A Historical Day of International Cooperation in Azerbaijan

On 15 December 2017, the ILO together with the UNDP and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection (MLSPP) of Azerbaijan signed a letter of Intent, making a commitment to developing their cooperation in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda in Azerbaijan and supporting the MLSPP in the implementation of the National Employment Strategy and expanding the country’s self-employment programme.

News | 15 December 2017
The document was signed by Olga Koulaeva, DWT/CO-Moscow Director, Ghulam Isaczai, UNDP Resident Representative, and Salim Muslumov, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Azerbaijan.

The ILO team was also represented by France Auer of the ILO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, and Yashar Hamzayev, ILO National Coordinator in Baku.
In his welcoming address, Minister Muslumov focused on his country’s effective cooperation with international organisations such as the ILO and the UNDP, and referred to successful implementation of the projects "Development of National Social Protection System" and “Promoting Innovation and Employment in Azerbaijan” jointly with the UNDP.

Speaking about cooperation with the ILO, the minister highlighted Azerbaijan being elected to  the ILO Governing Body, alongside the ILO’s technical support in designing and piloting employment incentives for disadvantaged youth (Active Labour Market Programmes/ALMPs), policy advice on the National Employment Strategy, and particularly the fact that these ALPMs are currently supported by the Reserve Fund allocation of AZN 6.000.000 under the Decree on Self-employment signed by the President of Azerbaijan on 7 April 2016. Minister Muslumov also praised the ILO’s support in building the Public Employment Service (PES) capacity to implement new measures in the labour market.

The minister expressed his gratitude to the ILO DWT/CO-Moscow for effective cooperation and pointed out a need to take it even further in areas such as Labour Market integration, promoting employment opportunities via employment subsidies and transition from informal to formal employment.

UNDP Resident Representative Ghulam Isaczai expressed his satisfaction with the level of UNDP/ MLSPP cooperation in advancing the SDG Agenda and emphasised the need to take the next step. According to Ghulam Isaczai, it was a historical day when the UNDP, the ILO and the MLSPP got  together in a coordinated fashion to discuss further cooperation.

Director of the DWT/CO-Moscow Olga Koulaeva spoke highly of her team’s cooperation with Azerbaijan and mentioned how proud she was about Azerbaijan’s recent success, particularly its election to the ILO’s Governing Body.  “If you ask me to describe Azerbaijan in just three words, I would say DEVELOPMENT, INNOVATION AND REFORMS”, she said. The DWT/CO-Moscow director highlighted the role of Azerbaijan’s newly established tripartite commission on economic and social affairs for building effective national social dialogue.  Olga Koulaeva also referred to the ILO’s support to Azerbaijan in the preparation of the National Employment Strategy, in designing and implementing self-employment programmes and Public Employment Service capacity-building, in advancing the ILO’s Future of Work initiative and the SDG Agenda, in assisting in the country’s transition from informal to formal employment and providing youth employment subsidies. The DWT/CO-Moscow director informed the participants about the upcoming visit of ILO Director-General Guy Ryder to Azerbaijan in May 2018.

Finally, Minister Muslumov announced Azerbaijan's intention to host the World Expo 2025 and proposed to make Future of Work as its central theme – in line with the ILO initiative.