The Constitution adopted on November 12, 1995 set the beginning of a new era of state-building which bases on the maintenance of basic human rights. The provision of human rights and freedoms is proclaimed as a highest goal of the State in the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The third chapter of the document titled “Fundamental rights and freedoms of a person and citizen” is composed of 48 articles which encompasses broad spectrum of human rights. Azerbaijan is a party to the fundamental international legal documents in the field of human rights. According to Article 148 of the Constitution, the international treaties, to which Azerbaijan is a party, constitute an inalienable integral part of Azerbaijan’s legislative system. According to Article 151 of the Constitution, in case of a possible contradiction between normative legal acts (except Constitution and acts adopted by referendum) of Azerbaijan on the one hand, and those international treaties to which Azerbaijan is a party, on the other hand, the norms of the international treaties shall apply. Human rights and freedoms have direct force in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On February 22, 1998 The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan issued a decree “On the measures regarding maintenance of human rights and freedoms of a person and citizen”. With the Presidential order dated to June 18, 1998 the State Program on the protection of human rights was approved. On the basis of the abovementioned State Program Ombudsman institution was established in 2002.
In recent years the Republic of Azerbaijan has carried-out huge reforms in different spheres of social life. Steps taken with the purpose of adapting the legal system of Azerbaijan to international standards envisaged in the European Convention on Human Rights and other international documents hold important place among the reforms in the field of democratization of the country. The adoption of different laws and codes brought great importance to the strengthening of the legislative basis of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On 1993 moratorium was declared on the execution of death penalty, and on February 10, 1998 the death penalty was abolished in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
With the Presidential order in Azerbaijan, firstly in the whole former USSR region, detention centres that had been subordinate to Ministry of Interior were subjected to the Ministry of Justice.
One of the main steps with regard to maintaining respect for human rights was the adoption of National Action Plan on the Protection of Human Rights. The National Action Plan that developed on the proposals by different governmental bodies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was approved by the President Ilham Aliyev’s order number 1889, dated December 28, 2006.
On 27 December, 2011 the National Action Programme on raising the efficiency of human rights protection in the Republic of Azerbaijan, was approved by the President. This Programme covers the issues mainly reflected in the recommendations addressed to Azerbaijan in course of consideration of its first UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report. The Action Programme envisages such issues as improvement of the normative-legal basis (including through definition of human rights and fundamental freedoms as a major criteria for drafting laws), improvement of activities of the state agencies, increasing transparency, training, research and awareness-raising measures on human rights, as well as cooperation with different international organizations in the field of human rights.
Along with accession to different international documents in human rights sphere, Azerbaijan also cooperates with a number of international organizations for this purpose. Different organizations of UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, and European Union are of special importance among them.
Azerbaijan effectively cooperates with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the field of protection and promotion of human rights. This cooperation is based on the technical cooperation document titled “Strengthening Capacities and Infrastructure for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Azerbaijan” which had initially been signed in 1998, and which envisaged cooperation till 2000. Taking into account the importance of the issue a new Project document was signed between Azerbaijan Government and the Office on December 2001. Within the framework of the project different events (seminars, trainings, exchange of experience, publication of materials etc.) in the field of human rights were organized. The Ministry of Justice was the coordinator on behalf of Azerbaijani Government. One of the main achievements of Azerbaijan in the field human rights was the election of Azerbaijan in 2006 to the membership of newly established HRC. According to the UN General Assembly resolution A/60/L.48 UN General Assembly’s subsidiary body – HRC was established and that substituted Human Rights Commission. Azerbaijan was among the 47 member-states that became the first members of HRC. HRC started functioning on June 19, 2006.
The Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has submitted Interim report to the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and HRC in 2012. This Interim report covered the issues reflected in the recommendations addressed to Azerbaijan in course of consideration of its first UN HRC UPR report. Furthermore, OHCHR and HRC have been constantly informed on the measures taken with regard to the recommendations addressed to Azerbaijan during the consideration of its first UPR report.
The Republic of Azerbaijan conducts an ongoing fruitful cooperation with the Special Procedures of the HRC. The Government of Azerbaijan has been receiving all Mandate Holders under the UN Special Procedures, which sent letters requesting to visit the country. It should be also highlighted that in April 2013 the Government of Azerbaijan has sent a standing invitation to the special procedures mandate holders.
On 16-23 May 2012, A.Grover, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health visited Azerbaijan.
On 30 April 2013, an interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Azerbaijan was held within the 16th session of UPR Working Group. During an interactive dialogue 77 states has delivered a speech and made recommendations with regard to situation of human rights in Azerbaijan. The measures taken by the Government of Azerbaijan in the field of human rights and freedoms, as well as the positive developments and some difficulties were highlighted during event.
The third periodic report of the Republic of Azerbaijan under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was considered on 3rd May 2013 within the 50th session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Geneva. The Committee members highly evaluated the high level of the Delegation, the opening statement of the Head of Delegation and the measures taken in the field of realizing the economic, social and cultural rights comprehensively reflected in the report. In this regard, the Committee members considered the very issues as good examples of the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the field of the provision of economic, social and cultural rights. The third periodic report of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the process of interactive dialogue were highly appreciated by the Committee members. It was mentioned that the efforts of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was noteworthy.
On 20 September 2013, the meeting was held in connection with the adoption of the report of the Working Group on UPR of the Republic of Azerbaijan within the framework of the 24th session of the UN HRC. 158 recommendations out of 162 submitted in total within the framework of the review fully or partially accepted by the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the certain part of these recommendations had already been implemented and the other remaining recommendations were at the stage of realization. At the end of the meeting, the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Azerbaijan (A/HRC/24/13) was adopted by the HRC unanimously.
On 26 November-6 December 2013, R.Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women its causes and consequences has visited Azerbaijan. In the Annex of her report to the 26th session of UN HRC mentioned that Nagorno Karabakh is a part of the Republic of Azerbaijan and referred to the relevant UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions with respect to conflict. Moreover, in her report Special Rapporteur made a following recommendation: "the Special Rapporteur further recommends that the international community intensify efforts aimed at the speedy resolution of the issue of the occupation of land, in accordance with the norms and principles of international law and the provisions stipulated in GA resolution 62/243" which is "The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan" ".
Mr. Murad N. Najafbayli, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva addressed a letter to the President of UN HRC with regard to violations of ceasefire regime by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia. The mentioned letter was distributed as an official document of 25th session of UN HRC (A/HRC/25/G/5).
Mr. Murad N. Najafbayli, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva addressed a letter to the President of UN HRC with regard to the commemoration of twenty-second anniversary of Khojaly Genoside. The mentioned letter was distributed as an official document of 25th session of UN HRC (A/HRC/25/G/14).
The initial Report of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the implementation of its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was considered on 1-2 April 2014 within the 11th session of UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva, and the concluding observations was adopted. Azerbaijan was represented with the delegation headed by the Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Population. The Committee commended the Republic of Azerbaijan for its efforts to improve its legislation, particularly the adoption of Law on Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan of 31 May 2011, as well as for initiating programmes on the rights of persons with disabilities, such as the State Programme on De-Institutionalization and Alternative Care 2006-2015 and the State Programme on Inclusive Education. The Committee further commended our country for establishing a working group under the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population consisting of representatives from relevant government agencies and non-governmental organizations of persons with disabilities, which is mandated to coordinate the implementation of the provisions of the Convention in Azerbaijan. The Committee also welcomed the country for its role in cooperating with other States parties in the region on issues under the Convention. Besides, the proposal of the Committee on the option of submitting the next periodic reports under the Committee’s simplified reporting procedure has been considered acceptable and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has decided to join to the simplified reporting procedure.
The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva continues its contacts with the international non-governmental organizations dealing with issues of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in order to bring the issue of situation of refugees and IDPs of Azerbaijan to the attention of international community. On 26 March 2014 the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) has published a report on Azerbaijan. The report highlights the following key points: root cause for the IDPs in Azerbaijan is the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan; Armenia controls Nagorno Karabakh and 7 adjacent districts; the territories that lived IDPs were occupied by Armenian Armed Forces; conflict is ongoing through the line of contact.
