We, politicians, scholars and representatives of international organizations, culture, civil society and the mass media, who took part in the V Baku International Humanitarian Forum held in Baku, capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on 29 to 30 September 2016,
- guided by the United Nations Millennium Declaration and taking into account the Resolution of the UN General Assembly of 25 September 2015 on sustainable development until 2030 and the Paris Agreement on climate change of 12 December 2015;
- noting that progress has been made in achieving the goals set out in the Millennium Declaration;
- highly commending the substantial shifts achieved in recent years in the resolution of many humanitarian problems, in particular in access to education, health care and information and communication technology, in overcoming the “digital divide” and shaping a knowledge-based society;
- declaring our commitment to the new broad, ambitious, universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and noting the importance of maintaining and increasing human capital;
- acknowledging the fundamental significance of human dignity and the principles of the supremacy of the law, justice, equality and respect for racial, ethnic and cultural diversity and considering the increase in human capital the main prerequisite for the achievement of the millennium goals;
- calling on everyone to mobilize efforts to achieve the 17 sustainable development goals and to persevere in hitting the 169 targets set for humanity;
- considering that there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development, and calling all countries and peoples to a prompt and fair resolution of the current conflicts in the world;
- agreeing with the need for balance in achieving the economic, social, ecological and other components of sustainable development;
- realizing that for many countries immense problems requiring the creation of different short-term and long-term programmes still stand on the path of sustainable development;
- vigorously condemning escalating conflicts, militant extremism, terrorism and the related humanitarian crises and the forced displacement of people;
- noting that despite all attempts to achieve effective intercultural, interfaith and inter-civilizational dialogue, manifestations of xenophobia, racism, intolerance and ignorance of the achievements and potential of the policy of multiculturalism remain potent around the world;
- expressing our commitment to the policy of gender equality and ensuring the rights of people in vulnerable situations;
- highlighting the fact that the rights of ecological civilization can be affirmed only by taking into account the fundamental principles of humanitarian ethics and with the full mobilization of intellectual, cultural and social potential;
- taking into account the huge role of the mass media and information technology in developing humanitarian cooperation;
- wishing to mobilize efforts for the reliable preservation of our planet and its natural resources and for ensuring development and the use of technology, taking into consideration climate factors and the need to preserve biodiversity;
- recalling that in conditions of globalization the search by the scientific community for appropriate responses to the challenges of the 21st century, the convergence of sciences, innovative technology and biotechnology throw up a wide spectrum of philosophical and ethical problems;
- having examined in the course of discussions and broad exchanges of views such aspects of global humanitarian problems as: • different models of multiculturalism: from theory to humanitarian practice; • the importance of preserving the human capital in conditions of mass migration as a basis for sustainable development; • transforming of journalism for the information age and its role in ensuring inter-civilizational dialogue; • sustainable development and ecological civilization; • molecular biology, biophysics, biotechnology and issues of personnel training in modern medicine: innovative and ethical problems; • converging technologies and predictions for the future: the main challenges of the 21st century;
- we state that the work of the V Baku International Humanitarian Forum was extremely fruitful and, undoubtedly, made a worthy contribution to the expansion and further development of international humanitarian cooperation;
- we think that investment in human capital alone is the most important prerequisite in finding effective responses to contemporary challenges, just as it contributes to the improvement of managerial, production, scientific and information and communication technology directed at improving quality of life;
- we note that the Baku International Multiculturalism Centre, founded on the initiative of the Republic of Azerbaijan, makes an important contribution to the development of the theory and practice of multiculturalism;
- we attest that significant success has been achieved in Azerbaijan in maintaining and increasing human capital overall, and also amongst such vulnerable groups of the population as refugees and forced migrants, for the effective use of this factor in achieving the goals of sustainable development;
- we acknowledge that the key humanitarian components of sustainable development are the development of human capital through the integration of cutting edge knowledge and skills, including interdisciplinary ones, in a programme of continuing education and also the expansion of cooperation in this field;
- we note the ever-growing role of information technology and the mass media in achieving the goals of organizing effective inter-civilizational, intercultural and interfaith dialogue;
- we pay special attention to the need to shape ideas of ecological civilization and encourage different movements in support of the introduction of rational models of consumption and production, an attitude of care towards natural resources and awareness of the need to take action on climate change;
- we understand the importance of a comprehensive exchange of views in interdisciplinary areas among different representatives of the scientific community, including among scholars from the natural and humanitarian sciences, and highly appreciate their efforts in the sphere of the convergence of modern and traditional technology to ensure appropriate responses to the challenges of the 21st century;
- we call on all international and national structures specializing in humanitarian cooperation to hold regular forums, conferences and round tables aimed at fostering an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect and at meeting contemporary global and local challenges;
- we note the need for this kind of forum to be held once in two years and express our deep gratitude to the President and government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and all the organizers of the V Baku International Humanitarian Forum for creating the conditions for a productive exchange of opinions and elaboration of a common vision of the problem;
- we consider necessary the adoption of this declaration and its use in reinforcing cooperation in the humanitarian sphere.
