Ms. Sahiba Gafarova, Speaker of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Chairperson of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network, delivered a keynote speech at the Non-Aligned Movement Conference on Advancing the Rights and Empowerment of Women in Baku on 21 November
Chairperson of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network stated that women, with their distinct perspective, energy, warmth and power have the capacity to inspire and bring light to our world. Unfortunately, today, our world still confronts a series of interlocking crises that have an extremely negative impact on women’s lives. All of these continue to be a barrier to achieving gender equality and women empowerment to this day.
NAM PN Chairperson voiced that despite all difficulties, it is encouraging to witness that gender equality and women empowerment have become an integral part of the international political and development agenda.
Ms. Sahiba Gafarova stated that today, with less than a decade left to implement the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, ensuring gender equality and women empowerment remain indispensable in fulfilling the commitments to sustainability, peace, and human progress across the globe.
Chairperson of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network said: “I am proud to represent a country that has achieved important results in advancing women's rights and empowering them in society and public governance. The Azerbaijani Democratic Republic established in 1918, was the first in the Muslim world to grant women the right to vote, ahead of most European countries. After regaining its independence in the early 90s, Azerbaijan has made considerable progress in this issue.
Ms. Sahiba Gafarova highlighted that Azerbaijan has chaired the Non-Aligned Movement since 2019 and has demonstrated its dedication to strengthening unity and multidimensional cooperation among the members of the Movement. This very conference is yet another testament of H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and incumbent Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, efforts aimed at further consolidating the spirit of solidarity, dialogue and cooperation among the Member States.
Chairperson emphasised that one of the main results of the Azerbaijani chairmanship has been the institutional development of the NAM. The establishment of the Parliamentary Network of the NAM should be evaluated in this sense. Indeed, parliamentary diplomacy has become an important perspective in global affairs, particularly in the context of current international complexities, where the preservation of multilateralism and global cooperation in addressing global challenges remains paramount as never before.
NAM PN Chairperson continued: “This important role of parliamentarians has been acknowledged at the 18th Summit of NAM held in Baku when the Heads of State and Government decided to expand and deepen interaction and cooperation among the parliamentarians of the NAM. In accordance with the initiative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, we inaugurated the Parliamentary Network of the Non-Aligned Movement on the sidelines of the 143rd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in November 2021 in Madrid.
At the Baku Conference held in June 2022, we adopted the Statute on Working Modalities of the Network, the Baku Declaration, and the official logo and flag of the Network. The Chairperson and three Vice-Chairpersons of the Network were also elected for the next three years.”.
Ms. Sahiba Gafarova underlined that the Second Conference, held in Manama in March of this year, further developed and improved working methods of the Network for its effective institutional formation and operation.
Chairperson recalled: “Let me state that both of these conferences were held with active participation of the parliamentarians of the NAM Member countries and representatives of interparliamentary organizations. Around 700 participants in total joined these two conferences. Within a short period of time, 60 parliaments of the NAM countries have already become members of the Network. The constant increase in the number of parliaments joining the Network is a vivid example of the importance attached to parliamentary cooperation by the NAM Member States.
The Parliamentary Network of the NAM has also been active in representing our parliaments on interparliamentary platforms. As the incumbent Chair of the Network, I participated in a number of important events, including the G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit and the Summit-level meeting of the NAM Contact Group in response to COVID-19, with the aim of promoting the ideas and purposes of the Network.”.
Ms. Sahiba Gafarova emphasized the importance of developing institutional dialogue with other interparliamentary organizations and of promoting the ideals and values of the Non-Aligned Movement at her speech at the conference.
Chairperson stated that issues of concern for Member States such as collective support to the NAM initiatives on post-pandemic global recovery, and extensive discussions of the neo-colonial policies of some countries were addressed during the Chairmanship of Azerbaijan.
Ms. Sahiba Gafarova stated that the Parliamentary Network will also engage in advancing the rights and empowerment of women by providing a platform for cooperation between women parliamentarians of the NAM countries.
NAM PN Chairperson underlined the acknowledgement of women’s crucial role of women in building a bright future for all of us and highlighted the importance of coordinated and concerted efforts aimed at ensuring gender equality and building a peaceful, just and inclusive society.