President Ilham Aliyev’s social policy impact – 20-year success in figures


BAKU: The recent global shocks and crises have particularly impacted the economies of low and middle-income countries.

Recent studies on poverty trends have shown a worrisome situation. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a key factor in an unprecedented setback to global poverty reduction efforts, causing the most significant increase in poverty levels in the history of poverty monitoring.

According to data from 2023, 1.1 billion out of 6.1 billion people in 110 countries are living in conditions of acute multidimensional poverty. In countries with middle-income levels, this negative trend affects 730 million people.

Notably, among the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the top priority is the universal eradication of poverty in all its forms. It’s essential to ensure social protection for vulnerable groups to effectively reduce poverty. Taking Azerbaijan as an example, the success formula for social policies implemented over the past 20 years is clear, ultimately enabling the country to triumph over
poverty.

Thus, Azerbaijan’s poverty rate decreased from 44.7 percent in 2003 to 5.2 percent (by 8.6 times) in 2023. Meanwhile, the population living in poverty conditions decreased sevenfold, from 3.7 million people to 528,000 people.

One of the central issues in President Ilham Aliyev’s policy is the human factor. Any economic development that does not contribute to improving people’s lives cannot achieve its goal. In this sense, improving social well-being and people’s lives is one of the main goals of this policy.

Significant steps are being taken to improve the living standards, whether through increasing wages, and pensions, or enhancing the social protection system for low-income families – these are achievements of the social policy implemented in Azerbaijan.

Over the past 20 years, social insurance payments have increased 18 times, from 376 million manat ($221 million) to 6.3 billion manat ($3.7 billion). Social expenditures have increased 19.3 times, from 678 million manat ($398.8 million) to 13.
1 billion manat ($7.7 billion).

During the above period, pensions for martyr families in Azerbaijan have increased from 100 manat ($59) in 2007 to 600 manat ($352.9) in 2023, marking a sixfold increase. The annual sum of pensions has increased from 194 million manat ($114 million) in 2003 to 5.7 billion manat ($3.3 billion) in 2023 (a 29.4 times increase).

The average monthly pension has increased 18.2 times, from 24 manat ($14) in 2003 to 436 manat ($256) in 2023. The minimum monthly pension amount has increased 14 times over the past 20 years, from 20 manat ($11.7) to 280 manat ($164.7). The average monthly amount of targeted social assistance has increased from 37 manat ($21.7) in 2007 to 485 manat ($285.29) in 2023 (a 13 times increase).

Certainly, further improvement in people’s well-being goes beyond just increasing salaries, pensions, and allowances. One of the most crucial issues in this direction is ensuring employment for the population.

Fortunately, unprecedented achievements in economic develo
pment in recent years have created conditions for the successful implementation of this goal.

Azerbaijan is effectively solving unemployment issues, taking significant steps in this direction. Since 2004, due to the successful implementation of provisions outlined in adopted state programs related to the socio-economic development of the regions of Azerbaijan, sustainable development of the non-oil sector of the economy has been ensured.

The volume and quality of the provision of communal services and social infrastructure in the regions have increased, large-scale projects in priority areas have been implemented, and investment direction has led to the opening of new enterprises and jobs.

Over the past 20 years, the unemployment rate has decreased by 3.7 percentage points, from 9.2 percent to 5.5 percent (from 400,900 people to 286,400 people).

More than 90 percent of new jobs are in the private sector, with a significant portion created in the non-oil sector. The predominant sectors include construction
, manufacturing, processing industries, provision of services to the population, and other areas.

The average nominal monthly salary has increased 12 times, from 76.8 manat ($45) from January through November 2003 to 923.1 manat ($543) for the same period in 2023. The minimum wage has increased 38 times, from nine manat ($5.29) in 2003 to 345 manat ($202.9) in 2023. The number of employment contracts has increased by 38.5 percent, from 1.3 million in 2017 to 1.8 million in 2023.

Government programs aimed at socio-economic development in regions have played an unprecedented role in poverty reduction. Balanced regional development has led to the opening of numerous industrial, processing, and service enterprises not only in major cities but also in rural areas. The issue of employment for thousands of people has been addressed by revitalizing forgotten and degraded agricultural territories. Since 2004, tens of thousands of new enterprises have opened in the regions, creating millions of jobs.

