Call for participation: First ever “UNLIMITED” Inclusivity Hackathon in Azerbaijan!

BAKU, 17 June 2019 – The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Country Office in Azerbaijan is launching the first ever Inclusivity Hackathon in Azerbaijan on 28 – 30 June 2019. Bringing close to a hundred people together in the capital Baku, the Hackathon will draw innovative solutions to support people with varying abilities.

Click here to read a full text of the press release.

FAO presented the National Forestry Programme on the protection and continuous development of forests in Azerbaijan  

BAKU, 14 June 2019 – Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) presented the National Forest Programme and its action plan on protection and development of forests in Azerbaijan.

The programme aims to implement the government’s forest policy by ensuring the development of institutional and legal basis for forest management.

The event brought together the representatives of Parliament, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (MENR), Ministry of Agriculture, Azerbaijan Food Safety Agency, specialists from FAO sub-regional office in Turkey, World Bank, UNDP  and other international organizations, as well as IDEA Public Union, civil society and academia.

During the presentation, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the State Agrarian University and the MENR to ensure the education and preparation of young forestry personnel in Azerbaijan.

National Forestry Programme (2020-2030) was drafted within the framework of technical support for the revision of National Forestry Programme (NFP) and modernisation of management system project, implemented by FAO and MENR.

Joint European Union – UNICEF programme provides comprehensive community-based support for Azerbaijani children and young people

Baku, 13 June 2019 – A new joint initiative between the European Union (EU) and UNICEF to protect the rights of the most vulnerable children and young people in Azerbaijan was unveiled today by Mr. Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and Mr. Edward Carwardine, UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan, with the EU contributing 3 million Euros to support access to quality community and family-based integrated social services in health, nutrition, early childhood development (ECD), inclusive education, social services and child protection and youth development.

The initiative was launched with the support of the National Children’s Paralympic Committee. During the event, children with disabilities were able to showcase their skills and talents. Involving adolescents with disabilities, with a special focus on girls, in sport is an important part of new collaboration between the European Union and UNICEF in Azerbaijan.

”The European Union supports civil society organisations (CSO) providing inclusive community based outreach services. Most of the funds available for this project will be channelled via our CSO partners to support their work with vulnerable children and young people in Azerbaijan”, highlighted the EU Commissioner.

“Through this joint effort, we aim to bring quality services ranging from early childhood development programmes to youth development initiatives, and from integrated social services to increased opportunities for children with disabilities, to more and more children, young people and their families in the heart of the community” said UNICEF Representative to Azerbaijan.

The initiative will contribute to enhancement of civil society as a valued and trusted ‘third sector’ to work alongside public and private sector entities in delivering the broadest range of support to vulnerable children across the country through community-based organisations. It will also contribute to the establishment of national standards across several sectors, strengthened technical and management capacities of civil society, and the modelling of high impact, cost-effective services and programmes at national and sub-national level through the engagement of CSOs.

 

For more information, please contact:

Ayna Mollazade, Communication and Partnership Specialist, amollazade@unicef.org, tel: +99 412 4923013 (ext.109)

Over 1000 participants collected four tons of waste in UN-supported beach clean-up action

BAKU, 8 June 2019 – A beach clean-up event on the shores of the Novkhany beach in capital Baku brought together more than a thousand participants, including youth activists and students, as well as representatives of UN agencies, government, civil society and private companies.

The participants collected about four tons of plastic and other types of waste, such as bottles, straws and cutlery, cans and cigarette butts. Hundreds of waste bags were submitted for recycling.

The event, dedicated to World Environment and Ocean days, was organised by the United Nations Office in Baku in collaboration with the IDEA Public Union, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Clean City state agency, Baku Transportation Agency and Azerbaijani Youth Foundation.

UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan, Ghulam Isaczai and his spouse Norma Isaczai also participated in the clean-up event.  “What a wonderful way to raise awareness and mark the #WorldEnvironmentDay2019. Glad to have partaken in it,” Mr Isaczai wrote on his Twitter account.

UNDP and Government bring youth enthusiasts to policy discussions around Internet

Baku, 3 June 2019 – The UN Development Programme and Government of Azerbaijan conclude a three-day intensive programme of the first in the country Youth Internet Governance Forum (IGF) today. Capitalising on greater involvement of young people in policy debates around Internet governance, the inaugural event was organized in partnership with the Azerbaijan Youth Fund and brought together nearly 250 students, representatives of youth organizations, university faculty, civil society, the public and private sector and beyond.

