FAO trains young farmers in Azerbaijan to support their business ideas

BAKU, 20 May 2019 – Some 400 young people attended training sessions on development and implementation of business ideas in the agrarian sector within the Agrarian Employment Enhancement Project (AMAL) jointly implemented by FAO and Agrarian Credit and Development Agency under the Ministry of Agriculture. The attendees are young people who successfully passed the second stage of the project.

One-week training course titled “Create your business idea” started on 15 April and took place in Ismayilli, Balakan, Agjabedi, Aghdam, Neftchala, Goranboy, Saatli, Imishli, Zagatala, Aghdash and Barda districts of Azerbaijan.

Internationally certified trainers of the International Labour Organization delivered training sessions on the identification of business ideas and design of business plans, marketing, expenditure calculation, investment management, cash circulation and legal literacy.

These training courses will allow young people to use their skills and knowledge in any workplace regardless of their field of study, such as effective management and assessment of their businesses and plans.

It should be noted that more than 1,000 young people applied to AMAL through the project’s website (amal.gov.az) and only 400 of them successfully passed the second stage of the project.

AMAL is an initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture aimed at supporting young people living in rural areas to implement business ideas in the agricultural sector and stimulate their innovative methods. The project will inform young people about effective and environmentally friendly new agricultural models and management methods. It will also support to form the initial capital of young farmers.

Unleashing the transformative capacity of the business sector for sustainable development

Baku, 15 May 2019 – Bringing together over 100 representatives of government, businesses and international organisations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Azerbaijan’s National Coordination Council on Sustainable Development (NCCSD) and the Ministry of Economy launched today the first public-private sector dialogue in the country dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With the inception of this inaugural dialogue platform, Azerbaijan sets out a strategic course to engage the country’s vibrant business community in a joint action with the Government to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time, from poverty reduction to gender equality and greener economy, to name a few.

Opening the inaugural event, Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan and Chairperson of the NCCSD Mr. Ali Ahmadov noted the crucial importance of building effective partnership frameworks for engaging the private sector in the implementation of the Global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and emphasised that a robust advocacy and awareness raising play a central role in advancing the cooperation between the public and private sectors.

Achieving the SDGs is a unique business case, which presents an incentive for the private sector to invest in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda – the new global blueprint for a sustainable and inclusive growth, with its 17 accompanying Global Goals. The private sector is an indispensable contributor to the SDGs increasing employment opportunities worldwide, bringing innovative solutions to social and environmental problems and financing large-scale infrastructure projects. It is estimated that business is responsible for up to 60 percent of the gross domestic product of most developing countries while also generating 90 percent of jobs and 80 percent of capital inflows.

Speaking at the opening of the public-private sector dialogue on the SDGs today, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Mr. Alessandro Fracassetti noted that: “Achieving the SDGs opens up significant market opportunities for business across key sectors of the world economy, including food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and well-being.”

In Azerbaijan, each of these industries has a tremendous potential to transform the lives of the vulnerable and to unleash the capacity of both large, medium-sized and small enterprises to increase their bottom-line while making a social impact like never before. Globally, these four areas of intervention represent around 60 percent of the real economy and are critical to delivering the SDGs.

Mr Fracassetti emphasised the importance of bridging the Government’s commitment to achieving the SDGs with the private sector’s capacity, drive for innovation and capital to accelerate their implementation. He added that “UNDP will continue to facilitate collaborative initiatives between public and private sectors that will help accelerate progress in areas critical to sustainable development in Azerbaijan, such as inclusive growth, renewable energy, enhanced public services delivery, youth and gender”.

The event featured stimulating panel discussions, with insights from private sector representatives about investment and partnership opportunities for the achievement of the SDGs, specifically focusing on inclusive labour markets, innovations, big data and gender equality.

