Picture credits: UNDP

 

As prepared for delivery

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you at the signing ceremony of our inaugural project that seeks to support the development of small family businesses in the Sheki-Zaqatala Economic Zone through the ABAD regional center in Balakan.

Dear Mr. Karimov,

Before moving to the signing ceremony, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you with the opening of yet another “ASAN heyat” complex that took place just a few days ago in Guba. This is a remarkable achievement and truly testament to Azerbaijan’s longstanding commitment to innovation and socioeconomic development.

The project we are signing today is supported through substantial contributions from the European Union, UNDP and ABAD. UNDP will implement it in cooperation with the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations (ASAN) and the ABAD Public legal entity.

The ABAD Public Legal Entity, established over a year ago, is in fact a great example of Azerbaijan’s pursuit to advance effective governance, human capital and public institutions in line with Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. Having earned a reputation for its excellence in nurturing social entrepreneurship, ABAD was tasked by the Government with driving job-generating activities and raising economic wellbeing of rural communities. This initiative is to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 8: “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”.

I’m honoured to say that UNDP has a proven track record of success in partnering with the State Agency. Our cooperation involved the establishment of the national citizen feedback system and improved capacity-building for the ISO certification practices. Throughout the years, we have delivered a series of training programs, including on gender sensitivity in service delivery, have organized study tours, and published a success story on ASAN operations as we facilitated sharing of experience between Azerbaijan and other countries. This has been achieved by utilizing the South-South Cooperation framework as well as through the presentation of the ASAN model in the UNDP Headquarters in New York.

Over the past decade, the European Union has been a major supporter of UNDP’s development work both globally and locally. In Azerbaijan, the EU and UNDP offices have collaborated on a wide array of activities, including facilitating civil service reform, providing expertise on border management, promoting gender equality.

As both the EU and UN continue working closely with the Government of Azerbaijan, I want to also mention a newly we launched jointly with the EU and the Ministry of Education. Aimed to substantially modernize the vocational education and training system in Azerbaijan, the initiative seeks to reduce the disparity between the capital Baku and the regions while also fostering human capital development.

As we are all gathered here, I would like to thank the EU Delegation in Azerbaijan for their continuous support to community-based and employment-generating initiatives in the regions of Azerbaijan. I also want to specifically acknowledge the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations and ABAD for demonstrating their commitment to contributing to this new project.

Thank you! Diqqetiniz uchun teshekkur edirem!

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