The recent-year
initiatives, including the implementation of the self-employment program and the creation of government jobs, have also contributed to poverty reduction. Thus, people, with the assistance of the government, are establishing their own businesses.

Employment has increased by 25 percent, from four million people in 2003 to five million people in 2023. The number of economically active population has grown by 20 percent, from 4.4 million people to 5.3 million people. The annual amount allocated for employment programs has increased from seven million manat ($4 million) in 2018 to 525 million manat ($308.8 million) by 2024 (a 75 times increase).

To formulate a long-term state employment policy aimed at ensuring effective employment based on existing demographic trends and the country’s economic priorities, the ‘Employment Strategy of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2019-2030’ was approved by the decree of President Ilham Aliyev on October 30, 2018.

On October 2, 2023, President Ilham Aliyev, addressing the openi
ng ceremony of the 74th International Astronautical Congress, noted that the fair distribution of national wealth today is seen by international experts and most importantly by the people of Azerbaijan.

“One of the big challenges in the beginning of our independence was poverty, which was endemic. 20 years ago, the percentage of people living in poverty was close to 50. Now it is 5.5%, which actually demonstrates that natural resources, which we accumulated and which we brought to international market were properly managed. And the fair distribution of national wealth today is seen by international experts and most important by the people of Azerbaijan. So, all these actually demonstrate that the country is well-established. Political, economic and social stability is an important factor of our development, because it’s clear that if situation is not stable and is not predictable, you cannot expect investors to come and to risk their capital,” said the head of state.

Azerbaijan’s achievements in the social
sphere are the result of comprehensive reforms and the implementation of a multi-level system of social support for vulnerable population groups. Of course, without a strong and sustainable economy, it’s impossible to ensure an improvement in the standard of living and the welfare of the population.

Thanks to a visionary and multifaceted economic policy, Azerbaijan is now at the center of regionally significant projects, thereby ensuring a flow of funds into the country. It’s the fair and rational distribution of state funds today that has allowed Azerbaijan to achieve the highest results in the implementation of social policies, with a focus on the human factor.

Source: Trend News Agency

AZERTAC, Jordan News Agency Petra discuss prospects for enhancing cooperation VIDEO

Baku: ‘Fostering relations between Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC) and Jordan News Agency (Petra) would contribute to developing information cooperation between the two countries,’ said Chairman of the Board of AZERTAC Vugar Aliyev as he met with Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Omar Barakat Al Nahar.

Vugar Aliyev highlighted AZERTAC`s status as a partner of 50 foreign news agencies and its membership in various international media structures. Noting that the agency places great importance on the development of ties both in a bilateral format and within international organizations, the Chairman of the Board stated that the partnership agreement between AZERTAC and the Petra News Agency was signed in 2007. ‘However, today, further strengthening and expanding the connections between the two news agencies is in line with the demands of the time.’ In this context, he underscored that information exchange would contribute to combating fake news and disseminating accurate information about the
countries.

Noting that relations between Azerbaijan and Jordan were developing in different domains, Omar Barakat Al Nahar stressed the importance of a close partnership between the two countries` leading news agencies in the media sector. He highlighted the potential for raising awareness about Azerbaijan in Jordan and vice versa through such collaboration. ‘Thus, the intense cooperation between Petra and AZERTAC news agencies would support the deepening relations between the countries,’ the ambassador added.

The sides also exchanged views on media innovations, the importance of various types of content exchange, and other issues of mutual interest.

The ambassador also viewed the conditions created at AZERTAC.

Source: Azerbaijan State News Agency

Europe unable to handle Azerbaijan’s clear victory – is there any room left for justice?


BAKU: Lately, there has been a growing trend of anti-Azerbaijani rhetoric popping up on various European platforms. The recent winter session of the PACE, which took place yesterday, was no different. Take, for example, Frank Schwabe, Head of the German delegation to the PACE, who suggested stripping Azerbaijani delegates of their credentials.