On 18-24 May 2014, C.Beyani, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons has visited Azerbaijan. Special Rapporteur will present his full report to the June 2015 session of UN HRC.
The members of UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and UN Subcommitte on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) will pay their first ever official visits to the Republic of Azerbaijan on 18-27 August 2014 and 8-17 September 2014, respectively.
International Committee of the Red Cross
The ICRC has been working in Azerbaijan since 1992 in relation to the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against Azerbaijan. It focuses on the issue of missing persons and on detainees held for conflict-related or security reasons, and works to protect and assist communities living along the Line of Contact and the international border with Armenia. It promotes implementation of IHL and its integration into armed and security forces’ training and into academic curricula. The ICRC works in partnership with and aims to help strengthen the capacities of the Red Crescent Society of Azerbaijan.
In partnership with the Red Crescent Society of Azerbaijan and the British Red Cross, the ICRC continued to implement activities to help people living in villages along the Line of Contact and the international border become resilient and self-sufficient. These included improving their access to water for drinking and irrigation, providing them with livelihood opportunities, and affording them better protection against exchanges of crossborder fire through home repairs.
Resolving the fate of people who went missing during the conflict remained a priority. The ICRC assisted the Azerbaijani State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons (CEPOD) in setting up and managing a centralized system for ante-mortem data collected from the families of missing persons, providing technical support throughout the process.
National Society/ICRC teams and the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) continued to collect data on minerelated incidents and the needs of families who had lost breadwinners in such incidents. In accordance of ICRC information, 12 households (50 people) in Azerbaijan who had lost their breadwinners in mine/ERW incidents boosted their income or food production through livestock activities, aided by productive inputs.
Issues related to missing persons are important for Azerbaijan. There are 4046 missing persons in Azerbaijan. With local partners, the ICRC continued to provide comprehensive support for the psychosocial needs of families of missing persons while encouraging the authorities to enforce their right to free medical care and other benefits.
Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan in Geneva continues its regular work and activities with ICRC. In that regard, as a result of intensive interaction carried out with ICRC at Geneva, the historical names of different locations in the Nagorno Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan (Aghdara, Khojavand and etc.) were also mentioned in the relevant reports of this institution. At the same time, new map with regard to the administrative territory of Azerbaijan was prepared by ICRC, whereby the occupied territories of Azerbaijan were highlighted through special signs.
International Civil Defence Organization
Azerbaijan is a member of International Civil Defence Organisation since 1993. The Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Azerbaijan is closely cooperation with it. Azerbaijan was unanimously elected as a member of the Executive Committee of this organization for the years of 2015-2018.
United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction
Azerbaijan is also closely cooperating with UNISDR (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction). In May of 2013, Permanent Mission participated at the 4th Global Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction organized by UNISDR in Geneva.
The Republic of Azerbaijan and UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
The Republic of Azerbaijan is a member of the UNECE since 1993.
Visits of the UNECE leadership to Azerbaijan:
H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan received, on 23 November 2011, Mr. Jan Kubis, the Executive Secretary of the UNECE. At the meeting, J.Kubis recalled his official visit to Azerbaijan in the capacity of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The UNECE Secretary General said he is amazed to see great changes in the country. Kubis highly valued Azerbaijan’s energy policy and regional transportation projects and expressed gratitude to Azerbaijan on behalf of the United Nations for the implementation of Trans-Eurasia Information Superhighway (TASIM) project. Kubis said the UN has an international centres network around the world and is very interested in creation the International IT Centre in Azerbaijan, taking into account the rapid development of information technologies here. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan said Azerbaijan proved out itself as a reliable partner in energy and regional transport projects. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan said IT sector is developing very fast here. Noting the importance of the various projects carried out by the United Nations, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan supported the idea of creation the United Nations IT Centre in Azerbaijan.
Mr. Sven Alkalaj, the Executive Secretary of the UNECE was in Baku on 1-2 December 2013, to conclude negotiations on the establishment of a Specialist Centre for Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure in Baku. This Specialist Centre, which will be affiliated to the UNECE International PPP Centre of Excellence in Geneva, will aim at identifying international PPP best practice models in ICT and act as an international repository for PPP projects in the ICT sector. This cooperation will be formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UNECE and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Azerbaijan, to be signed on the occasion of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2014. In Baku, the Executive Secretary visited BakuTel 2013, the largest International Telecommunications and Information Technologies Exhibition in the Caucasus, with Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. He held bilateral meetings with Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Ali Abbasov Minister of Communications and Information Technology of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On 2 December 2013 Minister Elmar Mammadyarov received the delegation led by the Executive Secretary of the UNECE Sven Alkalaj. The current level and the future prospects of the bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and UNECE were discussed at the very meeting. The signing of the Azerbaijan-EU Agreement on visa facilitation was underlined as a positive step in Azerbaijan-EU cooperation. S.Alkalaj added that UNECE attaches a great importance to its cooperation with Azerbaijan. At the meeting, Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Executive Secretary Alkalaj highlighted the importance of broadening the legal framework between Azerbaijan and the UNECE. S.Alkalaj also expressed his satisfaction with the favourable climate provided for foreign investors adding that Azerbaijan’s market remains attractive for the international business community.
The United Nations Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context(Espoo Convention):
The Republic of Azerbaijan has acceded to the United Nations Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) on 25 March 1999. Azerbaijani side is of the view that the fulfillment of the obligations, set out in the provisions of the Espoo Convention has vital importance. In this regard, Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the cooperation within the Convention and with the Convention’s Secretariat, and actively participates in the meetings of the Convention.
The 6th session of the Espoo Convention was held in Geneva, from 2 to 5 June 2014.
Along with other issues during the event the decision was adopted on the submission made by Azerbaijan to the Implementation Committee about Armenia's non-compliance with its obligations under the Espoo Convention with respect to the building of a new Nuclear Power Plant unit in Metsamor, Armenia.
The Meeting of the Parties decided that the Republic of Armenia has breached its obligation deriving from the Espoo Convention with respect to the building of a new Nuclear Power Plant unit in Metsamor, Armenia, and gave a mandate to the Implementation Committee to follow-up and as appropriate, monitor the case.
On 19-21 November 2008, the delegation of Azerbaijan headed by Mr. Natig Aliyev, Ministry of Industry and Energy attended the 17th Annual Session of the Committee on Sustainable Energy of the UNECE held in Geneva.
On 16-20 November 2009, the delegation of Azerbaijan headed by Mr. Aydin Aliyev, the Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan attended the 18th Annual Session of the Committee Sustainable Energy of the UNECE, held in Geneva. During his visit, Mr. Aydin Aliyev held various meetings with the officials of the several international organizations based in Geneva.
Mr. Khalaf Khalafov, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Azerbaijan met with Jan Kubiš, Executive Secretary of UNECE on 1 October 2010 in Geneva. Both sides emphasized the high level of cooperation within this organization, successful activity in the fields of energy, transportation, environment, customs, information-communication technologies, trade and other spheres within the UNECE, as well as importance of the elaboration of the new projects in the different spheres of economy and development of cooperation in this direction. Mr. Khalaf Khalafov expressed Azerbaijan’s concern over the construction of a new nuclear power station in Armenia to the Executive Secretary of the UNECE and said that the new nuclear power station constructed on the basis of old one – Metsamor nuclear power station would be a source of serious threats to the environment and socio-economic situation in the region.
Ministerial Conference on aid for trade SPECA roadmap was held on 1-2 December 2010 in Baku and Baku Declaration was adopted. UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary participated at the very meeting. Moreover, 5th Session of the SPECA Project Working Group on Trade was held on 2 December 2010 in Baku.
5th Session of the SPECA Project Working Group on Knowledge-based Development was held in Baku on 4 December 2013.
