“Strengthening of Agricultural Advisory Services” Project presents ongoing activities in the regions of Azerbaijan

The referenced project has been launched by the agreement of the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan, FAO, and EU. For achieving the objectives of the project, one of the milestones is to get the full picture of the state of the agricultural advisory services (AAS) in the country based on the results of the survey and assessment. This activity started in June 2020, aiming to cover five districts in the country identified by the country authorities. In July 2020, the assessment survey is planned to be conducted for the farmers, service providers, and other stakeholders in Guba, Khachmaz, and Lankaran regions. Continue reading ““Strengthening of Agricultural Advisory Services” Project presents ongoing activities in the regions of Azerbaijan”

UN and ASAN Radio promote UN75 initiative in Azerbaijan


Baku, 7 July 2020 – The United Nations and ASAN Radio have launched today a new project to promote the UN75 initiative – the biggest global conversation on the world’s future dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The project includes a 20-minute weekly programme that will discuss three key questions that the UN75 initiative will ask throughout the year: “What kind of future do we want to create?”; “Are we on track?”; and “What action is needed to close the gap?”.

The programme, called UN75, will be broadcast on Tuesdays at 18.10, and bring together representatives of government agtencies, civil society, academia, private sector, and youth organisations.   

“The UN75 is going to be a lot more than a birthday celebration. It will be a year of listening and engaging with people on the various strategies and proposals to ensure the United Nations is able to deliver better on the promise of a world free from want, fear, and conflict,” said Ghulam Isaczai, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan. 

The programme will also promote a one-minute global survey – one of the key elements of the UN75 initiative. It is available in the Azerbaijani language as well. The results of this survey will be presented to world leaders and senior UN officials on 21 September 2020, at a high-level event to mark the 75th anniversary.

ASAN Radio is a public radio station, which broadcasts on 100 FM. This radio station is part of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of Azerbaijan and concentrates on awareness-raising programmes.

WHO and partners conclude REACT-C19 project in Azerbaijan

BAKU, 3 July 2020 – REACT-C19 project, which aimed to support Azerbaijan in rapidly scaling up essential capacities for COVID-19 readiness and response finished its work in designated hospitals of Baku and regions after a 3-month marathon.

The project covered 12 hospitals in 5 regions – Baku, Ganja, Shamkir, Agdash, and Goranboy in 4 sprints of approximately two weeks. Within the project, 1185 attendances of health workers in trainings were achieved in total in a variety of subjects including management of severe COVID patients, interpretation of COVID laboratory results, etc. The project facilitated the establishment of  Infection Control Committees in 5 hospitals, setting an example for others to follow.

The Hospital Readiness Checklist of WHO implemented from the onset as a component of monitoring and evaluation of hospitals resulted in significant improvements especially in strengthening infection prevention and control measures, management of patients, surveillance and incident management across a majority of hospitals in the project. The bottlenecks and barriers to improvement were reported systematically to authorities together with recommendations.

In addition to supporting readiness in 12 hospitals, a Training Center was established within the New Clinic. Between 12-30 June, 119 healthcare workers participated in the trainings on how to protect themselves from COVID-19.

REACT-C19 project resulted in the strengthening of collaboration among WHO, Heydar Aliyev Foundation, State Agency on Mandatory Health Insurance, TABIB and the Ministry of Health as well as other institutions such as Azerbaijan Medical University, Public Health, and Reform Center and Azerbaijan State Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education with special emphasis on building human resources capacity through targeted trainings.

As the REACT-C19 project closes, many of the project consultant doctors decided to stay in Azerbaijan for some more time to continue to support the country.

About REACT-C19 project

In partnership with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Ministry of Health, State Agency on Mandatory Health Insurance, TABIB, USAID, the British Embassy in Baku and the Republic of Korea, WHO implemented the Rapid Scale-up of Essential Capacities for COVID-19 (REACT-C19) project for strengthening essential response capacities Azerbaijan. The 19 doctors in the specialty areas of infectious diseases, pulmonology, anesthesiology and reanimation, internal medicine, currently working in Turkey, form the backbone of the REACT-C19 teams.

Global food commodity prices rebound in June

FAO expects new record-high global cereal production and comfortable stock levels for 2020/21, while food assistance needs up

In June, global food commodity prices rose for the first time since the beginning of the year driven by a rebound in vegetable oils, sugar and dairy quotations. However, in the cereals and meat markets, most prices remained under downward pressure amid market uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading “Global food commodity prices rebound in June”

Statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Azerbaijan on changes in its refugee status determination procedure as of 1 July 2020

01 July 2020, Baku – With reference to arrangements between the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Azerbaijan we announce that we will discontinue conducting our own Refugee Status Determination (RSD) procedure with regard to individuals who apply for international protection in Azerbaijan starting from 1 July 2020.  Therefore, persons who will lodge an asylum application on or after 1 July 2020 will have their applications assessed only by the State Migration Service and national courts, but no longer by UNHCR. Similarly, UNHCR will not be issuing Protection Letters to new asylum-seekers who lodge asylum application in Azerbaijan on or after 1 July 2020. This measure will have no negative or retroactive effect in terms of registration or documentation with UNHCR for those asylum-seekers who have applied for asylum in Azerbaijan before 1 July 2020. UNHCR will otherwise continue its regular protection and assistance activities for persons of concern, within the limits of the financial resources at its disposal.

