The Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has officially announced its decision to join IUCN and has designated the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan as its liaison with the IUCN Secretariat.
Dubbed ‘The Land of Fire’, Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus located on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Its unique strategic location, connecting Europe, Central and Eastern Asia, has for centuries been a meeting point and the way from and to the two continents.
“IUCN extends its warmest welcome to the Republic of Azerbaijan as the newest State Member of our Union. We hope that this will enable us to further strengthen IUCN’s presence and work in the Caucasus, which is recognized as one of the global biodiversity ‘hotspots’. We look forward to engaging with the Government of Azerbaijan as well as its civil society in promoting region-wide cooperation towards conservation of nature and natural resources,” said IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre, who visited Azerbaijan earlier this month.
“Azerbaijan, with its rich and diverse biological resources, looks forward to effective cooperation with IUCN, particularly on effective planning and management of protected areas, including World Heritage sites, development of sustainable conservation strategies and promoting nature conservation activities among various social groups,” noted Huseyngulu Seyid oglu Baghirov, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan.
As part of its ongoing social and economic reforms, Azerbaijan puts priority on nature conservation, sustainable use of natural resources, and securing a healthy environment for its population.
Thanks to its diverse landscape, which includes nine out of 11 known climatic zones, Azerbaijan boasts rich biodiversity, including 97 species of mammals, 357 species of birds, 67 species of reptiles and amphibians, 97 species of fish, and 240 endemic plant species. In 2013, Azerbaijan published the second edition of its national Red List of Threatened Species, known as the ‘Red Book of Azerbaijan’.
Some of the globally threatened species found in Azerbaijan have benefited from conservation projects, including a reintroduction of 130 gazelles back into their historical habitats in the Caucasus, and recent efforts to save the critically endangered Caucasus leopard, both of which are supported by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and IDEA (International Dialogue for Environmental Action) campaign.
Azerbaijan fulfills its obligations under 21 international environmental conventions, including the Convention on Biological Diversity. In line with its international commitments, Azerbaijan has recently doubled its protected areas coverage - from 478 thousand ha to 893 thousand ha. At present, Azerbaijan has nine national parks, 11 nature reserves and 24 sanctuaries covering 10.3% of the country.
Azerbaijan currently has one other NGO IUCN Member, the Azerbaijan Ornithological Society, which has a strong track record of activities and involvement with IUCN.
IUCN has been present in the Caucasus since the mid-1990s. The Union’s role is currently focused on supporting Members to develop and implement a conservation strategy for the region’s biodiversity.
For more information please contact:
Constantine Makris, Membership Relations Officer (East Europe, North and Central Asia / West Europe), European Coordination Unit: Tel.: +381 11 2272 411, Email: [email protected]