The 5th Baku International Humanitarian Forum has today continued with a plenary session following the opening ceremony.
The first part of the session, attended by head of the Azerbaijan`s Presidential Administration, academician of National Academy of Sciences Ramiz Mehdiyev, was chaired by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov. It heard speeches from political and religious leaders.
Vice-president of the Republic of Bulgaria Margarita Popova hailed the importance of the Forum, saying it features discussions on pressing issues. She thanked the Azerbaijani government for “excellent” organization of the event.
Ms Popova highlighted Azerbaijan’s contribution to the preservation and promotion of multiculturalism and multicultural values.
Chairman of the Clerical Office of Caucasus Muslims Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade drew the audience`s attention to ways of preventing and combating religious extremism.
Former President of the Republic of Croatia Stjepan Mesic pointed to increasing xenophobic tendencies in Europe. He called on media organizations and politicians to be more responsible. Mr Mesic noted the role of the intercultural and interreligious dialogue addressing global challenges, and hailed the importance of the 5th Baku International Humanitarian Forum in this regard.
Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said all people must have equal opportunities and rights so that intercultural and interreligious dialogue is ensured.
Chairman of the Assembly of Representatives of the Supreme Assembly of the Republic of Tajikistan Shukurjon Zuhurov highlighted the growing prestige of the Baku International Humanitarian Forum. “The Baku forum pushes brand new ideas every year which contribute to the expansion of relations among nations and cultures.
Spiritual leader of India Sri Sri Ravishankar Swami Jyothirmayah thanked the Azerbaijani government for organizing the forum.
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay Gerardo Amarilla, Associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Vice-speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the National Congress of Argentine Republic Patricia Gimenez, President of the Buddhist Association of China Xue Cheng, Secretary of State of the Republic of Kazakhstan Gulshara Abdykalikova, President of the Conference of the Imams of France Hassen Chalghoumi, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union Commission Aisha Abdullahi, Assistant Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Hesham Youssef, Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO Michael Worbs also made speeches at the session.
The second part of the plenary session was chaired by President of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, academician Akif Alizade. It heard speeches from Nobel Prize laureates.
Mr Alizade opened the session, saying 13 Nobel laureates will highlight current global challenges and ways of addressing them.
Wole Soyinka, Nobel Prize Winner in Literature, underlined the necessity of stepping up efforts to help refugees and displaced.
Rudolph Arthur Marcus, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, spoke of the ongoing global changes.
Richard John Roberts, Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine, Rudolf Martin Zinkernagel, Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine, Robert Betts Laughlin, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, Edward Prescott, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics, Aaron Ciechanover, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, Avraham Hershko, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, Finn Kydland, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics, George Fitzgerald Smoot III, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, Ada Yonath, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, Dan Shechtman, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, Arieh Warshel, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, also addressed the session.
The third session was chaired by Mikayil Jabbarov, Minister of Education of Azerbaijan, who noted the importance of the Forum. He said round tables will focus on a wide range of pressing issues of global importance. He noted that the Azerbaijani government attaches great importance to humanitarian issues.
