The SDSN Black Sea Leadership Council Convenes in Azerbaijan Alongside the XI Global Baku Forum

The SDSN Black Sea Leadership Council met during the XI Global Baku Forum in Azerbaijan on March 16, 2024, invited by the organizers, the Nizami Ganjavi International Center. Representatives from Greece, Türkiye, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Ukraine engaged in discussions about common regional challenges, as well as the network’s strategy for 2024. Notably, they looked ahead to COP29, scheduled to take place in Baku in November this year.

During the meeting, Professor Theodossiou, chair of SDSN Black Sea, presented the preliminary results of the Black Sea Sustainable Development Report, built upon the annual Sustainable Development Report produced by SDSN’s SDG Transformation Center. The report, prepared by his team at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, assesses the performance of the 12 countries in the region in relation to the SDGs. The importance of ongoing data improvement to support this report and provide timely and accurate results was emphasized. Additionally, there was a call to establish a Black Sea Sustainable Development Observatory to streamline monitoring efforts.

On March 15th, the Azerbaijan State University of Economics (UNEC) hosted a workshop on “Energy Economics and Future Perspectives on Green Transition and Adaptation to Climate Change”, in collaboration with the Black Sea Universities Network and SDSN Black Sea. During this event, all members of the SDSN delegation had the opportunity to present their contributions. Notably, the workshop included participation from the Vice-rector for Science, Associate Professor Fariz Ahmadov, and the Vice-rector for International Relations and Programs, Neman Muradli.

Among the topics discussed were: contemporary and future challenges in energy economics, presented by prof. G. Zarotiadis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), and stakeholder engagement and participatory approaches toward green transition, presented by Professor M. Stefanova (Sofia University). Prof. Tamer Atabarut (Boğaziçi University of Istanbul) discussed Türkiye's role in the balanced and smart energy transition between Asia and Europe. Additionally, Sergiy Byelikov, Rector of Zaporizhzhya National Technical University, delivered a presentation showing the extreme challenges faced in maintaining teaching activities amidst conflict in Ukraine.

Prof. N. Moussiopoulos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) discussed the Global Energy Solutions reference for a global climate-neutral and prosperity-creating energy system, while Ambassador M. Christides (Former Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization), analyzed the priorities for energy economics, focusing on the regional coordination aspect. Dr. Nərgiz Hacıyeva and Dr. Narmin Ibrahimova from the Azerbaijan State University of Economics, presented their activities focusing on the economic evaluation of green energy initiatives in the Karabakh Region of Azerbaijan and on the green and sustainable global economic Improvement at Azerbaijani Universities. Marta Garcia-Haro, Senior Manager at the Networks Program and representative of the SDSN General Secretariat, presented the strategic work lines of SDSN and its key programs. She also highlighted regional and international opportunities for engagement and collaboration.

The discussion was coordinated by Prof. Nicolaos Theodossiou, chair of SDSN Black Sea.

About the Global Baku Forum and the upcoming COP29

The Global Baku Forum (GBF) is an annual event organized by the Nizami Ganjavi International Center bringing together world leaders to discuss pressing global issues. Under the theme “Fixing the Fractured World,” the 11th edition of the forum featured panels on topics such as the UN’s Summit of the Future, the Israel-Hamas war and its implications for the Middle East, and the enlargement of the European Union, but also about climate justice and the expected outcomes of COP29, since Baku will be the host city for the upcoming climate summit. It is expected that the members of the SDSN Black Sea Leadership Council will have the opportunity to reconvene in November during COP29. They aim to continue promoting sustainable development in the region and to support the UN’s Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition (CEET) efforts in transitioning toward a carbon-neutral economy.

During the three-day conference, members of the SDSN Black Sea Leadership Council networked with high-level leaders from around the world. Notable personalities affiliated with SDSN, such as Miguel Angel Moratinos (founder of SDSN Spain), Zlatko Lagumdžija (chair of SDSN Western Balkans), and Vuk Jeremik (member of SDSN LC), served as speakers on various panels. Additionally, Selen Inal (member of the CEET) and Lamija Ceremida (manager of SDSN Western Balkans) were present during discussions with various entities from the country and the region.

Read more about the participation of SDSN Black Sea in the media: Prof. Theodossiou’s interview for the Azerbaijani media agency Report.

More information about the workshop held at UNEC:

Members of SDSN from Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Ukraine at the Baku international conference.
Opening Ceremony of the XI Global Baku Forum. Credit: Nizami Ganjavi International Center
Prof. Theodossiou, chair of SDSN Black Sea, introducing the workshop at UNEC.