Closing speech by Ilham Aliyev at the meeting on water management situation

23 july 2020, 13:15

As a result of the meeting, an order of the President should be prepared. It should cover all the instructions. At the same time, a program should already be prepared for signing. I believe that along with relevant bodies, representatives of the public should also participate in all this work. The commission needs to engage members of the public in its work. First of all, an active role in these matters should be played by scientists. Scientists must definitely participate in the assessment of water resources, in the assessment of their possible increase and all other work. You should definitely involve experts in the field of ecology in this work. We must use water in a way that does not negatively affect the ecological balance. After all, we know from history that some countries have implemented major water projects, but sources and water resources were analyzed incorrectly. Therefore, while this had a good effect on irrigation, it exacerbated the environmental situation. Therefore, it is imperative to involve environmental experts. You should also engage nongovernmental organizations. Representatives of civil society should also be active in this work. They will pay attention to issues you may not notice. Engage media representatives as well. I think it is necessary to hold a broad press conference. In general, all government agencies should work in close contact with the media and regularly report on the work done.

This meeting of ours is some kind of a report to the public. At the same time, people should know what we are planning to do. We expect proposals from them too, because if we hold such meetings in a closed manner, no-one will know and there will be no proposals from the ground. Therefore, this meeting is open to the public. I believe that proposals from the ground will certainly help us in our work.

Of course, all this work requires a lot of money. Therefore, the government and relevant bodies, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy and other bodies, should carefully consider the cost estimate. We should not allow for costs to be artificially inflated. All planned projects should be implemented on the basis of an open tender because sometimes corporate interests prevail. It happens that one or several companies win all the tenders. Of course, there are projects that can only be implemented by companies that have experience and have participated in large projects. And this is only natural. But there will be small and medium-sized projects in this area, contracts that do not require high professionalism and qualification. Therefore, local entrepreneurs should also be prepared. We will continue to implement truly large infrastructure projects. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure public control. There must be serious state control over estimates, cost estimates.

Of course, in order to effectively continue all this work, it is necessary to develop a single management mechanism. I am giving this instruction as well. Please prepare it too, so that further work is carried out only in coordination – the commission and relevant bodies. Today we have four bodies operating in the water management sector – “AzerSu”, the Irrigation and Water Management Joint Stock Company, the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. Therefore, these bodies, as well as the general public, scientists, environmentalists, the Presidential Administration and the Cabinet of Ministers must exercise overall management and control, so that all this work is carried out in a planned manner and so that we can resolve the problems related to our water security in the near future – just as we have resolved the issues of energy security and transport security. We are currently approaching solution to the issue of food security. Water security issues also need to be addressed. Thank you!