In 2012, the representative of Azerbaijan was elected as the vice-chairman of the Committee on Trade of the UNECE.
3rd UNECE Forum of Women Entrepreneurs held on 14 - 15 November 2012 in Baku.
The representatives of Azerbaijan have been included in the UNECE Roster of PPP Experts.
The Republic of Azerbaijan and the World Trade Organization
Submission of the application expressing the will of the Republic of Azerbaijan to be a member of the WTO to the WTO Secretariat 23.06.1997.
Establishment of the Working Group on Azerbaijan at the WTO Secretariat 16.07.1997
Submission of the memorandum on foreign trade regime of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the WTO Secretariat 22.04.1999
Setting up Interorganizational Coordination Group on accelerating membership process of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the WTO 19.11.1999
Holding the First Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva 3-7 June 2002
Forming a Commission on preparatory works concerning the membership of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the WTO 22.08.2003
Holding the Second Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva 14.10.2004
Holding the Third Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva 30.06.2005
Holding the Fourth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva 30.03.2006
Holding the Fifth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva 06.05.2008
Holding the Sixth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva 11.12.2008
Holding the Seventh Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva 24.07.2009
Holding the Eighth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva 18.10.2010
Holding the Ninth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva 24.02.2012
Holding the Tenth Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva 07.12.2012
Holding the Eleventh Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan in Geneva 21.02.2014
The First Session: 07.06.2002. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.
With holding of the First Session of the WTO Working Group on Azerbaijan, a new phase of membership process of our Republic to the WTO started.
The First Session of the Working Group on Azerbaijan was attended by the representatives of 28 WTO members in Geneva and devoted to the discussion of the memorandum on foreign trade regime and the replies given to the questions of the WTO members. The member countries expressed their readiness to render every help to Azerbaijan in the works done in the field of membership. Provision of technical and institutional assistance to Azerbaijan by Turkey, European Union, and the United States of America were of special importance. The representatives of Canada, Australia, European Union, as well as the United States of America posed a lot of questions. Bilateral meetings were held with the representatives of 9 WTO members-Australia, the USA, Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia, the European Union, Sweden, Canada and Turkey.
The Second Session: 12-15 October 2004. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.
The documents submitted by Azerbaijan were discussed at this session. Meetings were held with the S.Panitchpakti, the Director-General of the WTO, Arif Huseyn, Head of the Accession Division of the WTO Secretariat, W.Lewalter, the Chairman of the WTO Working Group on Azerbaijan, as well as the Permanent Representatives of Turkey and Pakistan to the WTO, including the experts of WTO Secretariat.
The Third Session: 27 June 27 – 1 July 2005. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.
During this session, Mr. M. Mammad-Guliyev, the Head of the WTO Accession Negotiation Team on the membership of Azerbaijan to the WTO gave general information about the submitted documents and the overall economic situation of the country. Replies were given to the questions of the Working Group members (USA, European Union, Australia, Japan, Canada and etc).
Also, plurilateral meeting on agriculture (USA, Australia, Canada, Malaysia) and bilateral meetings with the USA, the European Union and Canada were held.
Meetings were held with the representatives of Moldova, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Bulgaria, as well as with the UNCTAD experts.
The Fourth Session: 30 March 2006. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.
During the visit, the WTO Accession Negotiation Team took part at the session of the Working Group, held meetings on agriculture and bilateral negotiations with the USA, European Union, Turkey, Chinese Taipei, Canada and Japan.
The Fifth Session: 6 May 2008. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.
During this session the relevant documents (revised offers on goods and services, about 30 drafts of legal acts prepared with the purpose of bringing national legislation into conformity with WTO requirements, ad valorem equivalence of specific duties, etc.) were presented. At the end of the meeting, decision was made on preparation of Factual Summary on Azerbaijan.
The Sixth Session: 11 December 2008. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.
The Head of the WTO Accession Negotiation Team of the Republic of Azerbaijan stated that, Azerbaijani Government attaches significance to the development of non-oil sector and diversification of economy. He has also informed the participants of the meeting about the reforms conducted in this field. It was noted that, as a landlocked developing country, Azerbaijan aims to integrate into the multilateral trading system under favourable conditions in order to ensure sustainable socio-economic development of country. Hence, revised offers on goods and services and other necessary documents were submitted to the WTO Secretariat. On the basis of the submitted documents, several bilateral meetings were held. Besides, WTO members were informed about measures on bringing the national legislation into the conformity with WTO requirements and the discussions were held on the Factual Summary prepared by WTO Secretariat. Participants of the meeting supported membership of Azerbaijan and appreciated the implemented measures and their results. Brazil, India and Paraguay declared their support on the membership of Azerbaijan to WTO as a landlocked developing country.
The Seventh Session: 24 July 2009. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. M. Mammad-Guliyev gave a speech on socio-economic development, economic diversification and development of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan. Egypt, Turkey, Paraguay, Brazil, China, Pakistan, Jordan supported Azerbaijan’s accession under favourable terms and praised steps by Azerbaijan in this direction. Although, during the plurilateral negotiation on agriculture, the USA and EU stressed their position about Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO with a status of developed country, Azerbaijani side stated that it would be inconsistent with the national and economic concerns and insisted on acceding as a developing country. During the meeting, the WTO members agreed to submit new and follow-up questions on Azerbaijan’s foreign trade regime to the WTO Secretariat.
The Eights Session: 18 October 2010. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev gave a speech on socio-economic development, economic diversification and development of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan. Participants were informed on several documents prepared and submitted to the WTO Secretariat, including justification on “developing country status”, status of legislative reforms, as well as revised offers in goods and services. Representatives of different members (Turkey, USA, EU, Canada, India, Pakistan, Norway, Japan) supported Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO under favourable terms and appreciated activities of Azerbaijan in this regard. During the meeting, the additional questions of members have been answered.
The Ninth Session: 24 February 2012. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.
The 9th Meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Azerbaijan to the WTO, bilateral and multilateral negotiations took place in Geneva on February 20-24, 2012. At the 9th meeting of the Working Party, held on 24th February, the Head of the Azerbaijani delegation and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. M. Mammad-Guliyev gave a speech on socio-economic development, economic diversification and development of non-oil sector in Azerbaijan. He said that Azerbaijan faced the challenge of high dependence on the oil and gas sector. Therefore, diversifying the economy was a priority of the Government in order to foster the socio-economic development of its regions. During the meeting, WTO members requested more information on Azerbaijan’s pricing policies, state trading enterprises, investment regime, competition policy, trading rights, tariff rate quotas, export duties and restrictions, export subsidies, agricultural policy, trade remedies, free trade zones, intellectual property, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade and government procurement. The questions were replied by the Azerbaijani representatives. Besides, bilateral meeting was held with Mr. W.Lewalter, the Chairperson of the Working Party.
The Tenth Session: 7 December 2012. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.
During the meeting, the Head of the Azerbaijani delegation and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. M. Mammad-Guliyev mentioned that Azerbaijan faces the challenge of high dependence on the oil and gas sector. Therefore, diversifying the economy is a priority of the Government to foster the social and economic development. He noted that Azerbaijan had signed a bilateral agreement with the Kyrgyz Republic and had recently concluded bilateral negotiations with China. The representatives of China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States expressed their support on Azerbaijan’s accession to the WTO. During the meeting, following trade related issues were discussed: elimination of export ban, harmonization of excise tax, elimination of export subsidies in agriculture, clarifications on fees and charges for services rendered, legislation in technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, etc. Mr. W.Lewalter, the Chairperson of the Working Party, concluded the meeting by noting that the discussions had been useful. He encouraged the delegation of Azerbaijan to continue negotiations with the WTO members in a proactive manner.
The Eleventh Session: 17-21 February, 2014. Geneva, WTO Secretariat.
