The principles of state policy in the field of environmental protection have been specified in the "Ecological Concept of the Republic of Azerbaijan" developed in the early 1990Os by the State Committee for the Environment. As with any other conceptual model, this concept is based on the principles of ecological security tested in practice, which were approved within Agenda 21 at the Conference held in Rio-de- Janeiro in 1992. As in all developed countries, the National Concept of environmental protection is oriented towards the provision of environmental safety and the improvement of the ecological situation in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The concept is based on selected priorities and general directions with the aim of implementing adequate measures to improve the environment. Briefly, they can be expressed as follows:
In order to realise these principles the development of a National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) with the aid of the World Bank for Reconstruction and Development is planned. The NEAP will be based on the National Concept of Actions on environmental protection; resolution of the UN Conference on the environment, development and social issues; substantiation of urgent measures and main directions for the provision of environmental safety and improvement of the ecological situation in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan is a Presidential Republic with a unitary state, which is divided into 67 administrative territorial units (districts), including the currently occupied Karabakh region and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic separated from the mother country by the territory of the Armenian Republic. Azerbaijan borders with Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Georgia and the Russian Federation. The capital of the Republic is Baku city, where all the republican management bodies are located. The main functions of administrative management are performed by the bodies of the executive power, including municipal executive power.
Local executive power - 67 municipal and district bodies are governed by the Head of the Executive Power of the district. The local executive power deals with all economic and social issues (including production) on its territory and is the land- owner. The biggest administrative units are Baku, Sumgait, Ganja, Ali-Bayramli, Mingachevir, Gazakh, Salyan and others.
The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is an integral part of Azerbaijan and has adequate management structures.
Economic management is implemented by the Cabinet of Ministers. The Cabinet of Ministers is the executive power and performs the functions of state management of the national economy and consists of the management of ministries, state committees and state concerns.
The body which implements Government management in the field of environmental protection is the State Committee for the Environment, which is directly subordinated to the President of the Azerbaijan Republic. The State Committee for the Environment has a central apparatus, 2 specialized departments, 29 territorial municipal, interdistrict and district committees on ecology, 14 state reserves and 20 preservations.
In accordance with the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On Environmental Protection and Nature Utilization" adopted in 1992, and Regulations on the State Committee for the Environment, established by the Decree of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic, The State Committee for the Environment shall supervise the observation of all standards and requirements in the field of environmental protection, and carry out state control over the status and utilization of natural resources.
National Governmental monitoring of the environment is implemented by the State Committee for Hydrometeorology and the State Committee for the Environment. Local monitoring is entrusted to the nature user, i.e. companies using natural resources, which include this provision in their documents.
The State Committee for the Environment, in accordance with the existing legislation implements:
The local (district and municipal) committees on ecology are subordinated directly to the State Committee for the Environment and perform the role of governmental control over the environment on the territory within their jurisdiction. A Reserve Fund for environmental protection is functioning in Azerbaijan. The Fund is established under the State Committee for the Environment. The Guardian Council of the Fund consists of the Management of the State Committee for the Environment and leading scientists of the Republic. The financial means of the Fund are formed from the fines imposed on violators of environmental legislation, and payments for natural resources utilization.
Legislation designed to protect nature has been based on the principles stipulated in the Constitutional Act on the Independence of Azerbaijan, adopted in the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan (1995), the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On Environmental Protection and Utilization of Natural Resources", and the Statute of the State Committee for the Environment is aimed at providing:
The legislation on environmental protection of the Azerbaijan Republic is based on the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan adopted in 1995, which specifies that the environment and all natural resources of the Azerbaijan Republic belong to the people of Azerbaijan. The Constitution states that citizens of the Republic are obliged to take care of the environment and protect its wealth. The Government on behalf of present and future generations takes necessary measures for the protection and scientifically justified and rational use of land and its resources, water resources, flora and fauna for the preservation of pure air and water, guaranteeing the reproduction (regeneration) of natural wealth and an improvement in the quality of the human environment.
In previous years the State Committee for the Environment was deprived of the chance to pursue an independent international policy and make contact with foreign, environmental organizations. This resulted in a situation whereby the Republic's ecological problems appeared to be isolated and passed over in silence.
During 1991-1995, the State Committee for the Environment established close contacts not only with international ecological organizations, but also with various Government departments responsible from the environment of many foreign countries. The Management Members of the Committee were at the head of the State delegation participating in the Conference on the Creation of the Committee of the Caspian countries to solve the problems of the Caspian Sea, which was held in the Islamic Republic of Iran. They also took part in the Istanbul Conference of Ministers of Environment from the Central Asian, Black Sea and Balkan regions, at the meeting in Sofia of Ministers of Environment from European countries and at other meetings. These meetings drew world attention to the ecological problems of Azerbaijan, of the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region in general.
