AZERBAIJAN NATIONAL                 ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
DIVISION OF BIOLOGICAL AND MEDICAL SCIENCES
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The conference on "Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Water Unites Us" was held
Feb 11, 2022 | 01:00 / Conferences, assemblies
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On February 11, a conference on "Equality, diversity and inclusion: water unites us" dedicated to the International Day of Women and Girls in Science was organized by the Presidium of ANAS and the Women's Council of the Academy.

Opening the event, Vice-President of ANAS, academician Isa Habibbayli spoke about the importance of the conference. He recalled that scientists from different countries participated in the conference held at the Nakhchivan State University 10 years ago and were dedicated to solving water problems.

Academician I.Habibbayli drew attention to the opinion sounding in recent years on the world socio-political agenda “Water, not oil can be the cause of the Third World War”, emphasizing that the water problem is at the head of global problems. Referring to the World Health Organization, the vice-president of ANAS said that today more than 15 percent of the world's population suffers from water shortages.

Habibbayli highly appreciated the dedication of today's United Nations and NATO conference, taking into account the medical, biological, literary, cultural, national and spiritual value of water. He stressed that the reports presented at the conference will present a comprehensive approach to these issues, noting that the ideas and proposals to be voiced at the event will be important for the development of our country as a whole, along with science. Noting that Azerbaijan has an academic approach to solving water problems, the scientist stressed that water has been considered sacred by our people since ancient times. I. Habibbayli said that the amount of our water resources has increased with the liberation of our lands under the leadership of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev, but there are a number of problems in this direction.

"Our goal is to make more efficient use of water resources, taking advantage of the recommendations and tasks arising from the conference on the solution of issues of global importance, scientific ideas," he said. He recalled that last year President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on the efficient use of water resources, and the State Commission was established in this direction and relevant instructions were given. He noted that significant work is being carried out in ANAS to implement the issues arising from the order.

Speaking later, Vice-President of ANAS, academician Govkhar Bakhshaliyeva highly appreciated the event dedicated to the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. She stressed that our country has always paid great attention to the role of women in society and science, their development and protection of their rights. Academician G.Bakhshaliyeva recalled that National Leader Heydar Aliyev attached particular importance to enhancing the role of women in society, noting that this policy was successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev. She noted that Azerbaijan is one of the countries where decisions are made at the state level on the representation of women in leadership positions on an equal basis with men.

Noting that the problems of women's freedom have always been given a special place in Azerbaijani literature, G.Bakhshaliyeva added that the cultural level of any society is measured by the position of women in this society. She noted that the Institute of Oriental Studies headed by the academician mainly composed of women.

Vice-President of ANAS, academician Irada Huseynova made a presentation on the topic "Gender, the role of science, technology and innovation in solving global water problems and sustainable development."

Academician I.Huseynova greeted the participants of the conference, which was held in a significant calendar for our women and girls who devoted their lives to science, and wished everyone new creative success. I. Huseynova noted that the International Day of Women and Girls in Science declared in accordance with the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 22, 2015, is widely celebrated throughout the world every year.

Saying that women are always making an unprecedented contribution to a more prosperous and safer world, ANAS Vice-President said that women health workers and scientists are fighting on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 in a variety of positions, from improving test methods to developing vaccines and new drugs.

“Azerbaijan has trained dozens of internationally recognized women scientists who have made a great contribution to our country and world science,” she said.

Academician I. Huseynova said that the worthy successor of the Great Leader, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has always praised the role of women in the development of society.

According to I. Huseynova, 56% of scientists, 51% of doctors of philosophy, 46% of doctors of science, more than 54% of masters studying in higher educational institutions and ANAS, as well as 60% of the staff of the Academy are women in Azerbaijan: “In our country, 40 percent of those studying science and technology, which is the leading force in the socio-economic development of society, are girls, while in the world this figure does not exceed 35 percent, and in most countries does not exceed 5 percent”.

Stressing that water shortage is also an urgent problem for Azerbaijan, the Vice-President added that the UN Development Program predicts a 23 percent reduction in water supply in Azerbaijan in 2021-2050 as a result of droughts due to climate change. According to the list of countries facing drought compiled by the International Institute of Natural Resources, Azerbaijan will be among the 20 countries with the greatest risk in 2040.