The 11th meeting of Working Party on Accession of Azerbaijan to WTO, bilateral and multilateral negotiations took place in Geneva on February 17-21, 2014. On 18-21 February bilateral negotiations were conducted with the representatives of USA, EU, Japan, Canada, Norway, Korea Republic, Chinese Taipei on goods and services and with Brazil, Switzerland, Sri Lanka and Ecuador on goods. Negotiating countries requested Azerbaijan to reduce offered bound tariff rates in some agricultural and industrial goods, joining to sectoral initiatives on Paper and Civil Aviation, introduced interested high priority tariff lines. In services negotiations current applied quota on hiring of foreign specialist in mode 4 (movement of natural persons), also liberalization of energy-related, transport, construction, education services and access to oil and gas pipelines were discussed. During the following round of multilateral negotiations on Agriculture held on 20th February Azerbaijani Domestic Support Table in Agriculture representing 2010-2012 fiscal years, subsidies in agriculture sector were discussed with the representatives of different WTO Members. At the end of the meeting it was decided that Azerbaijan would submit Domestic Support Table representing 2011-2013 fiscal years to the Members. The 11th meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of Azerbaijan was held on 21 February, 2014. During the meeting the head of the Azerbaijani delegation and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev spoke about the latest bilateral market access negotiations on goods and services, legislative developments, the latest documents submitted to WTO Secretariat (Legislative Action Plan, TBT and SPS Checklists, General Offers on Goods and Services) and reaffirmed Azerbaijani commitment to bring its trade regime into conformity with WTO rules. Representatives from the United States, China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland, Turkey, Tajikistan, South Korea, Canada and others expressed their support for Azerbaijan’s early accession to WTO. During the meeting, WTO members revised Azerbaijan’s trade regime on the basis of the Draft Working Party Report and asked some clarifications on following trade related issues: tax exemptions, investment incentives, operation of foreign-owned enterprises, privatizations, technical barriers to trade, subsidies, transit and intellectual property, etc. The Chairperson of the Working Party, Mr. Walter Lewalter concluded the meeting by saying that discussions had been useful. Next steps will be submitting of questions by WTO Members to Azerbaijani side.
Mr. Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister visited Geneva on 30 June – 4 July 2014 and during his visit met with the WTO Director-General, his deputy, as well as Mr. Ralf Peters, the UNCTAD expert. Moreover, in the framework of the WTO accession process, bilateral meetings were held with China, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Canada, Malaysia, Honduras, USA, Norway, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
The Republic of Azerbaijan and World Intellectual Property Organization
The Republic of Azerbaijan has joined to the WIPO in 1995. Currently, Azerbaijan is a party to the following WIPO-administered treaties:
• Berne Convention
• Budapest Treaty
• Hague Agreement
• Locarno Agreement
• Madrid Agreement (Marks)
• Madrid Protocol
• Nairobi Treaty
• Nice Agreement
• Paris Convention
• Patent Cooperation Treaty
• Phonograms Convention
• Rome Convention
• Strasbourg Agreement
• UPOV Convention
• WIPO Convention
• WIPO Copyright Treaty
• WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
The Director General of the WIPO, Dr. Kamil Idris, met with Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of Republic Azerbaijan on March 3, 2006 to discuss a number of bilateral issues and the importance of intellectual property as a strategic tool for development and wealth creation.
The meeting took place following talks with the Cabinet of Ministers and the signing of a cooperation program between WIPO and the Government of Azerbaijan. Dr. Idris was also awarded an honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Azerbaijan during his official visit to Baku.
Dr. Idris pledged WIPO's continued support of Azerbaijan in upgrading and modernizing its intellectual property infrastructure and applauded Azerbaijan's commitment to the promotion and protection of intellectual property rights. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of Republic Azerbaijan highlighted the significance of the cooperation program which he said is a very important step forward in light of his country's shift towards a market economy. Dr. Idris said the program will be implemented in a way that "serves the interests of the country, its people and government."
During talks with the President, particular emphasis was placed on the development of human resources in Azerbaijan to ensure that the country was in a position to fully harness the value to be derived from efficient use of the intellectual property system. The importance of raising public awareness about the importance of intellectual property to development was also underlined.
The Director-General also met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov, and with Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, who was awarded the WIPO Creativity Award for her contribution to the preservation and development of the national cultural heritage of Azerbaijan.
Dr. Idris also met with scientists and artists to discuss the importance of promoting awareness of intellectual property and its potential as a tool for development.
Every year, the high level delegation of Azerbaijan participates at the meetings of the WIPO General Assemblies, meet with the Director-General of the WIPO and the Director of the Department for Transition and Developed Countries.
Moreover, the government representatives periodically attend the sessions of the various WIPO Committees, as well as the courses and trainings organized by the WIPO academy.
Under the patronage of the WIPO Academy, Azerbaijani representatives received their master’s degree on intellectual property at the Turin University of Italy.
Azerbaijan has been a regional coordinator within the WIPO during 2010-2011.
Enforcement Centre on Intellectual Property Rights was established under the Copyright Agency became a member of the WIPO Global Network of Intellectual Property Academies.
WIPO Depository Library was created at the Azerbaijan State Economic University in 2012.
With the support of the WIPO, several international national events have been organized in Azerbaijan. A number of WIPO experts visited Azerbaijan to attend the very events.
The meeting was held, on 13 January 2014, between the Ambassador, Permanent Representative M.Najafbayli and F.Gurry, the Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
F.Gurry has noted that, during the recent years under his leadership, a number of developments have occurred within the WIPO, 2 new multilateral treaties have been adopted, global intellectual property system has been strengthened, intellectual property services have been broadened, the soundness of the financial resources of the WIPO has been ensured, productivity and efficiency have been increased, very good information technology system has been created in order to connect all countries.
F.Gurry has also mentioned that, there are close cooperation ties between the WIPO and Azerbaijan. He has noted that, Azerbaijan develops quite fast, therefore linking intellectual property and economic development goals can positively contribute to the sustainable development and the development of the knowledge economy in Azerbaijan.
Ambassador, Permanent Representative M.Najafbayli has noted the recent developments in the field of intellectual property in Azerbaijan, as well as the role of the intellectual property in the economy of Azerbaijan. Moreover, Ambassador, Permanent Representative M.Najafbayli highlighted that the current level of relations between Azerbaijan and the WIPO is high. Ambassador, Permanent Representative M.Najafbayli has also informed about the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan.
H.E. Dr. Francis Gurry, the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) paid a visit to Azerbaijan on 13-15 May 2014. H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan has received WIPO Director General.
WIPO Director General noted with pleasure that Baku was a beautiful city. President Ilham Aliyev noted that Baku had been developing day after day, and had become the venue of political, economic and other prestigious international events. Also, views were exchanged, during the very meeting, over the expansion of the cooperation between relevant organizations in Azerbaijan and the WIPO.
In the framework of the visit, F.Gurry held also meetings at the Cabinet of Ministers and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As a result of the visit, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and WIPO.
F.Gurry has visited the Public Administration Academy under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and received the diploma of the honorary doctor.
The report entitled “Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014: The Human Factor in Innovation” (http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/freepublications/en/economics/gii/gii_2014.pdf) has been published by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The GII ranks the innovation performance of 143 countries and economies around the world based on 81 indicators. The GII ranks world economies based on the following indicators: institutions; human capital and research; infrastructure; market sophistication; business sophistication; knowledge and technology outputs; creative outputs.
Azerbaijan was highly ranked on the following indicators: ease of starting a business (13), market sophistication (26), micro-financing gross loans (15), investment (10), ease of protecting investors (21), non-agricultural market access weighted tariff (9), foreign direct investment net outflow (8), information-communication technologies and organization model creation (23).
The core of the GII Report consists of a ranking of world economies’ innovation capabilities and results. The GII has established itself as a leading reference among innovation indices.
