At the time of achieving independence, Azerbaijan was a low-income country striving to transition to the market economy. Despite the burden of the unresolved conflict, the country managed to restore economic stability and achieved high rates of growth. This growth was mainly fuelled by revenues from the oil industry although the government has acknowledged the need for creating employment and growth in the non-oil sectors.
Today Azerbaijan has achieved a relatively high GDP per capital which qualifies it to the Upper Middle Income category and has set more ambitious long-term development goals. As stated in the Azerbaijan: Vision 2020 national development concept, Azerbaijan recognizes the hydrocarbon reliance as a challenge and has declared its goal to move to a new economic structure driven by efficient and innovative non-oil sector employing skilled work force. One of the main directions to ensure progress towards this goal is creation of productive jobs to move the country along the path to efficiency and innovation.
In order to reach this goal, the country needs to pay particular attention to the existing labour market imbalances and address specific vulnerabilities. UNDP’s Study “Towards Decent Employment through Accelerated Structural Reform” (2013) identifies women and young people as vulnerable population groups with special needs to be considered in the process of developing new employment policies.
In order to create equal opportunities for employment for men and women, gender considerations should be at the center of any economic and social policies. Azerbaijan has a well-developed legislative base for protection of women’s economic rights. The Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan guarantees its citizens gender equality and freedom from all kinds of discrimination in all spheres of life. National legislation stipulates equal rights of men and women to engage in all types of economic activity, inherit, own and sell property, and receive bank loans. Azerbaijan ratified major international agreements on human rights, including the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1995.
In the course of implementation of this project, UNDP will support the efforts of the SCFWCA in building capacity of rural women, generating productive cooperation between rural women entrepreneurs and financial institutions, developing gender sensitive programs and policies addressing the needs of rural women and collecting and analysing the data on needs and concerns of rural women in the area of economic empowerment and community development.
The purpose of this project revision is to support the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs (SCFWCA) of the Republic of Azerbaijan in creation of opportunities for women and youth of Masalli region to fully participate in economic and social life of their community. This project will benefit from UNDP’s experience accumulated throughout the implementation of the similar projects in Sabirabad and Neftchala regions and will use the methodology already successfully tested.