The Sustainable Development Goals in Azerbaijan
Over the last five years, Azerbaijan has demonstrated its firm commitment towards achieving the 2030 Agenda. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan issued the Decree in 2016, to establish the National Coordination Council for Sustainable Development - a key partner for the United Nations to channel its support to the Government of Azerbaijan since then. Azerbaijan has been one of the first countries to undertake a MAPS mission (Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support for the 2030 Agenda) which outlined concrete policy and programming steps that could be taken to accelerate the goals nationally, the experience which was presented at the 2018 Baku Forum on Sustainable Development. This regional event also marked the adoption of the Baku Principles which established provisions on the integration of SDGs and acceleration of their implementation. With UN support, the National Information Portal on SDGs was launched, which introduces an interactive dashboard, collects consolidated data, tracks and monitors progress towards the SDGs in real-time. UN provides continuous support to strengthen national statistical capacities to produce quality data while focusing on disaggregation to Leave No One Behind. United Nations also makes special efforts to engage different groups including the private sector, media, parliamentarians, and the public, among others, in promoting the Goals.
01 September 2021
School Reopening: WHO and UNICEF call for schools to remain open with safer measures
As children prepare to return to school with the start of the new academic year, the adoption of measures to minimize transmission becomes more vital than ever. As WHO and UNICEF state, these measures include ensuring vaccination is accessible to teachers and other school staff, improvements to the school environments to meet safety standards such as better classroom ventilation, smaller class size, physical distancing, regular testing of staff and constant sharing of information for parents on safety precautions. Vaccination is one of the best and fastest ways of protection against the virus, including the Delta variant. Vaccination of teachers and other school staff is the advantage we have this year that will make the school safer. “We live with COVID-19 pandemic almost two years and safely reopening schools has become an urgent priority. The long-term costs of closures are too high and hard to justify. We all need to work toward reopening schools safely to protect our children’s future. WHO urges countries, including Azerbaijan to keep school open while putting in place measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 and the spread of different variants. We are supporting our national partners in the implementation of national vaccination strategy which plays a vital role in the school re-opening,” – Dr. Hande Harmanci, WHO Representative to Azerbaijan stated. “The pandemic has not only showed the devastating consequences school closures have on children but also proved the important role schools play in children`s education, mental health and social skills. Children and youth cannot risk having another year of disrupted learning. UNICEF is working closely with Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan to ensure schools are opened safely on September 15 and children do not miss the opportunities school offers to them” Alex Heikens, UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan, said. UNICEF Azerbaijan currently partners the Ministry of Education to provide targeted learning recovery support to children in ten selected districts of Azerbaijan. Programme aims to provide additional teaching support for children and mentorship support to teachers to catch up with the new academic year. Mental health and psychosocial support to children and teachers will be one of the continuous priorities for both UNICEF and WHO. UNICEF and WHO in Azerbaijan will jointly support the Ministry of Education, national health agencies for a joint #Back2School campaign with all necessary information suggested to parents, teachers and students for a safe back to schools of all Azerbaijani children.
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18 June 2021
UNHCR commends Azerbaijan’s continued support to refugees and Asylum Seekers on the World Refugee Day
While many refugee emergencies are unfortunately becoming protracted, such as that of the Rohingya from Myanmar, new emergencies continue occurring, such as one in Tigray region of Ethiopia, which has displaced hundreds of thousands within Ethiopia and across the border in Sudan. The global fight against the COVID19 pandemic and its consequences, has shown that we can only succeed if we stand together and this year’s World Refugee Day campaign calls for greater inclusion of refugees in host societies, with particular reference to health, education systems and sports with the key messages of “heal”, “learn” and “shine”. Azerbaijan hosts 1,616 refugees in total originating mainly from Afghanistan and other countries in central Asia, the Middle East and eastern Europe. On the World Refugee Day, UNHCR Azerbaijan commends the authorities and people of Azerbaijan for granting access to healthcare and employment rights to refugees and asylum seekers living in the country. As we continue working and collaborating to achieve integration and inclusion of refugees, we also sincerely express our gratitude to the Government of Azerbaijan for the successful legal amendment on employment of refugees and access to healthcare insurance. With growing forced displacement world-wide, it is important more than ever that refugees and asylum seekers receive our solidarity, compassion and support. They want nothing more than protection and the opportunity to make a decent living away from home to support themselves, their families and be part of their host communities. In that regard, UNHCR continues advocating for securing legal status for refugees and asylum seekers living in Azerbaijan, as well as ensuring durable solutions prospects in the form of voluntary return in safety and dignity for Internally Displaced Persons. “Some of the refugees were born or arrived as small children in Azerbaijan and have a lot of potential to contribute to the development of Azerbaijani society if they are given the opportunity to integrate and therefore to secure a durable solution,” said Guido Ambroso, UNHCR Representative to Azerbaijan. “While progress has been made, more needs to be done to ensure legal status. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the people of Azerbaijan as, after nearly three decades, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons finally have the possibility to achieve a durable solution by returning to their lands. World Refugee Day is the day to celebrate refugees’ contributions to communities, their unique experience, resilience and bravery in overcoming the toughest hardships the wars and conflicts can bring.
