FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance
FY 2008 Foreign Assistance Goals
United States Government (USG) assistance to Azerbaijan promotes regional security, the development of key democratic institutions and processes, and far-reaching economic reforms. In the area of security, USG assistance builds the capacity of Azerbaijan’s forces to participate in NATO operations. Azerbaijan is currently implementing its second NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which is directed at increasing the interoperability of Azerbaijani troops with NATO. USG assistance in this area also aims to reduce WMD proliferation threats and improve law enforcement’s capacity to combat terrorism and transnational crime. To promote democratic governance, USG assistance targeted development of accountable and transparent institutions, increased civic participation, strengthened rule of law consistent with human rights observance, support for civil society and independent media, and promotion of democratic political processes. To support economic growth, USG-supported activities targeted improvements in the non-oil sectors by providing technical assistance (TA) and training in a strategic set of business environment reform areas. To support investment in people, USG assistance this year focused on helping the Government of Azerbaijan (GOAJ) to devise and formalize its new health care reform agenda. To support USG goals of increasing stability for vulnerable populations, a small amount of assistance went to aiding internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Total FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $26.84m*
Highlights of FY 2008 Performance by Area of Focus
Peace and Security
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Increased English language capability and technical expertise of GOAJ forces by sending 20 Azerbaijani officers to the Defense Language Institute in San Antonio in FY08, before they attended infantry, logistics, intelligence, and Navy command and staff courses. USG funds supported Navy Command Center upgrades by providing diving equipment and training. Upgrades were installed at Nasosnaya Airbase; 210 Azerbaijani Land Force NCOs received training on the NCOs’ roles and responsibilities in the armed forces. Two English language labs were installed in the Azerbaijani War College, and an English Language Mobile Training Team from the Defense Language Institute in San Antonio taught a six-month course in Baku.
- Promoted GOAJ efforts to remove unexploded ordinances that pose a threat to lives and limit the availability of cultivable land. This program substantially expands Azerbaijan National Authority for Mine Action (ANAMA) mine detection and removal capacity. In FY08, U.S. assistance enabled ANAMA to significantly expand all manual, mechanical and Mine Detecting Dog team operations.
- Accelerated Azerbaijan’s law enforcement personnel understanding of modern democratic policing. In partnership with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the USG implemented a comprehensive public order management training program for a select cadre of public order instructors from the Azerbaijan Ministry of Internal Affairs police on the “principles of freedom of assembly while preserving peace and order.” The instructors were taught the latest techniques in public order management and respect for human rights as part of an effort to strengthen the rule of law and deepen respect for fundamental human rights in Azerbaijan.
- Reinforced anti-terrorism training (provided since 2001) through two more advanced courses: Airport Security Management and Hospital Based Management for Mass Casualty Incidents.
- Improved Azerbaijan’s law enforcement capabilities and increased interagency communication and cooperation by supporting the development of a civilian research market in which former weapons researchers can work. The program funded 19 small grants for civilian research, especially targeting scientists formerly involved in weapons research. The aim is to advance the general state of science in Azerbaijan, to strengthen the civilian research sector, and provide sustainable civilian research opportunities for former weapons’ researchers.
- Helped to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by providing technical assistance to help the GOAJ improve its capacity to control the transit of goods and persons at its main ports of entry and other maritime and land borders. A select cadre of participants both from private industry and relevant government agencies, were provided training on a variety of key aspects such as non-intrusive inspection system techniques, air cargo interdiction, and identification of weapons of mass destruction, both its components and dual use technologies. On the maritime component of the program, radiation detection, vessel maintenance and navigation skills were among the prioritized instruction courses delivered to GOAJ Coast Guard staff, as well as the acquisition of key technological support to cover additional maritime surveillance areas formerly not within the capacity of its resources. The Government of Azerbaijan appears to be placing greater effort and resources towards border security and combating the proliferation of WMD.
- Reduced proliferation threats through cooperative engagement of scientists, technicians, and engineers with WMD and applicable expertise through USG assistance to the US Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) and the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU).
- Increased knowledge and ability by both law enforcement and civil society to more fully and effectively address human trafficking issues in Azerbaijan through seminars and specialized trainings.
Governing Justly and Democratically
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Promoted justice sector reform and engaged citizens in addressing corruption through over 30 courses covering a number of topics including courtroom oratory skills, judicial independence, gender discrimination, human rights issues, and the role of Islamic Law. More than 900 impoverished citizens received free legal advice and court representation from legal advocacy centers and a traveling lawyers program supported by the USG.
- Made more likely the prompt passage and enactment of the new anti-money laundering (AML) law and improved the professionalism of law enforcement bodies, especially the General Prosecutor’s Office. USG experts have been working with a special drafting group to get a Financial Action Task Force-compliant AML law passed by Parliament before the end of 2008. The law has passed its first and second readings in the parliament and is awaiting its third and final reading.
- Increased the likelihood of changes to the Criminal Procedure Code to mandate speedy trial and authorize plea bargaining. A USG-sponsored expert in international criminal procedure contributed to the official concept paper for the State Anticorruption Commission. To follow up, the USG will hold public awareness seminars.
- Strengthened the institutional capacity, legislative and procedural transparency, and constituency outreach of Parliament through training for 30 deputies, 70 professional staff members -- covering all legislative departments -- and 106 newly hired assistants to members. Trainings, seminars and study tours promoted the larger program goals of: 1) enhancing constituency relations; 2) improving committee relationships within Parliament and with relevant ministries during the drafting of legislation; and 3) improving the performance of Parliament by strengthening the capacity and role of professional staff.
