Ilham Aliyev attended the first All-Republican Forum of ASAN Volunteers

16 december 2014, 11:10

The first All-Republican Forum of ASAN Volunteers has kicked off at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Sabirabad.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the opening ceremony of the forum.

The head of state made a speech at the event.

Speech by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- The first forum of ASAN volunteers is being held in Sabirabad today. I cordially greet the forum participants. I am sure that the forum will be successful and very interesting discussions.

I am glad that “ASAN xidm?t” has a large army of volunteers. “ASAN xidm?t” has been in operation for only about two years. Over this period of time, more than 2,000 volunteers have worked for “ASAN xidm?t”, gained experience and contributed to our common cause. Currently, our centers employ 500 volunteers, so a remarkable young generation is growing. Young people are our future. I am glad that a very modern young generation is growing in Azerbaijan. It is attached to the country, to the homeland, and the activities of ASAN volunteers are of particular importance because you are involved in this work on a voluntary basis, have taken the initiative and are contributing to the overall development of our country through your work. This is a wonderful and commendable event. I am sure that volunteering will develop even faster in all other areas in Azerbaijan. In general, it is an indication of the society’s intent, because the current public and political situation in the country and the great overall atmosphere are conducive to such initiatives.

“ASAN xidm?t” was established about two years ago. Over the course of two years this center has covered a long and successful journey. Over this period, 3.5 million applications have been reviewed and about 3 million citizens have received various documents. So it has been a major turning point in public services, and I can say that such a unique institution as “ASAN xidm?t” is not available anywhere else in the world. Azerbaijan has displayed leadership qualities in this area too, and we have managed to create an intellectual product. Over this period we have built seven “ASAN xidm?t” centers, including four in Baku, one in Sumgayit, one in Ganja and one in Sabirabad, which became operational last night.

At the same time, you are well aware that citizens are also provided with mobile services. For this, we initially allocated two and now 10 buses fitted with the latest equipment. From now on, this will allow us the opportunity to continuously provide services in different regions of our country. If we consider that centers are built in other regions at the present time – construction of centers in Barda, Masalli and Gabala is drawing to a close and at least three new centers will be commissioned next year – this will create additional opportunities for people’s comfort.

As I have mentioned, the material and technical infrastructure of the service has been created over a short period of time. It is at the highest level now. At the same time, the service generates creative ideas and trends, and every time I attend the opening of a new center I see innovation. I have personally attended the opening of each of the seven centers. I provide great support to this initiative and I can honestly say that “ASAN xidm?t” occupies a special place among the reforms carried out in Azerbaijan in recent years. The establishment of “ASAN xidm?t” in Azerbaijan was an important component of the reforms. It is a manifestation of our reforms because the realities of the present-day Azerbaijan lie in the fact that our achievements have been possible thanks to thought-out reforms.

As a result of a deliberate policy, the choice of a right strategy in all areas and planning of the right steps in all directions, Azerbaijan is known worldwide as a successful model. You are also well aware that the leaders of authoritative international organizations visiting Azerbaijan get acquainted with the activities of “ASAN xidm?t” and then tell me that they did not expect the provision of such services in Azerbaijan at this level. At the same time, they also point out that it would be good to set up such services in all countries. We, in turn, are ready to provide assistance in the implementation of this project in other countries. I have repeatedly said that “ASAN xidm?t” is a product of Azerbaijan, an Azerbaijani brand name. We are now ready to export not only oil and gas resources, but also our intellectual products because there is a great need for such services in the world.

International organizations speak very highly of this service. This pleases us a lot. But the main thing for me is the attitude of the Azerbaijani people to the service. You are also well aware that the vast majority of the Azerbaijani people endorse and support this service. Along with words of approval sent in numerous letters to me, they express their opinions, and our statistics show that the wishes of the absolute majority are fulfilled.

