Top official: Azerbaijan plays role of biggest donor for civil society institutions (PHOTO)
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 2
Azerbaijan has always attached great importance for the creation and development of civil society institutions, including the NGOs operating in the country, said Ali Hasanov, the Azerbaijani president's aide for public and political affairs.
He made the remarks addressing the presentation of the Civil Society Dialogue project in Baku June 2. The event was organized by the Council of Europe and the European Union.
Aside from Hasanov, Director of the Directorate of Democratic Governance, Culture and Diversity at the Council of Europe Claudia Luciani, Azerbaijan's Deputy Justice Minister Togrul Musayev, Head of the Council of Europe's Office in Baku Dragana Filipovic, Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Malena Mard, Deputy Executive Director of the Council of State Support to NGOs Rauf Majidli and representatives of local NGOs took part in the event.
"The Azerbaijani state plays a role of the biggest donor for the civil society institutions and allocates grants not only to the local NGOs," said Hasanov.
"Starting from 2013, the Council of State Support to NGOs under the President of Azerbaijan has been financing the projects presented by foreign NGOs on peace, democracy, protection of rights, development of social pluralism, conveying the Azerbaijani realities to the world and other topics," he said.
Commenting on the concern of some representatives of the public sector and international organizations over the amendments made to the legislative acts in recent years, the top official noted that in reality, the practice shows that those amendments were made to increase the transparency, accountability and orderliness in this sphere and to simplify the communication of NGOs with the state bodies.
"The reasonable proposals of NGOs on improving the mechanism of cooperation between the state and public organizations, alternative ways of resolving the problems in various spheres of the social life, will be in the limelight," he added.
The NGOs will be involved in the process of preparing important state programs and their active participation in the work of state commissions will be ensured, Hasanov said.
"I believe that our support to the Civil Society Dialogue project fully corresponds to this policy," he said. "I am confident that the cooperation with the Council of Europe and other international structures in this sphere will bring positive results."
Further, addressing the presentation, Director of the Directorate of Democratic Governance, Culture and Diversity at the Council of Europe Claudia Luciani noted that the Civil Society Dialogue project is important for Azerbaijan.
She said one of the goals of the project is to expand the potential of state structures that take part in the relations between the government and civil society organizations.
Azerbaijan's Deputy Justice Minister Togrul Musayev for his part said that the large-scale reforms were carried out and very important results were achieved in Azerbaijan as a result of the country's cooperation with the Council of Europe.
The deputy minister said a legislative framework has been created in Azerbaijan for the free operation of NGOs, adding that the implementation of the Civil Society Dialogue project will contribute to increasing the potential of NGOs.
Addressing the event, Head of the Council of Europe's Office in Baku Dragana Filipovic noted that the creation of the Council of State Support to NGOs under the President of Azerbaijan is the embodiment of a dialogue between the government and the NGOs.
She added that the active media and independent court are the integral parts of the dynamic democracy.
This project is a good platform for the joint work of the Council of Europe, the EU and other partners, said Filipovic.
Further, Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Malena Mard said that an open society is very important for the sustainable development.
She pointed out that Azerbaijan is a successful member of the Council of Europe and is an important part of the Civil Society Dialogue project.
Mard also expressed hope that over the two years, during which this project is to be implemented, it will be possible to share the experience and move forward.
Rauf Majidli, deputy executive director of the Council of State Support to NGOs under the President of Azerbaijan, for this part noted that after Azerbaijan's gaining independence, the country's civil society institutions came a way of continuous development.
"The adoption of the concept of state support to NGOs in Azerbaijan should be assessed as a new stage in the development of civil society organizations," he said. "The work to be carried out within the presented project will also make contribution to this."