Vincenzo Scotti, President of Link Campus University, Italy, will chair “Different Models of Multiculturalism: from Theory to Humanitarian Practice” round table. He provided an insight into the agenda of the round table. He thanked the President of Azerbaijan for the “excellent” delivery of the event. Mr Scotti said multiculturalism lay at the heart of state policy of both national leader Heydar Aliyev and President Ilham Aliyev. He said the Forum was a brilliant opportunity for acclaimed scientists from different parts of the world to give their message to younger generations. He underlined the importance of building dialogue for ensuring peaceful co-existence of people.
Rashid Khalikov, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, highlighted the issues to be discussed at the round table “The Importance of Preserving the Human Capital in Conditions of Mass Migration as a Basis for Sustainable Development”. He drew the audience`s attention to migration problem. Mr Khalikov also praised the organization of the Baku Forum.
Mikhail Gusman, First Deputy Director General of the Russian news agency TASS, spoke of the topics to be discussed at “Transforming of Journalism for the Information Age and its Role in Ensuring Inter-Civilizational Dialogue” round table. He praised multiculturalism and tolerance in Azerbaijan. “For centuries people of different religious and ethnic background have lived together in peace, friendship and harmony in the country.” Mr Gusman emphasized positive and negative aspects of the media and social networks.
Leyla Aliyeva, Vice President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, founder of the International Dialogue Initiative for Protection of Environment–IDEA, provided an insight into the agenda of “Sustainable Development and Ecological Civilization” round table. “Azerbaijan is a land of ancient traditions and rich history, a place that sits at the crossroad between East and West, where Eastern wisdom and Western progress meet,” she said. “In the days gone by, Azerbaijan was a major center on the historic silk route. This had a major impact on our culture making Azerbaijan a country that at its heart believes in tolerance, new ideas and dialogue. This unique geographic position of Azerbaijan also had an impact on our landscapes. Our country is a place of wonderful snowcapped mountains, sharp cliffs, rivers, deep forests, meadows, and lowlands.”
Leyla Aliyeva spoke of the history of the establishment of IDEA. “We all know that governments carry out the primary responsibility for the protection of environment, but without active civil engagement, especially youth, it is impossible to ensure sustainable development. Therefore, in 2011 we have launched IDEA – the international campaign for dialogue and environmental action. Our intention was to educate and invite youth not only in Azerbaijan, but also around the world to protect the nature! Our slogan speaks for itself “One earth and future”. “We try to carry out all our projects in a creative, artistic and optimistic way. Over the past five years, we have achieved many positive results such as planting more than 5 million trees, protecting the endangered species, organizing lectures, classes and exhibitions to raise the awareness!”
Leyla Aliyeva said the round table will address “an emerging and very important issue to the whole international community”. “We all know that ecology and civilizations are two contradictory terms as civilizations have been undermining the global ecology for thousands of years. As a result, today we are in a situation when the survival of the whole planet is under the threat. However, emergence of “ecological civilization” concept demonstrates that more people are aware of this situation and are willing to act in order to protect our environment.” “Regardless of our race, religion, traditions and beliefs, we all live on the same planet and have common future – environmental problems have no borders. They threaten all the countries, and only working together and supporting each other, we can achieve positive results.”
Mark Rosenblatt, Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA, drew the audience`s attention to what will be discussed at “Molecular Biology, Biophysics, Biotechnology and Issues of Personnel Training in Modern Medicine: Innovative and Ethical Problems” round table. He said the round table will address the challenges of modern medical science and the problem of medical education, innovative and ethical problems of molecular biology, biophysics, biotechnology in the modern era.
Aleksandr Bugaev, Member of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of Laboratory of the Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics named after V.A.Kotelnikov, will chair round table “Converging Technologies and Predictions for the Future: the Main Challenges of the 21st Century”. He said the issues to be discussed at the round table include security issues of nuclear technology and fusion energy, issues of expanding the scope and sources of renewable energy, convergence of radiation-, nano- and bionano-technology.