The Republic of Azerbaijan assumed for the first time since becoming a member of the Council of Europe in 2001 the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers on 14 May 2014 for a period of six months. On November 13, 2014 the chairmanship was handed over to Belgium by Azerbaijan.
During its chairmanship, Azerbaijan deployed considerable efforts in furthering the objectives of the Council of Europe around its key pillars - human rights, rule of law and democracy and has worked together with the member states of the Council of Europe and its different institutions in an atmosphere of mutual understanding.
H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe at its summer session on June 24, 2014. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov, in his capacity as a Chairman of the Committee of Ministers presented to the Parliamentary Assembly his oral and written communications on the activities of the Committee of Ministers at the June and October sessions.
The priorities of the Azerbaijani chairmanship were identified taking full account of the topical issues on the agenda of the Council of Europe and persistent challenges encountered by member States as well as Azerbaijan’s positive record and comparative advantages in some key areas. In order to support these priorities Azerbaijan hosted 18 important international events.
Combating corruption constituted one of the Chairmanship priority tasks of Azerbaijan. Under this particular chairmanship priority, a Conference on international standards and national experiences in the fight against corruption organized in Baku on 30 June – 1 July 2014, in cooperation with GRECO and the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) hugely contributed the efforts of the organization in this field.
Within its chairmanship the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions which is the striking aspect of the corruption phenomenon was also focused on. The adoption on 9 July of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions by the Committee of Ministers and its signing by 15 states including Azerbaijan on September 18 was a source of great satisfaction for the Azerbaijani Chairmanship. We stand hopeful that this Convention will quickly secure the number of ratifications required for its entry into force before the 2015 European Games in Baku. The selection of Baku as one of the cities to host the UEFA Euro 2020 matches will definitely encourage Azerbaijan to continue the promotion of this convention well beyond its chairmanship tenure.
An international conference on public service delivery in the context of human rights and good governance within the framework of fight against the corruption was held on 24-25 September in Baku. The event allowed participants to get acquainted with the work of successful models of individual countries, including the Azerbaijani State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations - ASAN Service - which was hailed as a unique model of use to some other countries. One of the important messages coming out of the discussions was the proposal of Azerbaijan to establish an international association of public service delivery agencies as a platform to exchange best practices.
As a country with a centuries-long tradition of peaceful co-existence between different ethnic and religious communities, Azerbaijan has declared intercultural and interreligious dialogue as one of its chairmanship priorities. To promote this initiative Azerbaijan hosted five different events. With the aim of improving visibility of "No hate speech movement” campaign and consolidating its accomplishments, an international forum organized in Gabala on 1-5 October 2014 and the Council of Europe 2014 Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue held in Baku on 1-2 September 2014.
Azerbaijan strongly believes that social cohesion is a fundamental precondition for the development and sustainability of stable, prosperous and diverse societies and under this priority, Azerbaijan contributed to Council of Europe’s undertakings to ensure the social rights without discrimination and organized a Conference to review the Council of Europe Social Cohesion Strategy and Action Plan in Baku on 10-11 September 2014.
Azerbaijan also focused its attention on youth and education by placing particular emphasis on the need to nurture a generation of educated and responsible young people under its fourth chairmanship priority and in this context organized many different events in Baku. In this regard Azerbaijan hosted the United Nations First Global Forum on youth policies in Baku on 28-30 October. Conference participants coming from more than 80 countries adopted the "Baku commitment to Youth policies" calling for establishing a global initiative on youth policies and the sharing of expertise in the field of public youth policies.
Under its chairmanship Azerbaijan made sunbstantial efforts to develop cooperation between the Council of Europe and other international organizations, particularly the UN and the OSCE.
The high-level conference on the neighbourhood policy held in Baku on 7-8 November 2014 was organized under the chairmanship of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Located at the crossroad of Europe and Asia and having strong bilateral relations with the countries of the neighboring regions of the Council of Europe, Azerbaijan supported neighborhood policy of the Council of Europe since its inception and Baku conference was an important event in promoting relations of Council of Europe with the countries of neighboring regions.
Azerbaijan will continue, after the completion of the chairmanship term, to render its support to Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the implementation of the shared priorities that the three countries have subscribed to.
The Azerbaijani Chairmanship would like to extend its gratitude to member and observer states, the Council of Europe bodies and the Secretariat for the excellent co-operation offered during the whole chairmanship tenure.