During her three-day visit to Azerbaijan, Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, discussed with government and civil society the country’s economic diversification and future opportunities for empowering women and young people
“The working-age population in Azerbaijan is growing by about 100,000 people a year. UNDP remains strongly committed to expanding our partnership with the Government of Azerbaijan to create new jobs, start-ups and small family businesses, empower women and youth and create a more diversified economy that will benefit everyone”, Ms. Spoljaric Egger said during her meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
“I trust and believe we will continue to expand our partnership and intensify our cooperation with the Government of Azerbaijan in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” she concluded following her meetings with senior government officials key state officials.
The head of UNDP Eurasia also spoke at the opening ceremony of the 7th Global Baku Forum on ‘New Foreign Policy’, alongside Jeffrey Sachs, the Head of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and Helen Clark, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former UNDP Administrator.
At the Forum, she noted Middle Income Countries’ mixed economic picture, long-term social exclusion risks, lack of access to quality jobs and difficulty for women to achieve equal representation in politics and business.
Ms. Spoljaric Egger also attended the opening of the Women’s Resource Centre in the Baku Khazar district. It is expected that over 400 women will benefit from this new Government, UNDP and UN Women USD 637,000 initiative funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Austrian Development Cooperation.
Since 2011, eight Women’s Resource Centres have been launched, providing more than 6,000 women with free training in a range of hard and soft skills. This training has directly helped almost 150 women launch their own businesses with in-kind grant support from UNDP, the European Union, USAID, the Coca-Cola Foundation and the Government of Azerbaijan.
Ms. Spoljaric Egger also opened the 6th Regional Internet Governance Forum together with Mr. Ramin Guluzade, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies, discussing the importance of expanding ICT to the most remote parts of the country while improving information security for telecommunications operators, businesses and IT companies.
Over the past eighteen years, in partnership with the Government, UNDP Azerbaijan has developed one of the largest e-governance programmes in the region, with projects worth over $50m spanning more than a decade.
Ms. Spoljaric Egger also visited ASAN, the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and met with its chairman, Ulvi Mehdiyev. Having earned a reputation of a one-stop shop for public service delivery in Azerbaijan, ASAN (which means “easy” in Azerbaijani) has been bringing government services closer to people.
Ms. Spoljaric Egger also visited an EU- and UNDP-supported project to promote rural entrepreneurship, inclusive employment and technological innovation in 6 regions.The programme began in 2017 and is already helping to empower 44 vulnerable families in the region, including IDPs from the war-affected Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
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