An international conference on “Innovative approaches to urban and rural development: smart cities and villages” was held in Baku by the Ministry of Digital Development and Transport and Ministry of Agriculture with the support of the World Bank. Minister of Agriculture Inam Kerimov, Minister of Digital Development and Transport Rashad Nabiyev, World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan Sarah Michael, Special Representative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Zangilan region of the East Zangezur economic region Vahid Hajiyev, as well as representatives from various government bodies, embassies and international organizations took part in the event.
Addressing the event, Minister of Digital Development and Transport Rashad Nabiyev said that amid demographic growth in the world, issues such as food security, dwindling water resources, efficient use of energy sources, quality improving, safety and efficiency of services provided in cities and villages in general, make the concepts of “smart city” and “smart village” relevant for Azerbaijan. The factors of efficiency, necessity, sustainability and promotion of innovation are taken into account when developing the concept of “smart village”.
World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan Sarah Michael spoke about the cooperation between the organization she represents and the Azerbaijani government and the projects implemented towards the creation of a “smart village” and a “smart city”.
Minister of Agriculture Inam Kerimov said that progressive international experience, development strategies, socio-economic potential of the liberated territories and modern challenges of the global economy were taken into account in the “First State Programme on the Great Return to the liberated territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, approved by President Ilham Aliyev on November 16. It was against the backdrop of these approaches that the idea of the “smart village” emerged, and the concept is already being put into practice. “The smart village” is a model that allows people to adapt quickly to technological innovations, better protect the environment and ensure environmental balance.
Special Representative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Zangilan region of the East-Zangezur economic region said that the concept “Smart village” and “Smart city” consists not only of the application of modern trends and technologies in urban development: “The concept provides for the creation of infrastructure to improve living conditions of people, providing access to public services, employment of population in villages, job opportunities and effective recreational activities. Fast and high-quality work is under way in all of these areas.
The conference continued in panel sessions. The sessions included discussions and presentations on “Digitalization of services and sustainable lifestyles”, “Transition to green energy”, “Application of the ‘Smart village’ concept in Azerbaijan”, “Role of the private sector in introducing smart solutions in rural areas and ensuring sustainability”.