Mammadyarov made the remark at the conference “Close the Digital Divides: the Digital Response to COVID-19”, Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.
“Being much more than the health crisis, COVID-19 demonstrated the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises in affected countries and to hamper progress towards achieving the SDG’s,” the minister said.
“I would like to start by thanking Estonia and Singapore for organizing this important meeting, in a time when the world continues to struggle Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19),” the minister said.
“Along with its numerous mentioned implications, the pandemic has also brought an opportunity to estimate how the ability to leverage digital technologies is critical in building resilient responses during such pandemics,” Mammadyarov said.
“Since the start of the outbreak digital technologies have been at the center of the national response strategies in tackling COVID-19,” the minister said. “Such as, ICTs have become an enabler in access to online education, development of health monitoring platforms, dissemination of vital information among population and facilitation of delivery of goods and services to those remaining in lockdown situations, just to name a few.”
“Azerbaijan was not an exception, as well,” Mammadyarov said. “We are actively utilizing ICTs through our national responses to the impacts of COVID-19. A one-stop digital platform making e-services available to everyone during the pandemic was launched by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies. By collecting the links to online stores, education, health, entertainment and delivery of goods, the platform facilitates visitors’ access to them. The platform also provides advice on social distancing and staying at home, and offers numerous e-learning resources, including tutorials to set up and run online businesses.”
“Besides this, e-platform to regulate permissions for people to go outside during the quarantine regime and new video-conferencing system based on Azcloud infrastructure has been established,” the minister said.
“In order to ensure continuity of education process, comprehensive distant educational system has been launched,” Mammadyarov said. “National TV channels are broadcasting TV lessons, which are also recorded and available online at the Ministry of Education’s learning platform. Most of the universities are using online platforms for teaching process provided by the Ministry of Education, free of charge.”
“The pandemic also revealed that the starting point is not the same for all, in terms of access to ICT tools and broadband connectivity, as there is existing interregional and intra-regional digital divide between developed and developing countries,” the minister said.
“In light of this, consolidating efforts are needed to help countries in mobilizing resources and implementing innovative and context-appropriate solutions to provide goods and services remotely,” Mammadyarov added. “It is only through solidarity and cooperation among states and the international community we can achieve safety and well-being for all.”
“Proceeding from this understanding, Azerbaijan held first-ever online summit of Non-Alignment Movement [NAM], as its current Chair and initiated the online emergency Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, in April 2020,” the minister said. “Our country allocated about 10 million USD to the World Health Organization, especially with an objective to help needy population in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”
“Recently, Azerbaijan, on behalf of the NAM Member States, put forward the initiative to convene the United Nations General Assembly’s Special Session, which enjoys support of the overwhelming majority of the UN Member States,” Mammadyarov said. “We believe that the session will also provide a platform to continue exploring and sharing experiences on how best we can leverage ICT’s in response to the COVID-19.”