It is anticipated that the first public-private sector dialogue on the SDGs launched today will become a platform for building synergies between the Government and the private sector resulting in the development of Azerbaijan’s first of its kind Roadmap or Action Plan on Public-Private Sector Engagement and Partnership for the SDGs.

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For media inquiries, please contact Arzu Jafarli, Communications and External Relations Analyst for UNDP in Azerbaijan – arzu.jafarli@undp.org

 

FAO and the State Agro Trade Company presents project on Azerbaijani women’s empowerment in agriculture

BAKU, 7 May 2019 – Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations and the State Agro Trade Company under the Ministry of Agriculture launched an Agro Action of Azerbaijani Women project called AFAQ. The project aims to improve food security, socially inclusive rural development and sustainable livelihoods through rural women’s empowerment.

The presentation ceremony brought together representatives of FAO Office in Azerbaijan, Ministry of Agriculture, the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, experts from public and private sector, international organisations, female farmers and entrepreneurs.

In Azerbaijan, women account for more than 20% of the official employment statistics in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. However, they face a number of challenges such as gender pay gap; informality of jobs; triple work burden and poor access to social services. Women’s access to productive resources, financial assets and lack of marketing opportunities prevent them from engaging in successful business strategies.

Through the project, technical support will be provided to strengthen gender-sensitive rural advisory services; to support women’s self-organisation and access to information networks; and to enhance visibility of women and girls’ roles in agriculture and rural livelihoods to achieve social and behavioural change.

Women entrepreneurs will be supported through improved access to markets and credits, and capacity building activities on business creation, expansion and development.

AFAQ project is implemented within the framework of FAO Azerbaijan Partnership Programme.

UNHCR holds an event to mark the 15th year of the Japanese Fuji Vision Aid Missions to Azerbaijan

BAKU, 6 May 2019 – An event celebrating 15th anniversary of the humanitarian aid missions of the Japanese Fuji Optical Company to Azerbaijan took place today with participation of high-level government officials, parliamentarians, as well as representatives of the United Nations, other international organisations, civil society and the media. Continue reading “UNHCR holds an event to mark the 15th year of the Japanese Fuji Vision Aid Missions to Azerbaijan”

FAO launches a four-year project on pest management in Azerbaijan

BAKU, 3 May 2019 – The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) held the first seminar of pest management project in Baku, as a part of a regional project on lifecycle management of pesticides and disposal of persistent organic pollutants.

A four-year project aims to release of organic pollutants from contaminated sites and stockpiles of obsolete pesticides to be decreased and for countries to be able to better manage pests and pesticides.

“When we refer to pest and pesticide management, we are not only speaking of crop production or productivity but also how pests and pesticides impact small farmers, markets, trade and natural resources. This means the impact on the whole food system, affecting the availability of and access to healthy food,” said Tania Santivanez, FAO agricultural officer. She also noted that 900 metric tonnes of pollutants and obsolete pesticides should be destroyed safely, and pesticide-contaminated sites should be remediated.

At the same time, climate change and the intensification of agricultural production have increased the pressure on crops from pests and diseases. According to estimates, the annual losses caused by insects, weeds and diseases are around 20–40 percent. Although pesticides play an important role in reducing crop losses, they can negatively affect human health and the environment if misused.

“Through this project, FAO aims to increase the successful uptake of alternative solutions, promoting integrated pest management and agroecological approaches on key crops in the spirit of sustainable agriculture,” Santivanez said.

A road map of the project is planned to be designed with the participation of partners from governments, the private and civil sectors, and experts from universities. Supported by the Global Environment Facility, the project had held its alike workshop in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

It is estimated that about half of the world’s obsolete pesticides can be found in the former Soviet Union, with many of them stored throughout Central Asia. As an important centre for agriculture, particularly on cotton production, the subregion was a heavy user of pesticides. That leaves behind inappropriate burial sites, regulatory and management deficits, and other issues.

