Baku today is one of the fastest changing cities in the world, Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva said today, at the 3rd Baku International Humanitarian Forum.
"But besides new and modern development, we have very ancient history, culture and traditions, which we highly value," she said.
Leyla Aliyeva went on to note that Azerbaijan has always been home to many religions, nationalities and traditions.
"Tolerance for Azerbaijan is not a new idea, it's part of our culture, part of our life, and we don't know any other way of living," she said.
Leyla Aliyeva noted that the forum is a great opportunity to discuss various opinions and views.
"And as a representative of the youngest participants in the Baku forum, it seems to me highly symbolic that I should be entrusted here representing the problems of sustainable development and ecological civilizations," she underscored.
Mrs. Aliyeva said that on one hand, it is a positive challenge to be involved in environmental problems and protection of our planet, while on the other hand everyone understands that there is no alternative.
"If man doesn't change his attitude towards environment, future ecological disasters will pose a threat to the humanity. So when we put forward the initiative a few years ago of international dialogue for environmental action, it was our priority to draw the attention of society to the necessity of protecting our fragile environment," she said.
In the last 2 years, IDEA has realized many projects, not only in Azerbaijan and our region, but throughout the world, she said.
In particular, one of the initiatives was to plant three million trees, which represent young people residing in Azerbaijan.
"This was a great way to bring young Azerbaijani people together to focus on environmental issues," she said.
Leyla Aliyeva noted that IDEA today is in partnership with UN's UNEP program. In addition to this, IDEA organizes seminars, distributes literature and supports local environmentalists, to raise awareness among ordinary people.
Leyla Aliyeva noted that IDEA is involved in many campaigns that promote animal welfare. In particular, it is protection of rare species, such as gazelle and Caucasian leopard, which exist in Azerbaijan.
"IDEA has also established special classes for children, where they can learn about the environment," she said. "We also have an international photo contest, titled "I love nature and I fear pollution", which involved more than 1,200 children from 90 countries around the world."
She went on to add that another contest, "No Water, No life" will be launched in 2014, where children will be able to express their vision and concern for the environment.
"Our greatest resources are indeed creativity, knowledge, and spirit of people, who care about protecting our planet," she said.
Mrs. Aliyeva went on to say that capital and natural resources can dry up, but human intellect, which creates new technology, new ideas, new programs and products, doesn't run dry and cannot end.
Despite this, Leyla Aliyeva noted that man sometimes man becomes the reason for many different disasters.
She expressed satisfaction that in all the panels, the subject of ecology will be touched upon.
"I am glad that today ecological issues are becoming important," she said, adding that by joining forces great results can be achieved in improving ecological situation.
"I am sure that, as always, this forum will be very successful, productive and interesting. And once again, I would like to thank for the opportunity to speak in front of so many prominent experts and talented, inspirational people," Leyla Aliyeva said. "I wish you all a pleasant stay in our country. I hope you will find time to explore our history, architecture and culture and enjoy walk on the boulevard by the Caspian Sea."