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18 March 2021
ANAMA and UNDP join forces to support mine action in Azerbaijan
With USD 1 million from UNDP crisis response and UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, UNDP will provide support to ANAMA to train, equip and deploy emergency response teams to clear mines and unexploded ordnances which pose grave risks to local communities living in the conflict affected areas. Mr. Suleymanov expressed his hope for future cooperation, emphasising the importance of this project. Mr. Fracassetti stated that UNDP will scale up its support for mine action in Azerbaijan by supporting ANAMA with technical expertise, equipment, capacity development and funding which will help communities safely access water, build homes, schools and health clinics. UNDP continues to support ANAMA in conducting a mine action needs assessment, provides international expertise and supports ANAMA in procuring personal protective equipment and mine clearing equipment. Additional support will consist of prioritising mine clearance areas, developing heat maps for mine detection and procuring mine action equipment and mine detecting dogs. ANAMA was established with UNDP’s support in 1999. Over the past 20 years, ANAMA and UNDP have helped clear over 806,000 mines and other explosive weapons in Azerbaijan, helping to ensure a safe return home for over 160,500 displaced people.
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02 February 2021
UN releases USD 2 million to support emergency humanitarian response in conflict-affected areas of Azerbaijan
The United Nations has released USD 2 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support the UN’s ongoing humanitarian response to temporarily displaced people in the conflict-affected areas of Azerbaijan. Following the 9 November 2020 trilateral statement, UN resident agencies in Azerbaijan have been providing initial support in the areas of food, shelter, hygiene, preparation for winter, mine risk awareness, access to healthcare, psychosocial support, and education, “The CERF funding will scale up UN agencies’ ongoing activities to help the conflict-affected people return to normal life ,” said Ghulam Isaczai, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan. “We will continue working closely with the Government of Azerbaijan, civil society, and other stakeholders to meet the urgent needs of the highly vulnerable population, especially women and children.” The CERF allocation builds on the results of a rapid inter-agency assessment that the UN Country Team conducted in the conflict-affected areas with the support of the Government of Azerbaijan. The funding will help to provide shelter and non-food items to the affected population; assist in the coordination of demining activities; and deliver essential medicines and medical equipment, as well as mental health and psychosocial services. The UN Country Team in Azerbaijan in partnership with government agencies carried out several preliminary needs assessment missions in conflict-affected areas and has been providing its assistance in the following areas: Health: WHO and UNFPA have delivered personal protective equipment and emergency kits to families in conflict-affected areas, as well as supported the continuation of primary healthcare services despite the COVID-19 and conflict-induced strains on 60 medical facilities. Shelter and core relief items: UNHCR mobilized USD 1.5 million to secure non-food items, including tents, blankets and mattresses, and is currently mobilizing USD400 thousand to provide as cash-based interventions. Psychosocial support: Most of the 40,000 temporarily displaced people have suffered immense stress and anxiety, especially children. Given the severe shortage of medical staff and absence of psychology professionals in the conflict-hit areas, both WHO and UNICEF are training psychology counsellors to support mental health services at hospitals and schools. Mine risk action: A joint UNDP-UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) assessment mission was undertaken recently in close coordination with ANAMA, the national mine action agency, to assess mines and unexploded ordinance contaminations in several of the conflict-affected districts. UNDP, UNMAS, and UNICEF are currently working with the government to improve awareness of mine risk; support the Government’s demining strategy; and strengthen ANAMA’s capacity. CERF – managed by the Emergency Relief Coordinator on behalf of the UN Secretary-General - is one of the fastest and most effective ways to help people affected by crises. Since its creation, it has assisted hundreds of millions of people with more than $6.5 billion across 104 countries and territories. This would have not been possible without generous and consistent donor support.
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19 November 2020
UN agencies conclude needs assessment mission to conflict-affected regions of Azerbaijan
An inter-agency coordinated assessment mission comprised of technical experts from various UN agencies has concluded its four-day visit to the conflict-affected regions of Azerbaijan. The mission included representatives from the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office (RCO), FAO, IOM, OCHA, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, and WHO. The mission met with the heads of the local executive authorities in Barda, Aghdam, and Agjabedi districts and visited various sites, where the temporarily displaced persons, as well as conflict-affected communities, reside. The mission members also visited a number of villages and settlements adjacent to the conflict area to assess the scale of damaged civilian houses and civilian infrastructure. The findings of the mission are being prepared that should allow to understand prevailing vulnerabilities and design appropriate humanitarian response mechanisms in different sectors to complement the government’s actions.
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07 October 2021
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