The Republic of Azerbaijan and UN Conference on Trade and Development
H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan received UNCTAD Secretary General Supachai Panitchpakdi on 20 July 2010. S.Panitchpakdi thanked H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the conditions created for the 19th regional courses on Europe and the CIS, organized by the UNCTAD and Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy in Baku. He praised cooperation between Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy and UNCTAD. The guest also congratulated H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the achievements, which allowed Azerbaijan to become the region`s leader at a time when importance of the region was on the rise. H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan noted the importance of organizing the XIX regional courses on Europe and the CIS in Baku. H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan expressed hope that the event would host interesting discussions and yield fruitful results.
Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan met with S.Panitchpakdi on 20 July 2010. UNCTAD`s chief said that he arrived in Baku to attend the 19th regional course on key issues on the international economic agenda organized by the UNCTAD and Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Panitchpakdi said he was impressed of dynamic development in Azerbaijan, praising the progress in the non-oil sector of the country. Minister Elmar Mammadyarov stated that the Government had been doing great efforts to develop the non-oil sector. Minister Elmar Mammadyarov raised the UNCTAD chief`s awareness of the peace talks over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, saying the problem must only be solved in accordance with international legal norms and principles, in particular territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Other issues of mutual interest were also discussed during the very meeting.
The Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy and the UNCTAD organized a joint 2-week course entitled "key issues of the world economy for countries with transition economies" in July 2010 in Baku. In his opening speech, the Rector of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, Mr. Hafiz Pashayev, touched upon vital issues related to developments facing Azerbaijan. The Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister spoke about the strong performance of the country’s economy: “It is worth underlining the serious efforts taken by the government of Azerbaijan to reduce poverty in the country. More than 700 000 new jobs have been created and special development programs have been successfully applied regarding socio-economic development of regions in Azerbaijan. As a result, Azerbaijan has become the locomotive of whole Caucasus region. Talking about the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, Ambassador Pashayev said that it is a relatively new school which has embraced contemporary and state-of-the-art knowledge about international relations and diplomacy. Ambassador Pashayev noted that the number of students at the school will increase substantially, taking into account that the number of Azerbaijani embassies abroad more than doubled during last 5 years. Ambassador Pashayev also reminded the audience that ADA’s new campus will be powered largely by clean energy and is a part of the government’s broader policy toward investing in renewable energy.
S.Panitchpakdi welcomed the participants emphasizing the importance of emerging and developing countries like Azerbaijan in overcoming the difficulties of the most recent world economic crisis. He noticed Azerbaijan’s strong economic records during the turbulences of the world economy: “Azerbaijan has generally avoided steep exchange-rate depreciations, systemic banking crises and rapidly rising rates of inflation that were among the key characteristics of previous crises in emerging markets”. The UNCTAD Secretary General praised Azerbaijan government policy toward investing in infrastructure, health care and medicine, and education. S.Panitchpakdi noted Azerbaijan’s role in bringing prosperity to the Caucasus and called country’s economy a “stability factor” for a whole region. The conference was attended by representatives of over 10 countries and will last until 6 August 2010.
During 2008-2013, Azerbaijan financially contributed to the UNCTAD Trust Fund. UNCTAD Secretary General sent a letter to the Mission of Azerbaijan and highly appreciated the very contribution.
With the support of the UNCTAD Division on International Trade and Commodities, the members of the WTO Accession Negotiation Team of Azerbaijan visited Geneva in order to discuss several issues regarding the accession process.
With the support of the UNCTAD Secretariat, a number of Azerbaijani representatives attended expert meetings, public symposium and courses organized by the UNCTAD.
Azerbaijan State Economic University became the member of the UNCTAD Virtual Institute in 2011.
In 2010-2011, Azerbaijan was elected as the vice-president of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board. Since 2011, Azerbaijan is the member of the UNCTAD Advisory Board for the paragraph 166 program.
The representatives of Azerbaijan have delivered, several times, speeches, during the UNCTAD meetings, on the achievements made to ensure socio-economic development, diversification of economy and development of the non-oil sector in Azerbaijan.
The Republic of Azerbaijan and International Telecommunication Union
The main international organization that the Republic of Azerbaijan cooperates in the telecommunication area is the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that is a specialized agency of UN for the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) issues.
ITU was founded on 17 May 1865 as the International Telegraph Union. The primary task of ITU is to establish links of communication among people all over the world regardless of their place of habitance. Through its work ITU protects and supports each everyone’s right to communicate. ITU owns the unique feature within the specialized agencies system of UN, thus, ITU has the members both from public and private sectors. Besides 193 member-states, academic institutions, regulators, and approximately 700 private companies are the members of ITU as well. The headquarters of ITU is located in Geneva, Switzerland. ITU has 12 regional and field offices worldwide.
ITU that is established on the basis of international cooperation principle among governments (member-states) and private sector (sector members, associations and academies) is the global forum where the comprehensive issues of ICT are discussed and solved by consensus.
The Republic of Azerbaijan became a member of ITU on 10 April, 1992. The Republic of Azerbaijan has close mutual relations with ITU. The relevant delegations of the Republic of Azerbaijan participate in the meetings held within the framework of ITU during the year. At the same time, the representatives of ITU had official visits to the Republic of Azerbaijan during the various years.
On the exhibition and forum “ITU Telecom World” held in Geneva on 5-9 October 2009, there were participated huge delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan that included representatives of appropriate government bodies and ICT companies. The projects, services as well as the information on the solutions of the problems related to ICT had been demonstrated on the Azerbaijan pavilion.
At the annual forum of the World Summit on the Information Society held on 16-20 May, 2011, the Republic of Azerbaijan was represented with the Delegation headed by the Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technologies. There were participated overall 1150 participants including Information and Communication Technologies' Ministers, deputy ministers, Ambassadors, the head of well-known telecommunication companies representing 140 countries of the world. More than 100 individual sessions on 12 various topics and 6 parallel directions, as well as 5 high-level segments and dialogue meetings, 17 interactive meetings, 25 thematic seminars, 6 country presentations, exhibitions, open consultations, meetings on knowledge exchange and other events were organized. Within the framework of the high level segment of the forum, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan delivered a speech as a panelist, and informed the participants about the works and implemented projects in Azerbaijan. At the meeting of Broadband Commission organized within the Forum, the Permanent Mission informed the participants about the works on the communication and information technologies sphere done in Azerbaijan.
On 24-27 October 2011, the “ITU Telecom World 2011” worldwide telecommunication exhibition-conference was held. The Azerbaijani delegation headed by Mr. A.Abbasov, the Minister of Communications and Information Technologies, including 65 member delegation from the companies operating on the communication technology areas, as well as a number of state bodies including the professionals on this area attended the conference. The exhibition dedicated to the global telecommunication and information technologies was held within the framework of “ITU Telecom World 2011”. Azerbaijan was represented with a separate national pavilion at the exhibition. Besides, as a media sponsor of “ITU Telecom World 2011” Azerbaijani side has organized the press conference.
The 4th meeting of the Commission on the Development of Broadband and the Summit of Leaders was held on 24 October, 2011. During the panel discussions Mr. A.Abbasov, the Minister of Communications and Information Technologies, as a commissioner delivered a speech on the reforms realized on ICT sector, and informed the participants about the regional primary projects, especially TASIM (Trans-Eurasia Super Information Magisterial) project, launch of the first artificial satellite into orbit, and about other regional and essential global projects.
Mr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of ITU during his management at the organization had repeatedly visited Azerbaijan. This is one of the main indicators that show the high level of our cooperation with the ITU. During his visits Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan has received Mr. H. Touré and had discussions about the current situation, development trends and international cooperation perspectives of ICT in our country. This was the indication of interest in establishing high level ties with ITU.
Mr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of ITU with the purpose of participating in Bakutel International Telecommunication exhibition-conference had a visit to Baku on 22-26 November 2011. During his visit Mr. H.Touré met with Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Mr. A. Abbasov, the Minister of Communications and Information Technologies, had a comprehensive discussions about the mutual relations of the country with ITU.
