of the Club de Madrid, said social prosperity fostered economic development. She noted the importance of developing education and healthcare, and said human capital was one of the pillars of shared society. The former President of Finland emphasized the necessity of expanding opportunities for women and youth in societies, particularly ensuring their employment.

Alexander Likhotal, President of the Green Cross International, said greater attention should be paid to environmental issues for ensuring the development of healthy societies.

Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana, Member of the Club de Madrid, urged nations to combine efforts to build a safer world where people would live in peace and enjoy welfare.

Sevinj Hasanova, deputy Minister of Economy and Industry, said Azerbaijan was among the most rapidly developing economies in the world. She said Azerbaijan had achieved tremendous economic growth in the past decade, adding “poverty level has been dramatically reduced, while average monthly salaries and social allowances increased”.

The third session was called “Shared Societies as a Driver in Conflict Resolution”.

Hikmet Cetin, former Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, drew the audience`s attention to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict continues to be a major threat to regional peace. The Karabakh conflict was inherited from the Soviet era. It is one of the long-term conflicts in this part of the world.” Cetin said Nagorno-Karabakh was an integral part of Azerbaijan. “Not only Nagorno-Karabakh, but also seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijan were occupied by Armenia.” The former Turkish FM said Armenia had to withdraw its armed forces from the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, adding this would be the first step towards the conflict`s resolution.

Ismail Serageldin, Director of the Library of Alexandria, Co-Chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, warned of consequences of terrorism, xenophobia and hatred.

Araz Azimov, Azerbaijani deputy FM, highlighted what had been done to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict so far. He described the dispute as “one of the most dangerous conflicts in the South Caucasus”. “Settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is of crucial importance if we want to ensure stability in the region.” Azimov spoke of the mediatory efforts of the OSCE, saying the organization had to elaborate more effective mechanisms of conflict resolution.

Emil Constantinescu, former President of Romania, Member of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, highlighted the role of ethnic and religious communities in conflict resolution. He said building dialogue among communities could help solve and event prevent conflicts.

Boris Tadic, former President of Serbia, Member of the Club de

Madrid, Member of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, said political ambitions and historical events were major factors behind conflicts. He said every conflict required a unique and well-considered approach.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former President of Latvia, Co-chair of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, President of the Club de Madrid, said the major task humanity faced at this stage was forecasting what awaits it in the post 2015 period.

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