United Nations and Government of Azerbaijan review annual results of partnership framework

BAKU, 3 May 2019 – Some 50 high-level officials from the government and United Nations (UN) agencies gathered today for the annual UN-Government Joint Steering Committee meeting to review the results of implementation of the UN-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework (UNAPF) in 2018.

The meeting was co-chaired by Shahin Mustafayev, Minister of Economy, and Ghulam Isaczai, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan.

The Steering Committee meeting reviewed UN contribution towards Azerbaijan’s development in areas of economic growth and decent work; institutional capacity, public and social services; in the field of environment and disaster risk reduction.

The Steering Committee validated the results of UNAPF implementation in 2018, as well as endorsed the 2019-2020 joint work plans, results of the mid-term review and, and the terms of reference for the UNAPF final evaluation.

UNAPF for the period of 2016-2020 is the fourth UN cooperation document produced by the UN System in Azerbaijan. This document is characterised by a transition from an assistance‐based to a more partnership‐based cooperation that contributes to enhanced national capacities and knowledge‐intensive, advocacy‐driven synergies with the national planning process.

UN’s statement on recent media reports concerning submission and publication of two documents by the Government of Armenia

With respect to recent news media reports concerning submission and publication of two documents by the Government of Armenia as document of the 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, under agenda item 3 (Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development), the United Nations would like to clarify that the document in question was an annex to the note verbale to OHCHR (secretariat of the Human Rights Council) from the Government of Armenia. Continue reading “UN’s statement on recent media reports concerning submission and publication of two documents by the Government of Armenia”

WHO and Azerbaijan Ministry of Health held press conference and roundtable discussion on European Immunization Week

BAKU, 24 April 2019 – The Country Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Health has held a press conference and a roundtable discussion for the European Immunization Week (EIW) to promote immunization as a vital intervention to preventing diseases and protecting life.
Representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Scientific Research Institute of Pediatrics, the Azerbaijan State Medical Doctors Improvement Institute, the Republican Centre for Hygiene and Epidemiology, the Centre for Public Health and Reforms, the Analytical Expertise Centre, the Ministry of Justice, the State Agency on Compulsory Medical Insurance, the Country Coordinating Commission on Healthcare Programmes and UN agencies attended the roundtable discussion.
This year, the purpose of the European Immunization Week, April 24-30, is to extend the vaccine coverage by raising the awareness of the benefits of vaccination. Since 2007, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Health every year joins WHO European Region in celebrating the EIW.
“Vaccines save millions of children from serious diseases and deaths every year. Let’s not forget that the reason we don’t see much of measles, rubella, whooping cough and similar diseases any more is thanks to the vaccines,” said Dr. Hande Harmanci, WHO Representative in Azerbaijan.

“If we don’t vaccinate our children, these diseases are around the corner, waiting to make a come-back. Remember that all the vaccines that the Ministry of Health provide in Azerbaijan are of good quality,” she emphasized.

Vaccination is a life-long investment in children’s health and well-being. Thanks to vaccines, most children and adults in the European Region are immune to measles, rubella, mumps, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio. An increasing number are also vaccinated against pneumococcal bacteria, human papillomavirus and hepatitis B virus to prevent the severe forms of disease they can cause. With an average of 90% coverage across the European Region, more children received the second dose of measles containing vaccine in 2017 than ever before. However, despite the progress already made in reducing the threat of vaccine-preventable diseases, too many people are still missing out on the protective benefits of vaccination. More effort is needed to ensure that immunization coverage gaps are closed and that no one is left behind.

In 2018, over 82 000 people suffered from measles and 72 died of related complications in the European Region. Gaps in immunization coverage are an open door for contagious vaccine-preventable diseases, allowing them to spread among those who are not vaccinated.

The European Vaccine Action Plan (2015-2020) envisions a European Region free of vaccine-preventable diseases, where countries provide equitable access to high-quality, safe, affordable vaccines and immunization services throughout the life course. Making this vision a reality is vital to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular Goal 3 “to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.