As a result of high level cooperation with ITU, there was a next official visit of Mr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of ITU to Azerbaijan on 4-7 November, 2012. During the visit Mr. H.Touré participated in 47th session of Regional Union Council on Communication sector and 18th session of CIS member-states Coordination Council on Informatization, as well as 18th Azerbaijan International BakuTel-2012 Exhibition and Internet Governance Forum held in Baku. Within the visit Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan has received Mr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of ITU on November 6. During the meeting Mr. H. Touré mentioned that since 2003 he is visiting Azerbaijan and every time witnessing the essential development in the country. By reminding President Ilham Aliyev’s participation in Geneva summit of ITU, Mr. H. Touré emphasized that the words of the President Ilham Aliyev “black gold will be transferred to human capital” had already became a reality today. At the same time, Mr. H. Touré noted that VII Internet Governance Forum was organized at the high level and stressed the importance of expanding the cooperation between the country and the organization. Mr. Ilham Aliyev noted the great successes in non-oil sector, as well as in the information and communication technologies sectors within last 9 years. The President noticed also the importance of organizing VII Internet Governance Forum in Baku and valued it as an indicator of provided value by ITU to the works done in this sector in the country.
Taking into account that the Decree signed by Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan declared the year of 2013 as “the Year of Information and Communications Technologies in Azerbaijan”, the cooperation with ITU was defined as one of the priorities for the Permanent Mission.
As a result of high level cooperation with ITU, the next official visit of Mr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of ITU to Azerbaijan was on 1-3 December, 2013. During the visit Mr. H. Touré together with Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan participated in the “BakuTel-2013” Azerbaijan International Telecommunication exhibition-conference. Besides, Mr. H. Touré addressed a letter to Mr. Ilham Aliyev expressing his gratitude for the contributions made to the “ITU Telecom-2013” event.
The World Summit on Information Society Forum was held on 13-17 May 2013 in Geneva. With the initiative of Azerbaijani side the thematic workshop on “TASIM/EuraCA: New Platforms for Improving Connectivity in Eurasia” was held within the Summit. During the Workshop the Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan delivered a speech and informed Mr. H. Touré and other participants about the Trans Eurasian Super Information Highway (TASIM) project.
The next sessions of the ITU Council were held on 11-21 June 2013 and 6-15 May 2014 in Geneva. On 1-26 July 2013 within the substantive session of ECOSOC the annual ministerial meeting on the “Promotion of sustainable development and science, technology and innovation, culture potential” was held. Moreover, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)+10 High-Level Event was held in the ITU Headquarters, Geneva from 10-13 June 2014. The event reviewed the WSIS Outcomes (2003 and 2005) and endorsed two Outcome Documents, the WSIS+10 Statement on Implementation of WSIS Outcomes and the WSIS+10 Vision for WSIS Beyond 2015.
The main event in the history of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the telecommunication sphere was occurred in 2013. Thus, Azerbaijan’s first telecommunication satellite “Azerspace-1” was launched into orbit from Kourou, in South America, the Space Center of French Guiana on February 7, 2013 at local time 18:36 (on February 8, 2013 at 1:36 a.m. Baku time). Azerspace-1 which is equipped with 36 active transponders and weighing around 3,200 kg will be placed in the geostationary orbit at 46 degrees East longitude, and will provide high quality broadcasting services to Europe, Africa, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. The satellite has an anticipated service life of 15 years. It will provide TV broadcasting and telecommunication services, as well as high-quality and stable communication platforms for government and corporate clients.
Advantages of “Azerspace-1”:
• Diversification of economy and development of new industrial areas;
• Elimination of dependence of data exchange from foreign countries and ensuring information security;
• Development of human resources and intellectual potential in new economic sectors, implementation of latest knowledge-intensive projects;
• Formation of an innovation-oriented economy;
• Enhancing regional and international prestige of Azerbaijan;
• Turning Azerbaijan into a regional center for ICT;
• Providing telecommunication needs of the economy and development of telecommunications infrastructure;
• Providing broadcasting and communications services, availability of reliable communication platforms meeting requirements of government and corporate clients;
• Providing hard-to-reach areas of the country with Internet connection, e-services, education, health and other services;
• Protection of the country from possible information blockade and strengthening the information positions of Azerbaijan;
• Direction of financial flows for satellite communications services to the economy of Azerbaijan and sale of satellite capacity abroad.
• The importance of satellite communications. (Satellite communication is of paramount importance, as the only alternative to the existing infrastructure, including for high-quality and relatively cheap communication the countries with mountainous terrain, including and Azerbaijan);
• Operation of the satellite will push the ensuring of the high-speed Internet throughout the country;
• As a result of the launch of satellite, there may be reduction in tariffs for telecommunication services due to the reduced costs;
• The satellite will promote to ensure more quality digital TV broadcasting, and organization of broadcasting in high definition (HD) format;
• Covering even out-settlements, the satellite will be an important infrastructure for the establishment of a modern communication and management system ensuring the relationship between the state and citizens, and better organization of the “electronic government”;
• The satellite communication will provide additional support for the organization of distance education and e-health services;
• The satellite will help in eliminating the consequences of natural disasters in the country in complex terrain and efficient management of emergency situations.
Some key indicators that reflect the level of development in communication and information technologies in the Republic of Azerbaijan are as follows:
• According to the “ICT development index” on the traditional journal “Measuring the Information Society 2012” of ITU that was published on 11 October, 2012 Azerbaijan has risen to 68th place among the 155 countries, and according to “ICT Price Basket value” Azerbaijan moved to 52nd place among of 161 countries.
• As reported by the internet index base of “ICT data and statistics” of ITU Azerbaijan leads in the region for the last years. According to the statics of 2012, 67% of population of the Republic of Azerbaijan connected to the internet, 30% are broadband subscribers.
• According to the “network readiness index” as reported in the “Global Information Technologies Report 2013” of World Economic Forum, the Republic of Azerbaijan has risen to the 56th place among the 144 countries by moving 5 places up.
• According to the “Global competitiveness index” of the “Global Competitiveness 2013-2014” report of the World Economic Forum Azerbaijan was ranked 39th place among the 148 countries by moving 7 places up.
The Republic of Azerbaijan and World Health Organization
The main international organization that the Republic of Azerbaijan cooperates in the health sphere is the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO was established on 7 April, 1948. WHO is the coordinating authority on international health issues within the United Nations’ system. WHO experts prepare health guidelines and standards, and help countries to address public health issues. WHO also supports and promotes health research.
WHO has 194 member-states. The main bodies of the Organization are the World Health Assembly, Executive Board and Secretariat. The Organization is headed by the Director-General, who has been appointed by the Assembly nominated by Executive Board. Currently, the Director-General of WHO is Margaret Chan (since 2006) representing the People’s Republic of China. The Headquarters of WHO is located at Geneva.
WHO cooperates with member-states through its regional offices. Organization has 6 regional offices:
• Regional office for Africa – headquarters is in Brazzaville (Congo);
• Regional office for Europe – headquarters is in Copenhagen (Denmark);
• Regional office for South-Eastern Asia – headquarters is in New Dehli (India);
• Regional office for Americas – headquarters is in Washington (USA);
• Regional office for Eastern Mediterranean region – headquarters is in Cairo (Egypt);
• Regional office for Western Pacific Region – headquarters is in Manila (Philippines).
The Republic of Azerbaijan became a member of WHO on October 2, 1992. The Republic of Azerbaijan cooperates with WHO through the Organization’s Headquarters and Regional office for Europe. At the same time, there is an office of WHO in our country.
The Republic of Azerbaijan has very close mutual relations with WHO. So, the relevant delegations of the Republic of Azerbaijan are participating at the sessions of the World Health Assembly, Executive Board and Regional Office for Europe, as well as at the other meetings within WHO during the year. Moreover, the representatives of WHO have visited Azerbaijan in different years.
During the years 2000 and 2004 Mr. Marc Danson, Director of the European Regional Office has visited Azerbaijan.