Over the past years, as a result of fruitful cooperation, technical support and capacity development activities, there have been a number of positive developments in the national asylum procedure in line with international standards that further emphasize the Government’s primary role in protecting and securing durable solutions for refugees. However, the process of bringing Azerbaijan’s asylum system in line with international standards is not yet over as additional measures need to be made by the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure adequate protection space in the country for those fleeing conflicts and persecution in other countries. 

UNHCR stands ready to further strengthen existing cooperation with the Government of Azerbaijan in the above mentioned areas and will continue its support in tackling problems of people of concern to the organization.

Confronting the silent and endemic crisis of harmful practices

 Urgent, accelerated action needed to stop female genital mutilation, child marriage, and other practices that harm women and girls, according to new UNFPA report

01 July 2020, Baku – Every year, millions of girls around the world are subjected to practices that harm them physically and emotionally, with the full knowledge and consent of their families, friends and communities, according to the State of World Population 2020, released on June 30 by UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.

At least 19 harmful practices, ranging from breast ironing to virginity testing, are considered human rights violations, according to the UNFPA report, which focuses on the three most prevalent ones: female genital mutilation, child marriage, and extreme bias against daughters in favour of sons.

“Harmful practices against girls cause profound and lasting trauma, robbing them of their right to reach their full potential,” says UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem.

This year, an estimated 4.1 million girls will be subjected to female genital mutilation. Today, 33,000 girls under age 18 will be forced into marriages, usually to much older men. Also, an extreme preference for sons over daughters in some countries has fueled gender-biased sex selection or extreme neglect that leads to their death as children, resulting in 140 million “missing females.”

In the Eastern Europe and Central Asia, child marriage is generally illegal and on the decline overall, but is still practiced widely in parts of the region (up to 15% of women were married before they turned 18 in some countries; and in some communities one in two women was married as a child).

Son preference also remains common in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region, resulting in heavily imbalanced sex-at-birth ratios in parts of the South Caucasus and South-East Europe, as many more boys are born there than girls.               

Countries that have ratified international treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child have a duty to end the harm. Many have responded with laws, but laws alone are not enough.

Decades of experience and research show that bottom-up, grassroots approaches are better at bringing change, the UNFPA report states. 

“These harmful practices have one root cause in common: the widespread and persistent under-valuing of girls and women,” says Alanna Armitage, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “But we are seeing that social norms are shifting in the right direction, and there is a real chance that working together – governments, civil society, influencers and role models – we can make practices harming girls a thing of the past.”

Programmes to change discriminatory social norms are effective in eliminating harmful practices, but they must not focus narrowly on just these practices. Rather, they should address the broader issues at play, including the subordinate position of women and girls, their human rights, and how to elevate their status and access to opportunities, the report says. 

Globally, ending child marriage and female genital mutilation worldwide is possible within 10 years by scaling up efforts to keep girls in school longer and teach them life skills and to engage men and boys in social change. Investments totaling $3.4 billion a year through 2030 would end these two harmful practices and end the suffering of an estimated 84 million girls, the report shows.

While progress has been made in ending some harmful practices worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse gains. A recent analysis revealed that if services and programmes remain shuttered for six months, an additional 13 million girls may be forced into marriage and 2 million more girls may be subjected to female genital mutilation between now and 2030. 

The pandemic may increase the risk of forced early marriage as a strategy to reduce the economic burdens in the family. And lockdowns, school closures and movement restrictions are disrupting adolescent girls’ routines and their support systems. 

“The pandemic puts more girls at risk and threatens to undermine the progress we’ve made,” Armitage says. “We must redouble our efforts to ensure that girls everywhere are fully able to enjoy their rights, make choices about their lives and their bodies.”

The European Union and WHO deliver critical supplies to the COVID-19 frontline in Azerbaijan

25 June 2020, Baku 

A shipment of medical respirators and masks, protective goggles, face shields, and isolation gowns to help enable health-care workers in Azerbaijan to respond effectively and safely to the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the country on the 22nd of June.

The delivery of 168 000 personal protective equipment, funded by the European Union and procured by WHO, includes 10 000 face shields, 10 000 protective goggles, 8000 isolation gowns, 140 000 respirators. All items of equipment delivered have been checked to ensure they meet quality and safety standards for health-care workers on the frontline. 

Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan, and Hande Harmanci, WHO Representative in Azerbaijan handed over the equipment to the Ministry of Health as part of a larger assistance package to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

 “Now is the time for international solidarity and leadership, not isolation. The European Union and its Member States, acting together as ‘Team Europe’ are helping to prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to strengthen the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood’s resilience and capacity to respond to public health emergencies”, stated Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan. 

“As COVID-19 does not recognize borders, the fight against it must be based on the principles of solidarity, mutual assistance, and the use of positive experience, and it should not limit with borders.

On behalf of the Ministry of Health, I thank the officials of the European Union and the World Health Organization and the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and express my unequivocal confidence that the protection of human health is the noblest work,” said Deputy Health Minister Rahim Aliyev.

The Ministry of Health will ensure the supplies are distributed to medical facilities across the country. 

Hande Harmanci, WHO Representative and Head of Country Office in Azerbaijan, said: “Health-care workers are at the frontline of our response to COVID-19, placing them at higher risk of exposure to the virus. They are our heroes, but they are not superhuman. 

“The delivery of this protective equipment, made possible thanks to the generous contribution of the European Union, will go far in reducing the risk health-care workers in our country face in their daily work and help protect them, patients and vulnerable people from this virus,” she added.

The donation of the personal protective equipment is part of the European Union’s response to the outbreak of COVID-19, currently affecting more than 188 countries and territories. On 27 March 2020, the European Union announced an assistance package of €30 million to help prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in six countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, including Azerbaijan.

The funds initially will be used to meet immediate emergency needs, such as procuring essential supplies and training for health-care workers and frontline responders. In the longer term, the assistance will go towards strengthening the country’s capacity to respond to public health emergencies.

The project builds upon the European Union’s and WHO’s ongoing support to Azerbaijan.

For further information, contact:

Fanara Bunyadzada, Communication Officer for the WHO CO in Azerbaijan

Gulnara Bayramova, Press Officer for the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan

 

Joint Statement by State Migration Service and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on access to labour market for refugees

As many countries around the globe continue to struggle with the unprecedent COVID-19 crisis, forced displacement has been on the rise and is now affecting more than one percent of humanity who have no choice but to flee conflict, persecution or events seriously disturbing public order and are unable to return home. With the global displaced population at its highest number of 79.5 million ever recorded in the world’s history, the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) continue to work together towards enhancing the conditions for local integration for some 2,000 refugees and asylum-seekers under UNHCR’s mandate. 

Facilitation of legal employment and access to labour market for refugees was an important pledge made by the Azerbaijani delegation at the Global Refugee Forum which took place in December 2019 and was a true milestone in building solidarity with the world’s refugees and the countries and communities that host them. During the months following the Global Refugee Forum, the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan engaged with the Ministry of Labour and other state entities in order to ensure the implementation of the pledge. A great achievement on the eve of World Refugee Day, marked on 20 June is that refugees and asylum-seekers in Azerbaijan can now apply for individual identification numbers and have their labour contracts registered.     

“The Government of Azerbaijan has taken significant steps in order to facilitate legal employment and to improve access to the legal labour market for asylum seekers and refugees under the UNHCR protection, and recent arrangement of State Migration Service in cooperation with Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population fully ensured the labour rights of these people” said Vusal Huseynov, Chief of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

“Fortunately, the Government is now addressing the issue of access to legal employment which will allow these refugees to become self-sufficient and pay taxes instead of relying only informal employment and humanitarian assistance. This will be a major step forward on the road to inclusion and integration,” said Guido Ambroso, UNHCR Representative in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

As a result of fruitful cooperation, technical support and capacity development activities, over the past years, there have been a number of positive developments in the national asylum procedure in line with international standards that further emphasize the Government’s primary role in protecting and securing durable solutions for refugees. Continue reading “Joint Statement by State Migration Service and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on access to labour market for refugees”

AQUAHACK: Water Saving Hackathon Launched by Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and UNDP

BAKU, 10 June 2020 – The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with ‘Hackathon Azerbaijan’ launched Azerbaijan’s first-ever virtual water-themed hackathon –to crowdsource tech solutions to water challenges and help raise public awareness of the vital importance of water. Continue reading “AQUAHACK: Water Saving Hackathon Launched by Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and UNDP”

FAO – Azerbaijan Partnership Programme – Inception Workshop – Catalyzing the efficiency and sustainability of hazelnut sector

 

BAKU, 10 May, 2020 – Online inception of the project Catalyzing the efficiency and sustainability of Azerbaijan’s hazelnut sector – HAZER” took place today. This inception workshop brought together Government officials of Azerbaijan working with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), including the Department of fruits and vegetables and FAO experts. Continue reading “FAO – Azerbaijan Partnership Programme – Inception Workshop – Catalyzing the efficiency and sustainability of hazelnut sector”

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