The Republic of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources is responsible for the protection of the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, including the Caspian Sea.
The organisation of national parks and nature use, implementation of international environmental programs, efficient use and restoration of groundwater, mineral resources and surface natural resources, and creating an ecological network are just some of the key areas being addressed today by the Ministry. Furthermore, hydrometeorology is the central executive body implementing the state policy in the field of observation and forecasting of processes.
Since April 2018, the Ministry has been led by Minister Mukhtar Babayev. The rapid development of all sectors in the economy over the last century has resulted in an increase in the negative impact of human activities on the environment and the overuse of natural resources. Preservation of ecological balance, rational use of natural resources and the protection of water, soil and air from pollution has become a universal problem concerning everyone. It is extremely important to strike a sustainable balance. Azerbaijan has made significant progress in social and economic development in recent years, and the sustainability of these achievements has been identified as a key priority. Large-scale work to solve environmental problems in Azerbaijan and state policy aimed at improving the environmental situation is an important part of the country’s sustainable development strategy.
The main direction of the country’s environmental policy is to assess needs at a national level on global environmental issues, and identify efficient solutions, to minimise pollution and ensure environmental security. Activity directions within the Ministry consist of:
- The Caspian Sea.
The final of these key focus areas, geology, is particularly of note, considering that the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which covers the eastern part of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus mountain systems, is characterised by a complex geological structure and the immense diversity of minerals. Therefore, it is clear to see that one of the main tasks of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources is to develop and implement an appropriate national action program on minerals.
Many varied ferrous, non-ferrous and precious metal ores, non-metallic raw materials and construction materials, underground fresh, mineral, thermal and iodine-bromine industrial water deposits, and more, are found in different regions of Azerbaijan. Among these are deposits of gold, copper, lead-zinc ores and construction materials, however, the vast majority of these fields are currently being exploited. Recently, mining enterprises for the extraction and processing of gold and copper have been operating in various regions in the country.
Azerbaijan’s National Geological Survey carries out regional geological surveys to study the geological, geophysical, hydrogeological, engineering-geological, geochemical, geo-ecological, geodynamic conditions of the subsoil and to identify promising areas for the search for strategic or traditional mineral deposits.
In recent years, there have been developments for studying the geological structure of the earth’s surface using computer programmes applied for the remote sensing of aerospace photographs. This has become one of the most important aspects of the development of geological science today and has enabled a new phase of geological study in the Republic to take place.
Recognising the Republic’s role in combatting climate change
It is stated on the Ministry’s website that “Azerbaijan considers global climate change to be one of the most difficult challenges facing humanity and supports joint efforts to prevent it. No country, regardless of its level of development, is insured against the effects of climate change, and this is clearly shown by the extreme natural disasters that are taking place.” Furthermore, there are 240 endemic plant species in Azerbaijan, which are not found anywhere else in the world, and it is vital that these must be protected also.