On May 16-25, 2005, during the 58th World Health Assembly held on 16-25 May, 2005, the Republic of Azerbaijan was elected to the Executive Board of the Organization from European countries for the period of 2005-2008. 32 states from 192 WHO member-states were elected to the Executive Board.
On 25-26 April 2006, the Director-General of WHO Dr. Lee Jong-wook has made an official visit to the Republic of Azerbaijan. Dr. Lee Jong-wook was received by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and participated at the meetings held in the Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of Health, as well as Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The visit was mainly focused on the issues such as fighting against avian influenza and tuberculosis, increasing the role of persons with hearing disabilities in the society, the cooperation with WHO, prevention starvation and poverty, as well as reforms in health sector.
The Delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan headed by Mr. O.Shiraliyev, Minister of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan has participated at the 119th session of WHO Executive Board held on 6-8 November 2006 in Geneva and at the First Extraordinary meeting of World Health Assembly on 9 November 2006 in Geneva. As a result of the meetings representative of the People’s Republic of China Dr. Margaret Chan was elected as the Director-General of WHO.
On January 30 and February 1 of 2008 Dr. Margaret Chan has made a visit to the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The 61st session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe held on 12-15 September 2011 in Baku with participation of more than 50 health ministers of the countries of European region is an important pattern of co-operation of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the WHO. During the meeting discussions were conducted about the several global health challenges, the new European health policy document “Health 2020” was adopted, as well as the discussions were conducted and a number of decisions were taken about the strategy documents on strategic directions of health in XXI century, the social impact of health at the global level, the strengthening of health system in WHO European region, and strategy document on fighting against non-communicable deceases. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev attended the meeting.
The 3rd meeting of European Environment and Health Ministerial Board with the co-organization of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan and WHO was held on 16 November 2012 in Baku. The Director of WHO Regional Office for Europe Ms. Zsuzsanna Jakab and Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources delivered a speech at the meeting. Furthermore, during the meeting Mrs. Leyla Aliyeva, Vice-President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation informed the guests about the project “IDEA” (“International Dialogue for Environmental Action”) initiated by her in 2011.
The 66th session of World Health Assembly and the 133rd session of Executive Board were held on 20-28 May 2013 and 29-30 May 2013 respectively. The Azerbaijani side has been represented at the above-mentioned meetings with the Delegation headed by Mr. O.Shiraliyev, Minister of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan. During the meeting of Executive Board Mr. O.Shiraliyev has been elected as the Vice-Chair of the Board.
The 134th and 135th sessions of Executive Board and 67th session of World Health Assembly were held on 20-25 January 2014, 26-27 May 2014 and 19-24 May 2014 respectively. The Azerbaijani side has been represented at the above-mentioned meetings with the Delegation headed by Mr. O.Shiraliyev, Minister of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
At the World Health Assembly and WHO Executive Board sessions our country is constantly represented at the high level - with the Delegation headed by the Minister of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Within the framework of those sessions, along with multilateral negotiations Azerbaijan Delegation holds bilateral meetings with the heads of health authorities of different states, with Ms.M.Chan, the Director-General of WHO, Ms. Zsuzsanna Jakab, the Director of WHO Regional Office for Europe, as well as with a number of officials of WHO. The broadening of cooperation in the field of health, improvement of health system, financing of health and health related issues are being discussed during these bilateral meetings.
The constantly election of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the WHO bodies is one of the main indicators that shows the high level of our cooperation with the WHO. Thus, during 59th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe held on 14-17 September 2009, in Copenhagen the Republic of Azerbaijan has been elected to the Standing Committee for 3 years term (2009-2012). During the 58th session of the World Health Assembly held on 16-25 May 2005, in Geneva, Azerbaijan has been elected to the Executive Board of WHO for the years of 2005-2008. Furthermore, Azerbaijan has been elected to the Executive Board of WHO for the years of 2012-2015. As it is previously mentioned, during the meeting of Executive Board Mr. O.Shiraliyev, Minister of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been elected as the Vice-Chair of the Board.
At the same time, as one of the priority areas of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations at Geneva, there were established close mutual relations with different departments of WHO in the direction of cooperation with WHO. Besides, the active participation at the sessions of the WHO Assembly, Executive Board and Regional Office for Europe, as well as at the other meetings of WHO during the year is ensured. Moreover, besides the coordination the mutual relations with the WHO, a number of meetings are being held with the officials of WHO.
A two year Cooperation Agreement (2012-2013) signed by the Minister of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Director of WHO Regional Office for Europe defined following directions as the priority areas for the years of 2012-2013: strengthening health system and public health; non-communicable diseases; promotion of health and healthy life; communicable diseases; health security and environment; health information, health research and innovation.
At the same time, a number of projects on the improvement of health system, public health, prevention of maternal and infant mortality, and on the other health related issues has been implemented and continue to be implemented by WHO in Azerbaijan. They are the followings:
1. DOTs (Directly Observed Treatment-short course) project – The project considers implementation of short-term medical courses of tuberculosis under the direct control of doctor. Within the framework of this project, T.B. prophylactic centers in Baku, Nakhchivan, Lankaran, Khachmaz, Ganja, Sumgait, Sabirabad, Sheki and Mingachevir receives humanitarian assistance as medicaments against tuberculosis, roentgen apparatuses, microscopes and other equipment. A number of NGOs also has joined to this project;
2. MECACAR – the program on elimination of poliomyelitis. This wide-range program has been implementing in Azerbaijan since 1995. UNICEF has also joined this program;
3. CARAK – the program on mothers’ and children's protection;
4. The program on diphtheria observation – within the framework of this program the training courses for medical staff of different districts of Azerbaijan is being carried out;
5. The program on family planning – Ganja and Sumgait were chosen for implementing of this program;
6. The program on mental disease - within the framework of this program, different kinds of medicaments are brought as humanitarian assistance to our country. The Ministry of Health gives these assistance materials to Guba and other districts which were chosen as pilot districts;
7. South Caucasus Health Information Project - the project aims to help the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan to reconstruct and develop its own Health Information System.
The Republic of Azerbaijan and International Labour Organization
The main international body that the Republic of Azerbaijan cooperates in the labour sphere is the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The ILO was established in 1919, as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I. The main objective of the establishment was to reflect the belief that universal and lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice. The Constitution was drafted between January and April, 1919, by the Labour Commission set up by the Peace Conference, which first met in Paris and then in Versailles. In 1946, the ILO became a specialized agency of the newly formed United Nations. The ILO has 185 member-states. Since October 1st 2012 the Director-General of the ILO is G.Ryder from Great Britain.
The ILO is the international organization responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards. It is the only 'tripartite' United Nations agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies and programmes promoting “Decent work for all”. This unique arrangement gives the ILO an edge in incorporating 'real world' knowledge about employment and work.
The ILO accomplishes its work through three main bodies (The International Labour Conference, the Governing body and the Office (carrying out the functions of Secretariat)) which comprise governments', employers' and workers' representatives. Besides, there are ILO Regional Offices for Africa, for Latin Americas and the Caribbean, for Arab States, for Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is a full member of ILO since May 1992.
During the past period there was established active cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and ILO that were accompanied with the factors as labour, labour relations, employment, safety and protection of employment, expansion of the cooperation in the area of improvement the legislation. The delegations of the relevant governmental bodies of the Republic of Azerbaijan are participating in the meetings within the framework of the ILO as well as in the meetings, seminars, trainings, conferences, and other events related to labour, employment, safety and protection of labour, social protection of population that is held in various countries during the year. At the same time, there were official visits of ILO representatives to the Republic of Azerbaijan in different years.
