6 Ensure environmental sustainability

Where are we?

Overgrazing is among major factors contributing to land degradation (Photo: Eva Kucich)

Azerbaijan is party to key international treaties, has enacted important national environmental laws, and has integrated environmental concerns into national policies and programmes.

The country has made significant progress in protecting its biodiversity resources – the size of protected areas, as a proportion to the total area of the country, has doubled from 5% in 2000 to 10.2% in 2011. Massive reforestation and aforestation measures resulted in 0.4% increase in forest- covered land area. In 2010, 82% of people have got access to improved population facilities, that represents 15% increase compared with 2002 and is higher than average for upper-middle-income (UMI) countries.

Still, Azerbaijan continues to face serious environmental challenges. About 43% of the territory is affected by erosion, and 20% by salinization, the two phenomena that contribute to desertification and reduce agricultural productivity.

Drinking water availability remains a source of concern. While access of rural population to an improved water source has increased from 62 % in 2002 to 71% in 2010, it is still below the average for UMI Countries. Azerbaijan should continue modernizing existing water supplies, while paying special attention to the rural areas in that regard.

Azerbaijan emits the same amount of CO2 per capita as UMI average and half of the amount emitted by average high-income economies. It is not among the globally significant GHGs contributors, but over the past years a tendency towards increase in CO2 emission per capita has emerged. Considering that Azerbaijan’s economy largely relies on hydrocarbon production, the government should define new pathways towards green economy.

Access to an improved water source

Bar Chart
Targets for MDG7
  1. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources
  2. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss
    • Proportion of land area covered by forest and proportion of species threatened with extinction
    • CO2 emissions, total, per capita and per $1 GDP (PPP)
    • Consumption of ozone-depleting substances
    • Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits
    • Proportion of total water resources used
    • Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
    • Proportion of population using an improved drinking water source
    • Proportion of population using an improved sanitation facility
  4. Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
    • Proportion of urban population living in slums