The reason, undoubtedly, revolves around the consistent narrative of “human rights violations in Karabakh”. Specifically, the PACE was not pleased that they were not allowed into Karabakh last year for “monitoring the situation”.

The Monitoring Committee is supposed to decide within 24 hours. However, it is crystal clear that an anti-Azerbaijani decision will be pushed through in the PACE. Equally clear is the fact that MEP Schwabe is just a figurehead representing those truly driving this decision. According to the rules, at least 30 MPs should have voiced their support for the appeal in the hall. They did not bother tallying the votes, so glaringly obvious was the o
utcome.

Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe with the hope of getting a fair resolution to the occupation of its territories. However, over the years, the institution failed to take any decisive action against Armenia. PACE could not even muster a condemnation of Armenia, which completely disregarded its Resolution 2085 passed on January 26, 2016. This resolution explicitly called for the immediate withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the region and the halt of Armenia’s authorities using water resources as a tool to benefit only one side of the conflict.

Here’s another example: Josep Borrell, Head of European Diplomacy. His mandate is about to wrap up soon. So, what has this supposed peace advocate between Baku and Yerevan actually accomplished? Well, nothing at all.

Having long aligned himself with Armenian propaganda, Borrell is pulling out all the stops to undermine the peace process. Just yesterday, he came out saying that the EU is once again “worried about Azerbaijan making claims on Armenian
territory” and urged a return to talks for normalizing relations.

While Europe, especially Borrell, is using its platforms not to address real issues but for baseless statements, Azerbaijan and Armenia are actively taking tangible steps toward a peaceful agreement, exemplified by the recent military exchange. That is precisely why the Brussels format for negotiations is also a thing of the past.

And, of course, at the heart of all this anti-Azerbaijani campaign is none other than France, once an active mediator between Baku and Yerevan. The recent phase in relations with Paris was marked by a scandal involving a French espionage group exposed in Baku, the expulsion of diplomats, and yet another pro-Armenian resolution. While France used to at least maintain a semblance of balance and adhere to a relatively even-handed approach toward both sides, now Paris openly supports the Armenian side – not just in words, but also by actively arming the Armenian armed forces.

All of this is simply an inability to stoma
ch Azerbaijan’s clear-cut triumph over injustice. Until 2020, Baku might have still expected some support from the European community, but the Second Karabakh War altered everything permanently. Now, Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity stands sovereign, reclaimed lands are being cleared of mines, massive infrastructure projects are underway, and the economy is flourishing – making everyone quite envious.

Certainly, Europe, once content with a 30-year conflict in the South Caucasus, is now disgruntled because all their supposed pressure tactics on Baku have fallen flat. While anyone could easily sway Armenia, European partners are currently collaborating with Azerbaijan on its own terms. The geopolitical landscape has not only radically reshaped regional relationships but also global dynamics. The key takeaway is that the integrity and independence of Azerbaijan will never be disrupted again. Instead of pushing futile resolutions or, even worse, brandishing threats of economic consequences at Baku, it is high
time for everyone to come to grips with the new realities forged by Azerbaijan.

Source: Trend News Agency

President Ilham Aliyev receives Russia’s deputy PM


BAKU: President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Commission Alexei Overchuk, Trend reports.

During the meeting, the sides noted that the year 2023 was successful in terms of results related to the economic cooperation between the two countries. They recalled the contacts held between the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia as part of the informal meeting of the CIS heads of state in Saint Petersburg in last December.

Emphasizing a broad agenda of the economic cooperation, the parties pointed out the plans for new areas in this field. They evaluated the growth of the trade turnover by 17.5 percent, as well as the continuous growth of cargo and transit transportation as a good indicator of cooperation between the two countries. The sides emphasized the importance of signing the roadmap on the development of key areas of Azerbaijani-Russian cooperation for the years 2024-2026. They expressed hope that Alex
ei Overchuk’s visit would contribute to expanding relations between the two countries.

During the meeting, the two also exchanged views on issues related to transport and logistics, and promotion of the North-South Transport Corridor.

Source: Trend News Agency

Azerbaijani delegation attends PACE winter session

An Azerbaijani delegation is participating in the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which has started today in Strasbourg, France.

The first day of the session saw election of the President and Vice-presidents of the Assembly.