“In order to use water more efficiently, it is necessary to integrate more cost-effective technologies into the irrigation system,” Huseynova said, noting the importance of the in-depth study of the region's climate and better planning. She noted that in addition to increasing the efficiency of water use and agricultural productivity, we must take steps to collect and reuse fresh water resources, as well as increase the safety of wastewater use, and try to build agricultural systems adapted to climate change.

“Integrating gender equality into water resources management can take into account the needs of the entire population in climate change and reduce risks,” said the Vice-President of ANAS. She spoke about the importance of taking a number of measures to integrate gender equality into water policy. She said such measures could include collecting and processing gender-based information on water shortages, implementing projects to increase women's participation in climate change and water management, and creating alternative sources of income for women to address water issues. At the end of her speech, academician I. Huseynova noted that people should appreciate the blessing called water, which has survived for centuries and preserve it for future generations.

Then Firudin Tagiyev, head of the Land Use Control Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, congratulated the women working in the field of science on behalf of the ministry and wished them success in their future endeavors. He said that the department he heads is actively involved in water issues. Referring to the use of water resources in the country today, Tagiyev said that 80-90 percent of these resources are used for irrigation in agriculture. "The agricultural sector in Azerbaijan is mainly based on irrigated arable land," Tagiyev said, noting that the vast majority of crops grown in the country are obtained from irrigated lands. The head of the department spoke about the work done to restore the water balance in Azerbaijan, noting that 70 percent of the country's water resources are formed abroad, emphasizing that this problem is a serious risk. He added that the commission established by the relevant order of the President is working hard in this direction. According to Tagiyev, the 1674-member Water Council established for this purpose in fraternal Turkey includes scientists and representatives of various public organizations. "This step can lead to further expansion of relations between science and industry, the emergence of effective results," he said, emphasizing the need to apply this practice in Azerbaijan.

Sabina Talishinskaya, Deputy Head of the Department of Women's Issues and Gender Affairs of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, spoke about the importance of holding such conferences. She noted the importance of the opinions expressed at the conference, the reports presented in terms of determining long-term priorities in solving water problems.

Then the head of the National Hydrometeorological Service of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Doctor of Philosophy in Geography Umayra Tagiyeva made a report on the topic “Climate Change, Water and Gender”.

According to the UN World Water Development Report, the demand for water is growing by about one percent annually, Tagiyeva said, adding that climate change also affects our country. “Studies show that the most sensitive sector to climate change is the water sector. We support the more active participation of women in decision-making on water efficiency in order to reduce the serious problems of water scarcity that may occur in the future,” said the head of the National Hydrometeorological Service.

Tagiyeva stressed that important measures have been taken in the country in recent years to solve environmental problems and protect the environment, large-scale projects have been implemented in connection with the rational use of water, approved by the country's leadership.

She noted that as a result of climate change, our water resources have decreased by 10 percent, and the country's water resources are expected to decline in the future.

According to the speaker, the hydrological network is currently being automated in Azerbaijan to assess and accurately record water resources. Over the past two years, as part of state investments, 25 modern hydrological automatic stations have been installed on the main rivers of the country. According to Tagiyeva, work in this direction is underway, and it is planned to install 11 new stations.

At the event, Deputy Head of the Department of Technological Processes, Department of Water Safety and Ecology of Azersu OJSC Elvira Huseynova made a presentation on the topic “Water shortage and gender issues”, Chairman of the Women’s Council of ANAS, Head of Department of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Professor Rena Mirzazade made presentations on the topic "The policy of water diplomacy: in the context of identity and difference", Professor of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of Baku State University Farayat Ahmadova made a presentation on the topic "Water is the main component of life", Deputy Head of the Biodiversity Protection Service of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources Arzu Samadova made a presentation "Specially protected natural areas in wetlands and their significance."

The conference also heard reports on the topic “Microbiological aspects of water biosafety in Azerbaijan”, "Water and philosophy", "The role of modern science and technology in the efficient use of water", "The impact of floods on the population, the development of industry and agriculture", "Water beliefs in Azerbaijani folklore and rituals”, "Global water shortage and food security”, “Water and sanitation issues from a gender perspective”.

At the end, there was a wide exchange of views on the reports, and numerous proposals were made to solve water problems.

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