OHCHR and Azerbaijan Bar Association hold workshop for lawyers on UN human rights system and defense mechanism

BAKU, 18 April 2019 – The Southern Caucasus Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Azerbaijani Bar Association (ABA) co-organised a workshop for lawyers on United Nations human rights system and defense mechanism in the field of justice administration focusing on practical application and prospects.

The event brought together over 40 members of ABA, government officials, representatives of local and international organisations.

At the event, UN OHCHR Senior Human Rights Advisor for the South Caucasus Vladimir Shkolnikov spoke about the promotion and protection of human rights in the UN system as well as on the activities of UN committees, special rapporteurs and working groups.

The Chairperson of the Bar Association Anar Baghirov highlighted the importance of the cooperation between ABA and OHCHR and talked about the co-organised capacity building training courses for lawyers from different regions of the country.

The participants exchanged views on collaboration areas with UN in national context and Azerbaijan’s ratification status regarding participation in UN human rights mechanisms and implementation of these decisions.

Participants received respective publications in Azerbaijani language translated by OHCHR.

EU and UNDP to improve access to micro-financing services for women in rural areas

NAKHCHIVAN, 16 April 2019 – A new flagship project on Empowering Women for Sustainable Development was launched today in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan with the financial support of the European Union. The one-year project aims to improve access to microfinance services for rural communities in Azerbaijan focusing on women and other vulnerable groups.

This new initiative will support women’s economic empowerment and financial autonomy by offering them a broad range of learning opportunities including money management practices, budget planning, business administration, debt management techniques and other skills needed to start a new business.

The project is implemented by the Azerbaijan Microfinance Association (AMFA) and is part of a broader programme on Promoting the Role of Civil Society in Gender-sensitive Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals funded by the European Union, co-funded and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Speaking at the project’s launching conference in Nakhchivan, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan Ambassador Kestutis Jankauskas said: “Today the European Union with its implementing partner UNDP and AMFA are launching the first EU funded project in Nakhchivan to empower over 300 women entrepreneurs. Teaching financial literacy, developing business skills and promotion of traditional products will unleash the full potential of women to become self-sustainable and contribute to building a modern society.”

The project will help over 300 women from rural communities, including women with disabilities, improve their business proficiency, financial literacy, access to financial resources and organisational skills. Among them, more than 50 best business ideas will further receive seed funding in the amount of USD 500 each to establish business startups in Nakhchivan and Ismayilli.

Supporting Azerbaijan’s commitment to accelerate the achievement of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the project will contribute to the implementation of SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 5: Gender Equality and SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Mr. Alessandro Fracassetti highlighted the importance of financial autonomy for women’s social and economic empowerment. “By boosting women’s access to new opportunities that will enable them to learn, grow and develop entrepreneurial businesses, countries can escape poverty and improve their economic conditions,” –said Mr. Fracassetti in his opening speech. “It is important to acknowledge that the opportunities offered by women entrepreneurs help grow domestic markets and increase employment prospects.”

First launched in Nakhchivan, the project activities will also be replicated in the Ismayilli region of Azerbaijan. In Nakhchivan, the activities will be facilitated in partnership with the Nakhchivan Division of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan and the Agrarkredit Joint-Stock Credit Organisation.

The project launch conference is part of a two-day official mission by the Heads of the European Union Delegation and the UNDP in Azerbaijan to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan. During the visit they will meet the Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of Nakchivan Autonomous Republic and participated in a tree-planting ceremony, as well as in meetings with students at the Nakhchivan State University and a traditional “Kete” cake festival at the historic Nakhchivanqala.

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For media inquiries, please contact:

  1. Arzu Jafarli, Communications and External Relations Analyst for UNDP in Azerbaijan – arzu.jafarli@undp.org
  2. Gulnara Bayramova, Press and Information Officer at the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan– gulnara.bayramova@eeas.europa.eu

 

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