International policy of Azerbaijan and, in particular, the State Committee for the Environment is based on the principles of mutually beneficial cooperation and common interests in the field of environmental protection and the rational utilization of natural resources.
As a state body, the State Committee for the Environment proceeds from the interests of the Azerbaijan Republic to protect the safety of the natural environment. Their main efforts are directed towards international recognition of the policy in the field of ecology, scientific and engineering potential of the Republic and use of this potential by the international community.
Cooperation with the UN mission and UN Development Program (UNDP) in Azerbaijan enabled a number of international organizations to cooperate in the field of ecology. Negotiations have been held with the representatives of UN, UNEP, UNESCO, World Bank for Reconstruction and Development, environmental protection organizations of the USA, UK, Germany, Turkey, Iran and CIS countries. The results of these negotiations were: adoption of the "Agreement on cooperation in the field of ecology and environmental protection between Azerbaijan and Turkey", on the basis of which seminars have been held and specialists of the Republic have been trained, also the issues on rendering technical assistance in the realization of monitoring the trans-boundary rivers are being solved. Other documents resulting from these negotiations were: "Protocol on Cooperation between the Environmental Protection Ministry of the UK and the State Committee for the Environment"; "Agreement on cooperation between the British Petroleum Company and State Committee for the Environment in the field of Ecology and Environmental Protection". In order to resolve the ecological problems in the Caspian Sea, a number of proposals to the Islamic Bank for Development on financing the program to study the problems of the Caspian Sea have been prepared for the Government of the Republic. The visit of experts from this organization for the consideration of the Agreement is expected.
In 1991, the First Baku International Conference on the Problems of the Caspian Sea was held, which was attended by the representatives of 158 countries. On the basis of the final documents of this Conference, the State Committee for the Environment has worked out the pr
For many decades the ecological education and awareness in the Republic has been of a politicized character, and as a result the general level of ecological culture in the Republic did not meet the modern requirements. Taking into account the extremely unsatisfactory level of ecological education and lack of literature available for the general public, the State Committee for the Environment published a number of books and manuals on different aspects of ecology and environment during the period of 1990 - 1995 at the expense of the Reserve Fund. Among them were: "State Report on the Environmental Situation and Environmental Protection Activity in the Azerbaijan Republic"; "Ecological Concept of the Azerbaijan Republic"; Manual on Ecology by Professor M.M.Salmanov. "Essays on Ecology"; Methodological Manual on Ecology by Professor G.A.Mustafayev; "Medical Ecology" - manual for students of medical universities, by professor D.Gadjiyev; "Ecology of the Caspian Sea", research work by A. Kasumov, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan Republic; "Enemies of enemies or our friends" (Azeri) by Professor S. Aliyev; "Infectious diseases" - fundamental research by professor N.Aliyev. The second edition of the "Red Book of the Azerbaijan Republic" is being prepared for publishing, but at the present time the possibilities of the State Committee State Committee for the Environment in this respect are also zero.
Scientific-documentary and full-length documentary films have been made by the order of the State Committee for the Environment and have been shown to the general public. The State Committee for the Environment attaches great importance to the issues of the training of environmental specialists, and with this purpose seminars are systematically organized, involving leading specialists of the Republic and experts of international organizations for delivering lectures. A number of such seminars with the participation of the specialists of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation in Europe, Environmental Protection Ministries of Turkey, Sweden, Lithuania and Croatia were organized during the period of 1991- 1995.
Considerable attention has been paid to the mass media. Under the direct assistance of the State Committee for the Environment the Republic's TV channels systematically broadcast programs on the problems of environmental protection and nature utilization. Newspapers regularly publish news and information concerning environmental conditions in the Republic.
Taking into account the great deficiency of textbooks about ecology in the secondary schools and the necessity to involve the leading specialists in the raising of ecological awareness among the nation's youth, the State Committee for the Environment regularly holds meetings and seminars in the schools of the Republic. Such meetings are meant not only to familiarize the participants with the principles of ecological culture, but also to attract the attention of young participants to the problems of ecology and to form a modern ecological mentality in the growing generation. During such seminars and meetings textbooks on ecology and environmental protection are donated to school libraries free of charge. Unfortunately, at present, financial difficulties resulting from the military conflict over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh do not allow the active continuation of this new tendency, and the only hope is for the assistance of international organizations, first and foremost UNDP and UNICEF.
In order to involve the ge
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