Photo: Coca Cola

Dear Ambassador H.E. Mr. Litzenberger, [US Ambassador to Azerbaijan]

Dear Sadagat khanim Gahramanova [State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs]

Dear Rena khanim Mammadova, [General Manager of Coca Cola]

Dear Ms. Arpadarai [Member of Parliament of Azerbaijan],

Dear partners and friends,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

I am pleased to welcome you to this event organized by our long-standing partner --Coca-Cola.

The main objective of this event is for us to discuss and reflect on our past, current and future partnerships to empower women in Azerbaijan.

Women empowerment and gender equality are central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Gender equality is a fundamental human right and a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. However, it remains still one of the most pervasive forms of discrimination in all development settings.

The Sustainable Development Goals recognize that economic empowerment of women acts as a key accelerator in the advancement towards more prosperous, fair and safe world. Growing number of women-lead businesses is a sign that a society as a whole is moving towards inclusive and sustainable development. In Azerbaijan, UNDP works to eliminate gender inequalities through targeted, gender-focused programmes, by supporting initiatives that accelerate structural transformations and by working to ensure that all development efforts take into account the experiences, needs and contributions of women and girls.

And as part of these efforts, we work with the government, UN partners and civil society organizations and the private sector.

Our partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation started in 2015. That is when we started our first joint project titled “Economic and Social Empowerment of Rural Women and Youth” which aimed to create economic opportunities for rural women and youth in Neftchala and Salyan by providing them with vocational and entrepreneurial skills. This project and its consecutive phases were implemented in close partnership with the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs.

I would like to specifically emphasize that this project was the first example of UNDP’s partnership with private sector in Azerbaijan and I am proud to talk on key achievement of this cooperation:

-        We established a Women’s Resource Center in Neftchala in 2015, which was registered as NGO in 2016 and founded another WRC in Salyan in 2016, which was registered as an NGO in 2018.

-        Economic prospects were improved for 600 women in Neftchala and Salyan thanks to in-kind support for women’s businesses, business development workshops, vocational courses and  financial literacy trainings.

-        43 new women-led businesses were founded in Neftchala and Salyan, including dairy farms, beauty salons, tailoring shops, fitness centers, bakeries and IT services.

-        In 2018, together with the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, we organized the first Women's Regional Conference on "Towards Sustainable Development: Promoting Rural Women's Leadership and Economic Empowerment" in Salyan which brought together over 300 participants, including rural women.

-        And in 2019, we co-organized the “Gender Equality Festival”, a first ever public event celebrating the International Day of Rural Women in these regions.

Our partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation has helped to change the lives of hundreds of rural women throughout the country and we hope that we will do more together in the future – to keep championing women empowerment – and making sure that no woman is left behind.

I am also pleased to underline that our partnership with Coca-Cola and achievements of our joint projects paved the way to new projects and partnership with other donors as USAID, European Union, Swiss Cooperation, Governments of Netherlands, and United Kingdom.

As an example, I can mention that jointly with USAID and State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, we are implementing the project aimed at economic empowerment and entrepreneurship of rural women and youth in 10 regions of Azerbaijan. This project aims to tackle Gender-based violence in Azerbaijan through strong community engagement and economic empowerment of gender based violence victims.

We are proud of these achievements and today, I would like to reiterate UNDP’s commitment to continue to work for women in Azerbaijan in close collaboration with our national and international partners. The cooperation with private sector is important priority for UNDP.

Thank you.

 

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