Foreign donors must direct funds to resolve global problems – Azerbaijani top official

Foreign donors must direct funds to resolve global problems – Azerbaijani top official

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 19

By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

Presently, Azerbaijan has sufficient funds, head of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration's Department for Work with Law Enforcement Agencies Fuad Alasgarov said in an interview with 'Azerbaijan' newspaper.

"Huge funds are allocated from the state budget for the development of the civil society and the media," he said.

"The amendments to the law "on Grants" entered into force in Azerbaijan," he said. "This law regulates the activity of the non-governmental organizations."

"Only foreign organizations, representative offices and branches, registered in Azerbaijan and entitled to act as donors, will be able to give grants in accordance with the amendments," he said. "Thus, the transparency will be ensured in the allocation of grants to NGOs. Everybody will know the participants of this process and the purposes of the grant."

He said that the Council of State Support to NGOs under the president was established in accordance with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's decree dated December 13, 2007.

"The Council allocates grants to NGOs for the implementation of various projects," he said. "The amounts of these grants increase every year. Five million AZN was allocated from the president's reserve fund upon the president's decree dated May 1, 2013 for the implementation of the Council's various projects."

The council allocated over 3.4 million AZN (1 AZN = $1.27470) for the local NGOs in 2013 and 2.7 million AZN in the first nine months of 2014, according to Alasgarov.

Azerbaijani State Fund for the Support of Mass Media Development allocated around 3.2 million AZN for the media in 2013 alone, said the top official.

He added that the Youth Foundation under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan allocated some 2.9 million AZN for the implementation of various projects in 2013, and about 1.8 million AZN in the first nine months of 2014.

Alasgarov added that the country's ministries also allocate grants.

"The Ministry of Youth and Sports allocated over 5.5 million AZN worth of grants for the implementation of 137 projects in 2013 and over 2.1 million AZN in the first nine months of 2014," he said. "The Ministry of Health allocated over 1.4 million AZN worth of grants for the implementation of various projects in 2013 and around 1 million AZN in the first nine months of 2014."

Alasgarov added that grants are allocated by a total of around 20 structures from the state budget.

"So, there is enough potential to finance the NGO projects from the domestic sources and each of over 4,000 NGOs operating today in Azerbaijan, can benefit from this."

This gives ground to say that the allegations according to which the operation of NGOs is possible only by receiving grants from foreign donors have nothing to do with reality, said the top official.

"It would be more reasonable if the foreign donors send their funds to the countries, where there is no civil society, or to the states not able to fund civil society institutions, including in the areas of fight against hunger, drought, Ebola and other global threats and challenges, conflicts, civil wars and addressing their consequences," Alasgarov said.

He added that the Azerbaijani state, as a donor country, also renders financial assistance to other countries and international organizations to fight against global threats.

"In 2014 alone, Azerbaijan allocated $1 million for the UN Global Fund to fight Ebola, about $600,000 to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, about $535,000 to assist refugees and IDPs in Serbia, around $1 million to different countries for humanitarian purposes and addressing natural disaster consequences," Alasgarov added.

He went on to add that in the past three years, the total amount of such aid amounted to $16 million.

"Aside from that, today Azerbaijan allocates funds for realization of cultural and social projects, addressing humanitarian crises in European countries," he said.

"So, Azerbaijan has sufficient financial resources, with which it is possible not only to finance the civil society institutions' activities in the country, but also to assist other states, what is done today," Alasgarov added.

"But this aid is aimed not at interfering in internal affairs of these countries, but at being with them in solving global problems," he said.

"I believe that the foreign donors should direct funds to address such global problems," Alasgarov said adding that thus, they will have the opportunity to serve more important goals.

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