The first two days of the Forum focused on strengthening theoretical and practical knowledge of the Internet and its broader application for development among the key cohort of 24 participants aged 17-29 from around the world, including Georgia, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Albania, Greece, Moldova, Serbia and Turkey, as well as young students from across the regions of Azerbaijan. The third and concluding day followed with an engaging simulation game that featured some of the heated policy debates around the future of Internet governance where youth are the centrepiece of important policy-making and decision-making processes. Young delegates presented their policy arguments from the perspective of government officials, civil society representatives, innovators, businesses and other institutions.

The involvement of young people in policy debates is key for development. The United Nations estimates show that many young people aged 18-25 are the first generation of adults to grow up not knowing the world without the Internet. Yet a little less than half the world’s population have no access to Internet today, while 90 percent of them actually come from developing countries. Bridging this digital divide is one of the prerequisites for accelerating the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs). Youth, innovation and technology combined together build an important pillar of national development ensuring equal access to information and knowledge, while also fostering greater partnerships and entrepreneurship.

Speaking at the opening of the Youth IGF today, Deputy Resident Representative a.i. for UNDP in Azerbaijan Ms. Yuliya Shcherbinina told young enthusiasts gathered in Baku: “Today, our world is home to the largest youth population ever in history, and you are among this critical cohort! You are the indispensable agents of change and we need you on board where the SDGs are at stake.”

There are currently 1.8 billion people around the globe between the ages of 10 and 24 and this number is expected to grow. By 2030, almost 2 billion young people will become part of the world’s youth cohort. Only in Azerbaijan, young people between the age of 14-29, make up close to one third of the population. Half of them live in rural areas. Through various platforms like the Youth IGF, UNDP programmes in Azerbaijan engage with young people from different socio-economic background in different parts of the country making sure that the development work this global organisation pursues benefits all Leaving No One Behind.

The first Youth Internet Governance Forum is organised as a part of yet another inaugural initiative taking place in Azerbaijan from 29 May to 4 June –the first ever Innovation Festival (InnoFest) in Azerbaijan launched at the initiative of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies in partnership with a number of other key ministries and government agencies, innovation centres, youth organizations, a leading telecommunications company, the Heydar Aliyev Centre, the US Embassy in Baku and UNDP. The InnoFest features an impressive array of innovation summits, forums, start-up competitions, including UNDP’s nationwide Idea-to-Business (I2B) tours, as well as robotics competitions, eSports tournaments and exhibitions that brought together hundreds of multinational companies, international organizations, thought leaders, influencers and chief executives from all over the world.

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

UNICEF urges renewed attention on Early Childhood Development and more family-friendly policies

BAKU, 1 June 2019 – Today on National Child Protection Day in Azerbaijan and on the UN Day of Parents, UNICEF is launching the first global Parenting Month with a focus on the importance of early childhood development.

Under the theme of “It’s About Time”, UNICEF offices around the world and their partners are raising awareness of the impact on babies’ and young children’s brain development of good nutrition, stimulation and a protective environment in the earliest years of life. UNICEF is also urging more support for parents, through investment in family-friendly policies and more provision of practical advice and guidance on early childhood development.

In Azerbaijan, UNICEF is undertaking a social media campaign #Atabala Challenge to highlight the important role that fathers play in the development of their children. As part of the challenge, several personalities are sharing their personal stories of fatherhood on social media, encouraging other fathers to take part and spread the word on how fathers can help in the early development of their young children.

“The earliest years of a child’s life are those when their brains development most rapidly, and when there is unique opportunity to maximise their learning skills, their emotional development and their social behaviours,” said UNICEF Representative to Azerbaijan, Edward Carwardine. “Providing children with the best possible start to life relies on creating every chance to stimulate their cognitive skills, their sense of exploration and discovery, as well as their health and nutrition – and parents, and others who care for young children, have an essential role to play.”

Effective early childhood development requires several key elements from which children should benefit in the first 1,000 days of their lives, says UNICEF. These include: good nutrition, responsive care and protection form all forms of violence or harm.

Enabling parents and others who care for children to provide these inputs requires sufficient time to spend with children – however, a lack of investment in family-friendly policies in some countries means that many parents struggle to balance work and other commitments with the most formative time in their children’s lives.

“As we celebrate childhood today and reaffirm the important place children hold in our lives and our hearts, it’s time to make time for children – that means providing parents and others with practical guidance on how support their child’s early development and to put in place specific family-friendly measures such as respecting mandatory maternity leave, introducing paternity leave, creating flexible working arrangements so mothers can breastfeed new-borns or benefit from childcare facilities in their workplace,” said Carwardine.

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About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org.

For more information, please contact:

Ayna Mollazade, Communication and Partnership Specialist, amollazade@unicef.org, tel: +99 412 4923013 (ext.109)

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.

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