16 June 2022 Remarks of the President of the Republic. H. E. Ilir Meta at IX Global Baku Forum“Global Resilience, Global Cooperation”
It is always a pleasure to participate in the Global Baku Forum and be part of this unique platform of distinguished personalities from all the sectors of governance, political and social life, organized by Nizami Ganjavi International Center.
We are living through tremendous current major changes and the world today is facing two current major challenges:
1) The unprovoked and unjustified invasion of the Ukraine by Russia;
2) and the steps that need to be taken in a postpandemics era.
The war in Ukraine has impacted the entire world and has changed in particular the European and NATO security environment.
This conflict reminded everyone that freedom and sovereignty are not to be taken for granted.
It was a reminder that our countries should not wait for the crisis to take place and react when they appear, but preventive measures must be in place, increasing defense budget, preparing ahead and foreseeing any possible scenario and future challenges.
War in Ukraine had the opposite effect of what Russia expected. It did not divide, but united the nations.
The response was a global coalition, in support of the peace-loving people and democratic institutions of Ukraine.
Putin wanted less NATO but he is getting more NATO, with more NATO presence in the eastern part of the Alliance and also with more members.
This new geopolitical landscape deems as necessary a new approach by EU and NATO on enlargement and collective security. Enlargement should be considered a powerful geostrategic instrument.
Today, close to 600 million Europeans live in a NATO country, with the alliance protecting about 93% of the EU population.
The conflict in Ukraine has raised the urgency for accession of the aspiring NATO and EU candidate countries. These actions would prevent the influence of third parties in certain fragile regions.
In the Western Balkans, we are concerned on the interference of Russian proxies, intending to the undermining our democracy and stability.
The idea of a free and peaceful Europe is not complete without the Western Balkans states, which are key partners and integral members of our European family.
Recognition of the Republic of Kosova by all UN member states, as well as visa liberalization for the citizens of Kosova, would greatly contribute to peace and stability in our region.
In these times of challenges to security, stability and peace in Europe and the world, Albania, both as a NATO country and a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, is determined in its positions, in coherence with the Euro-Atlantic partners and allies, both at the European and global level.
The conflict in Ukraine reminded us that freedom does not come for free, calling on to countries to increase their defense spending, and that economy and security must progress hand in hand.
The consequences of war in Ukraine have caused rippling effects around the world on food supply, because Ukraine and Russia are among the world’s breadbaskets, supplying 30% of wheat and 20% of maize to the world.
Food pricing is number one problem right now. By 2023 it very well will be a food availability problem, considering that 300 million people globally are already food insecure, according to the World Food Programme.
All the Black Sea ports must be opened and functional, otherwise it will be a declaration of war on global food security and it will result in hunger and destabilization and mass migration around the world.
Hundreds of millions of people globally depend on food that comes through these ports.
Leaders of the world must do every possible thing to bring the markets to stability before things get worse, because, in the long term, global food prices will jump even more as a result of Russia’s role as a leading producer of fertilizer needed for crops.
The conflict has caused millions (5 million) civilians to leave their country and many more (7 million) people displaced within Ukraine.
The United Nations has estimated that 13 million more Ukrainians are in the hardest hit areas.
This is a humanitarian crisis, worsening at alarming speed as well as a high risk in terms of security.
In terms of natural resources and supplies, gas and energy, our continent and the world are facing big challenges, but also opportunities, with the plans to cut purchases of Russian oil and natural gas in the near term.
In this regard, I hope that the wisdom and experience of the distinguished members and participants of this forum will produce fruitful ideas and outcome on this matter.
I take the opportunity to express once again my gratitude for the support provided by Azerbaijan and President Aliyev for the successful implementation of TAP and IAP pipelines in Albania.
These projects take on even more significance now, as an alternative energy source for the present and the future in the region and in Europe as well.
Coming to the second issue, COVID-19 pandemics paralyzed the entire world, causing severe disruption to health systems, economies and societies all over the world.
But human resilience, the collaboration between nations, the multilateralism approach to combat the pandemics, brought the world back to normality.
Yet there are so many lessons to be learned and so many challenges to face in the post pandemics era, considering that about half the world’s population still lacks access to essential health services.
The pandemics taught us that when health is at risk, everything is at risk, and isolation is not possible.
No country is immune, despite its size or strength. Health is not just a national issue – it is an international issue.
Improvement of the global public health is an urgency, in order to prevent any possible future pandemic.
A better global coordination is needed, for the early warning systems and transmission tracking, the sharing of vaccines, medication and equipment, relocation of vitally important medical products and equipment, as well as inter-state co-operation in the field of health care, medical research and biotechnology.
Albania’s priority as a member of the UN security council is to contribute in strengthening World Health Organization as the leading and directing authority on global health, at the center of the global health architecture.
Let us never take our eyes off democracy, for it must be protected at all times.
It is not a gift given once and for all, but must be consolidated through constant commitment.
In addition, the well-being of nations depends on the respect for human rights and creation of good standards of living.
Confronting climate change is also a duty that needs to be fulfilled by every country. The energy crisis should not divert us from carbon emission targets.
Distinguished and honorable participants,
The threats that humanity is facing are reaching new peaks.
But despite all these challenges, we carry the knowledge of the past, that in every situation, difficulty or crisis, the human spirit and the unity of nations have always emerged victorious and triumphant.
“In the hour of adversity be not without hope, for crystal rain falls from black clouds” – wrote Nizami Ganjavi.
This hope for a better future has motivated humanity throughout history and by joint efforts we will overcome any challenges.
I wish a fruitful outcome of this important forum, and wish that all the thoughts and ideas that will be expressed here will serve us to come up with concrete commitments for a better future.
Thank you for your attention!