As a result of effective cooperation of Republic of Azerbaijan with ILO, the local office of ILO was opened in Azerbaijan in 2002. Azerbaijan became a party to more than 50 Conventions of ILO during the past period, and as a result the national labour legislation has been adapted to the most progressive international standards. The labour legislation is being improved constantly. The Government reports prepared about the implementation of ILO Conventions in the country are presented on a regular basis to the ILO headquarters located in Geneva. This cooperation contributes to the implementation of joint projects in labour, employment, labour migration, and social protection, rehabilitation of persons with disabilities and other sectors and to the development of those areas in the country.
A number of international events were held in the Republic of Azerbaijan as a result of close cooperation with the ILO. Due to the presidency to the Regional Alliance of Labour Inspections, the 3rd Conference of the Regional Alliance of Labour Inspections was held on 18-19 November 2010 in Baku. The Conference was organized with the support of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the International Association of Labour Inspections, ILO and World Bank. The issues such as secure and safe work conditions, the protection of labour rights of workers’, the implementation of legislation and international standards, and increasing the activity of social partners’ were discussed during the Conference that lasted two days.
The International Conference “The management system of labour security and health: sustainable improvement methods” dedicated to the World Labour Protection Day was held with the support of ILO and World Bank “Project of the development of social protection” on 26 April 2011 in Baku. The presentations regarding the establishment of State Labour Inspection Service, the effective cooperation with the EU member-states on the specific components of the World Bank project with a view to improve labour inspection in Azerbaijan, as well as launching of Twining project aimed at strengthening of labour safety were demonstrated in the Conference.
The 101st session of the International Labour Conference was held on 30 May-14 June 2012, in Geneva. The Republic of Azerbaijan was represented in the session with the tripartite delegation headed by the Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population. The delegation included the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan to United Nations Office and other International Organizations at Geneva, the President of the National Confederation of Employer’s Organizations, the Head of Trade-Unions Confederations and other state officials as well. During the Conference the Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Azerbaijan held meetings with Mr.G.Ryder, the newly appointed Director-General of ILO, and with Mr.K.Fannizadeh, Director of the Programme for the Promotion of the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
The next session of the International Labour Conference was held on 5-20 June 2013, in Geneva. The Republic of Azerbaijan was represented in the session with the tripartite delegation headed by the Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population. The delegation included the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan to United Nations Office and other International Organizations at Geneva, the President of the National Confederation of Employer’s Organizations, the Head of Trade-Unions Confederations and other state officials as well. During the Conference the Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population delivered a comprehensive speech on the activities done in the spheres of labour and social protection of population in Azerbaijan.
Moreover, during the year 2013 the following important meetings were held within ILO and the delegations of Azerbaijan were attended respectively: 9th European Regional Meeting – 8-11 April Oslo; Global Dialogue Forum aimed at promoting ILO Convention №188 – 15-17 May 2013; Workshop on the national implementation of Maritime Labour Convention – 17-21 June 2013, Turin; 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians – 2-11 October 2013; III Global Conference on Child Labour – 8-10 October 2013, Recife; Meeting of Experts on Policy Guidelines on the Promotion of Decent Work for Early Childhood Education Personnel – 12-15 November 2013 and Global Dialogue Forum on Initiatives to Promote Decent and Productive Work in the Chemical Industry – 26-28 November 2013.
103rd session of the International Labour Conference was held on 28 May - 12 June 2014, in Geneva. The Republic of Azerbaijan was represented in the session with the tripartite delegation headed by the Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population. The delegation included the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan to United Nations Office and other International Organizations at Geneva, the President of the National Confederation of Employer’s Organizations, the Head of Trade-Unions Confederations and other state officials as well. During the Conference the Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population delivered a comprehensive speech on the activities done in the spheres of labour and social protection of population in Azerbaijan.
The Republic of Azerbaijan and the World Meteorological Organization
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) was originated from the International Meteorological Organization which was founded in 1873. Established in 1950, WMO became the specialized agency of the United Nations in 1951 for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. WMO is the UN system's authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.
WMO has 185 Member-States. The structure of the Organization is consisting of the Congress (supreme body), the Executive Council and the Secretariat, as well as 6 regional associations and 8 technical commissions. Besides, the Organization has its president, 3 vice-presidents and the Secretary-General. Currently, the President of WMO (since 2011) is Mr. David Grimes from Canada, and the Secretary-General (since 2011) is Mr. Michel Jarraud from France. The headquarters of WMO is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Republic of Azerbaijan became a member of WMO on 27 December, 1993. The Republic of Azerbaijan cooperates with WMO through the Headquarters and its Regional Association for Europe.
The Republic of Azerbaijan has close mutual relations with WMO. So, the relevant delegations of the Republic of Azerbaijan are participating at the sessions of the World Meteorological Congress, the Executive Council and the Regional Association for Europe, as well as at the other meetings of WMO during the year. Moreover, the representatives of WMO have visited Azerbaijan in different years.
On 30 June 2003, Mr. Heydar Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan has signed an Order on the ensuring of the realization of cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the World Meteorological Organization. By this Order the realization of cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and WMO has been intrusted to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The relevant governmental delegations of the Republic of Azerbaijan have participated in the below-mentioned meetings held within the WMO during 2013-2014:
A High Level Meeting on National Drought Policy organized by WMO in collaboration with the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (11-15 March 2013, Geneva);
65th Session of WMO Executive Council held on 15-23 May 2013, in Geneva;
1st Session of the International Board on Climate Services held on 1-5 July 2013, in Geneva;
16th Session of the Commission for Atmosphere Sciences held on 20-26 November 2013, in Antalya.
15th Session of the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology (CAeM) of the WMO in conjunction with the ICAO Meteorology Divisional Meeting held on 15-16 July 2014, in Montreal.
Azerbaijan and International Organization for Migration (IOM)
The main partner of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the field of multilateral migration cooperation is the International Organization for Migration (IOM). IOM is an international inter-governmental organization founded in 1951 and its headquarters is located in Geneva, Switzerland. Today, IOM consists of 156 member states and 11 observer states.
The Cooperation Agreement signed on 8 December 1999 in Baku between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and IOM has made great contribution to relations between the organization and the country. In October 2000, IOM Director General Brunson McKinley has paid an official visit to Azerbaijan for the first time and met with President Haydar Aliyev. In December of the same year, the Republic of Azerbaijan acceded to the constitutive act of IOM – IOM Constitution (1953) and as a result of the cooperation, Azerbaijan became a member state of IOM in June 2001.
A variety of assistance and technical projects have been implemented in the field of migration since the establishment of IOM office in Baku in 1996. These projects included awareness-raising, legislation development, border management, return and reintegration, fight against human trafficking etc. In addition to the IOM office in Baku, the IOM's second office has been opened in Nakhchivan in 1998 and IOM's third office has been opened in Mingachevir in 2006.
The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev received IOM Director General Brunson McKinley on June 20, 2006. At the meeting, Director General emphasized the ongoing economic development of Azerbaijan and recalling his meeting with Heydar Aliyev during his previous visit to the country he stressed H.Aliyev’s special attention paid to the migration issues. In his turn, President Ilham Aliyev pointed out the successful development of relations of Azerbaijan with the international organizations, including IOM.
Currently, a number of projects are being implemented in Azerbaijan together with IOM, including “Solidifying Awareness on Trafficking in Persons through Education – Phase III”, “Enhancing Cooperation Measures to Effectively Combat Trafficking in Persons through Capacity Building and Technical Assistance in Azerbaijan – Phase III”, “Establishing Effective Mechanisms Safeguarding the Rights of Persons Involved in Migration in Azerbaijan”, “Migration and Higher Education: Developing Skills and Capacity (UNIMIG)”, “Kahriz Rehabilitation Project” and “Supporting the Establishment of Effective Readmission Management”.
Azerbaijan closely cooperates with IOM and regularly attends the meetings of IOM governing bodies in Geneva.
On July 4, 2014, within the framework of his working visit to Geneva, M. Mammad-Guliyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, met with W.L. Swing, IOM Director General. During the meeting, bilateral cooperation issues were discussed and IOM Director General was invited to visit Azerbaijan.