Agenda of the session includes recent developments in the Middle East, situation of children of Ukraine, and allegations of systemic torture in Europe. Debates on recent developments in the Middle East: Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel and Israel’s response, allegations of systemic torture in places of detention in Europe and on countering SLAPPs as an imperative for a democratic society will be among highlights of the 2024 PACE Winter Session. A request has also been made for a debate under urgent procedure on the situation of children of Ukraine.

The Presidents of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, and Montenegro, Jakov Milatovic, as well as the Prime Minister of Liechtenstein, Daniel Risch, will address the parliamentarians
. Liechtenstein’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education, and Sport, Dominique Hasler, Chair of the Committee of Ministers, and Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric will present their communications to the Assembly and will take questions from members.

The Assembly will also elect the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.

Also on the agenda are debates on globalisation in times of crises and war and the role of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) after the Russian – Ukrainian war, the theme of migration and asylum in the election campaign and prevention of child abuse in institutions in Europe.

Source: Azerbaijan State News Agency

GUAM Observer Mission to monitor snap presidential election in Azerbaijan

The Observer Mission of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM will monitor the snap presidential election scheduled to be held in Azerbaijan on February 7.

According to the GUAM Secretariat, the Observer Mission will include GUAM General Secretary Altai Efendiev, MPs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Sviatoslav Yurash and Mikhail Papiyev, MP of the Parliament of Georgia Daviti Matikashvili and Program Coordinator of the GUAM Secretariat Teimuraz Kiladze.

Following the voting, the GUAM Observer Mission will issue a report on the results of the election.

Source: Azerbaijan State News Agency

MEP Tomáš Zdechovský joins Azerbaijani MPs to discuss role of S. Caucasus in Central Asia-EU relations (PHOTO/VIDEO)


BAKU: Members of the Azerbaijani Parliament Tural Ganjaliyev and Sevil Mikayilova held discussions with Tomáš Zdechovský, Member of the European Parliament, within the Baku Network platform, Trend reports.

They dived into various topics, starting with the current developments in Central Asia-EU relations. They went on to discuss the crucial role of the South Caucasus in advancing these relations, explored the possibilities for Azerbaijani-EU ties, and touched upon the ongoing peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Sevil Mikayilova noted that the cooperation between Central Asia and the EU cannot be considered without the South Caucasus.

‘We believe that the constructive role of the South Caucasus in relations between Central Asia and the EU will ultimately bring real benefits to all participants of the process. We have built very fruitful relations with Central Asia. Now we are in a process of building good communication lines to support the Middle Corridor, which is also a very much supported proje
ct by the EU. Central Asia with its abundant resources can be of real use for the EU economies. And this linkage will, of course, cross through South Caucasus, and Azerbaijan here is in the centerpiece,’ she said.

MEP Zdechovský agreed that Azerbaijan is not just a key player in Central Asia-EU relations, it is actually a strategic partner for Europe itself.

‘Azerbaijan has significant potential in various fields, such as the chemical industry and natural resources. However, I believe the greatest potential lies in the tourism sector. We have the opportunity to triple our economic relations. Azerbaijan is a strategic partner for several EU countries, and Azerbaijani-Czech relations are also highly productive. The EU aims for stable, long-term cooperation with Azerbaijan. Notably, Azerbaijan ranked first when we sought closer cooperation in gas supplies. It is crucial for us to establish a long-term agreement with Azerbaijan, emphasizing the importance of stability,’ he said.

Source: Trend News Agency

Organizing committee for upcoming COP29 in Azerbaijan holds its first meeting


BAKU: The organizing committee has held its inaugural meeting in preparation for hosting the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP29), the 19th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, and the 6th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement in Baku, Trend reports.

Kicking off the meeting, Samir Nuriyev, Head of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Chair of the organizing committee, highlighted that one of Azerbaijan’s key priorities in socio-economic development until 2030 is to transform into a “country of a clean environment and green growth”.

Azerbaijan has committed to slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent by 2030 compared to the baseline year of 1990. Furthermore, the economically liberated regions of Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur, along with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, have been designated as “green energy zones”, he added.

Source: Trend Ne
ws Agency