- Supported the ability of Azerbaijan to hold elections which the OSCE assessed as demonstrating “considerable progress” towards meeting OSCE commitments in some technical aspects of election administration, though they fell short of democratic standards. The USG provided assistance to the CEC and lower level election management bodies to improve election administration including by strengthening professional capacity and improving adherence to procedures and regulations in line with international standards. USG assistance raised awareness of voting procedures by supporting the production of three public service announcements that aired over 300 times in the 10 days leading up to Azerbaijan’s October 2008 presidential election and were viewed by over 4.8 million people.
- Increased civic participation and enhanced local governance by building ties between the public, civil society and municipalities. With the support of USG assistance and in cooperation with local NGOs, 30 rural municipalities have institutionalized improved budget management, transparency and participatory decision-making by holding public budget hearings and meetings, forming civic task forces, and establishing budget control commissions.
Investing in People
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Improved the provision of Primary Health Care services through strengthening the country’s new health reform agenda. A total of four new policies were drafted. Technical assistance was provided to help design a new healthcare financing system, with major achievements being the passage of a decree to establish the State Agency for Mandatory Health Insurance and government approval of the Health Financing concept. Through continued policy dialogue with the Ministry of Health (MOH), USG programs also supported the development and implementation of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG), and Rational Drug Use (RDU).
- Expanded Family Planning (FP) and Reproductive Health (RH) services in the main pilot sites. USG programs also assisted the MOH in the development of FP/RH clinical guidelines and clinical protocols on FP. To increase the range of modern FP methods available to clients in project-supported sites, USG programs collaborated with two major pharmaceutical companies towards the shared goal of expanding the availability of quality and legally-imported contraceptives.
- Empowered the country’s National RH Office. One of the highlights last year was the development and approval of the country’s first National RH Strategy, which USG assistance played a significant role in developing. USG programs facilitated policy changes at the national level to expand FP/RH services, as reflected in the approved National RH Strategy.
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Helped improve fiscal policy by providing intensive technical/training support designed to address public investment planning and medium-term budget planning systems and procedures. USG assistance developed a simple macroeconomic model in the Ministry of Economic Development’s Macroeconomic Section and initiated a process of on-the-job training for the employees. The USG also undertook a major initiative to re-write the “Regulations on the Decree on Public Investment,” a key piece of reform legislation in the area of public investment. In addition, the USG prepared a draft copy of a major piece of secondary legislation – the “Guidelines on Project Monitoring and Evaluation.” As part of its comprehensive training activities, the USG established long-term institutional linkages between an American university and a consortium of local universities in Azerbaijan. The goal of the linkage is to establish cost-benefit analysis as part of the Masters Curriculum in the host country. Agreement was reached with a local university consortium to establish such linkages with Duke University or another North American university.
- Completed critical diagnostic work in key sector line ministries, including, water, education, energy, and transportation, setting the stage for training and policy interventions in the upcoming fiscal year.
- Supported Azerbaijan’s goal of World Trade Organization (WTO) accession and built institutional capacity for WTO compliance. Progress was made through accelerating legal reform and improving the quality of Azerbaijan’s accession documentation. The USG provided significant capacity-building activities to government officials in WTO-relevant ministries and state institutions. USG assistance contributed to the resumption of Azerbaijan’s accession negotiations through the start-up of Azerbaijan’s Working Party in May 2008 and the decision of Working Party Members to prepare a Factual Summary based on the improved quality of accession documentation.
- Achieved agreement with the GOAJ, through a memorandum of understanding with the National Bank of Azerbaijan, to co-fund continued USG assistance to improve financial sector development.
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Delivered 42 surface containers and one airlift of donated assistance, with a combined total value of $9.1 million. The total cost to the USG, including transportation, was approximately $900,000 – a ratio of $10 of assistance delivered for every $1 in program funding expended. The humanitarian program relieved the suffering of vulnerable people in Azerbaijan by providing donated assistance including clothing, footwear, hygiene items, school kits, medicines and medical supplies to recipient institutions and organizations identified as among the neediest by the project’s local non-governmental organization partners, particularly to internally displaced persons (IDPs). In FY 2008, the humanitarian program reached over 693,000 people.
Multiple USG Programs Aid WTO Progress – The USG made significant progress this year in helping to bring Azerbaijan’s foreign trade regime into conformity with WTO agreements. USG programs facilitated the preparation of 35 laws and legal acts, of which 12 have been adopted; three are currently at the president’s Office; 11 are currently at the Cabinet of Ministers; and ten are being finalized at the Ministerial level. Additionally, USG programs improved the technical capacity of staff in WTO relevant ministries to implement WTO reform and accelerated the accession process in a wide range of areas including foreign trade policy formulation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade, Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement, customs, and government procurement. Additional USG fellowship and technical assistance programs contributed to Azerbaijan’s integration into global agricultural markets and to progress with USG-GOAJ WTO negotiations this year.
Increased Capacity in Election Monitoring – Among other areas, USG activities in advance of the presidential election focused on encouraging increased citizen engagement. Despite a challenging environment, USG assistance supported the training and deployment of over 1,836 domestic election observers across Azerbaijan to conduct comprehensive long- and short-term monitoring efforts as well as to help observers successfully implement the first Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) effort in Azerbaijan. The PVT effort helped build local domestic ability to conduct scientifically based assessments that can validate official results cast on Election Day.