Services at “ASAN xidm?t” are provided at a high level. I want to reiterate that the establishment of this service is a creative process because when signing the executive order two years ago, of course, I had an idea of what services and activities will be carried out and on this basis we started to work. But after the start of the work we saw that there are even broader opportunities. The activities of “ASAN xidm?t” have proved so successful that it is and will continue to be provided with additional functions that will bring people more comfort and create more transparency in society and in the field of public services. We want just that.

Azerbaijan is confidently moving forward today. Azerbaijan is a modern state. Azerbaijan has all the attributes of a modern state. We do not simply study the experience of other developed countries and apply it if it suits us, but also, by showing our own initiative, have an impact on global developments. Therefore, the attitude of the Azerbaijani people to this service is the greatest reward for me and for you. To this end, we have already built seven centers. Until the end of next year they will be at least 10, while the mobile bus service will enable provision of these services in all regions of our country. You will probably know that we initially allocated two buses. But then I was told that in places where the buses operate people do not want to let them go, they want them to stay there forever. So we decided to increase this number to 10, which is the case today.

When establishing “ASAN xidm?t”, we set ourselves a few goals. All of them are important to us. Their implementation will allow us the opportunity to develop our country even more rapidly. In the first place, “ASAN xidm?t” is instrumental in fighting corruption and bribery. We need to apply this practice to all other spheres in order to wage even more rigorous fight against corruption and bribery in Azerbaijan. I have repeatedly spoken on these issues. The Azerbaijani government has made considerable efforts to eliminate this social evil. But we have seen in some cases that penalties and administrative measures were insufficient. In such cases there is a great need for the adoption of institutional measures of a systemic nature. We are very serious about this work, and “ASAN xidm?t” is a unique tool for this. There is no corruption or bribery in “ASAN xidm?t”, which suggests that such a system can be set up in all areas.

The experience of “ASAN xidm?t” is now being applied to other areas. Transparency determines the future of any country, because without transparency we cannot carry out any reforms and the country cannot develop well economically or politically. At the same time, the successful development of any country requires the society to support the current policy. It requires a unity of the people and government. We see that where this unity is disrupted, countries are faced with great challenges and disasters. These events are taking place right before our eyes. The unity between the people and the government in Azerbaijan forms the basis of our success, and we must constantly strengthen this unity. To achieve this, of course, the standard of living should be even higher and the international image of the country should be even stronger. The country should develop so that everyone could feel proud to be a citizen of Azerbaijan. At the same time, society should not tolerate negative facts and we will continue to make effort to achieve this goal.

“ASAN xidm?t” holds a special place among the institutional measures against corruption and bribery, and I am sure that if this practice is applied to other countries, they will also become convinced of its positive aspects soon. “ASAN xidm?t” is a service established for people’s comfort. It is not by chance that it is called “ASAN”.

Without wasting any time or encountering any bureaucratic obstacles here, people demand and receive what they are entitled to. They can receive any document in a matter of minutes. “ASAN xidm?t” is also a unique practice of cultural services. It is no secret – of course, you as young people will probably not remember that one of the signs of the Soviet period was bureaucracy and in some cases a wrong attitude of public bodies to people. We have lived as an independent state for 23 years, but have not been able to fully eliminate the consequences of that time yet.

This gives rise to psychological issues as well. A negative role is also played by certain practices. Therefore, the types of services in “ASAN xidm?t”, as well as the approach to services, are completely different. And this should be the case. Azerbaijani citizens should be met with respect everywhere, especially in the government. Civil servants should not look down on them or trample on their rights. Government officials should not cause them any trouble. They should not place unreasonable demands on people. If these principles are fully approved, then, of course, our work will go even faster.

The system available at “ASAN xidm?t” is such that people are treated with great respect, and everything resolved fairly. In some cases, in our daily lives we see that justice is violated. It so happens that sometimes people wants to jump the line, but here it is impossible. Everything is fair, transparent and clean. No-one can claim that someone was ahead of them or was treated better than others. Indeed, the turnaround achieved in the area of services is a great success of “ASAN xidm?t”.

Innovation is applied here. As I have already noted, I see technical innovations at the opening of each center and am very pleased that this process has become permanent. Last night, when opening the Sabirabad Center of “ASAN xidm?t”, I said that you would probably inform me of yet another innovation at the opening a new center next time. This is very important for the attraction of our creative young people to this work, because the world develops thanks to new initiatives.

Without new initiatives there will be a stagnation and no progress. Therefore, Azerbaijan pays great attention to innovation.

Azerbaijan is currently known worldwide in the field of information and communication technology. Today, Azerbaijan is a country with a space industry. Now we have two satellites. The second satellite was handed over to us recently. Such satellites are available in only 20 countries. One of them is Azerbaijan.

“ASAN xidm?t” further stimulates innovative initiatives and intellectual research. At the same time, wonderful young people who are attached to their homeland have grown in this service. The absolute majority of both “ASAN xidm?t” workers and, of course, volunteers are young people. Youth is our future. In the future you will lead Azerbaijan. The successful development of Azerbaijan will depend on you. So you, the youth, must possess be knowledgeable and competent. Today, everything in the world is determined by knowledge and competence. Knowledge and competence actually define the potential of countries today. Where there is technological and scientific progress, there is development.

Countries with ample intellectual opportunities strengthen their positions in the world. Therefore, knowledge and competence are very important for every young person – both for himself and for society. At the same time, our youth should be attached to the motherland and be patriots. I am glad that this is the case. Our young people are true patriots.

Young people are proud to be citizens of Azerbaijan, and everyone loving the motherland can proudly say now: I am a citizen of Azerbaijan because Azerbaijan is a country with a unique experience of development, transformation and reform on a global scale. Our experience is studied by other countries. From the point of view of economic development, the world has not seen another country in recent years that would be developing at such a rate as Azerbaijan.

Although we are a newly-independent state, we have been elected to the UN Security Council, the number one structure in the world. This year we have presided over the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Azerbaijan has a great international reputation. Azerbaijan is known as a reliable partner, has strong economic foundations and a strong army.

Today our army is among the strongest armies in the world. The public and political situation in Azerbaijan is very positive, the economic and political situation is stable. At the same time, we can see that everything around us is boiling, burning and dominated by bloody conflicts, wars and crises.

Oil prices have now plummeted. Has anyone in Azerbaijan felt that? No and no-one ever will, because we have a strong economic foundation. The rate of the manat is stable, which enables us to say that we have economic power, a well thought-out policy, a social policy. The stability of the manat is perhaps not a hugely positive factor for our export potential.

But it is a social issue. And this is how it should be.

Azerbaijan has put forward a unique model of development and is ready to share its experience. Therefore, every young person is rightly proud and should be proud to be a citizen of Azerbaijan. Every young man should strive to ensure that our country becomes even stronger and more powerful and enhances its influence. Every young person should be attached to our national roots, national traditions and customs. You should not be under foreign influence. We are applying all best practices to Azerbaijan and doing everything we need. I really want this and I am sure that it will be the case because such is the reality today.

Azerbaijan is going along its own path of independence. We have been part of other countries and empires for centuries. We were not free and independent. Why can’t our people live freely and independently? We have been independent for 23 years. This is a great happiness. This is our greatest asset. But this independence needs to be complemented by political independence, which is what we are seeing in Azerbaijan today. We are pursuing an independent policy. No foreign power can affect our will. We do not do and will not do anything under anyone’s dictation. We will always speak out and demonstrate our principled position. It should always be the case. You also need to grow up in this spirit, so that no foreign power could affect our will and Azerbaijan could go along the path of development, freedom and independence.

Dear friends, dear boys and girls, I would like to salute you all once again. I wish the forum success. I am confident that the results of the forum will be great. Thank you.

Chairman of ASAN Volunteers Youth Organization Public Union Farid Sad?khl? and volunteer at Sabirabad “ASAN xidm?t” center Ravana Davudova addressed the ceremony.

The forum continues with panel meetings.