Annual report on the activity of OGP Azerbaijan Platform
The Government and Civil Society Dialogue Platform on Promoting Open Government (Azerbaijan OGP Platform) was established in Azerbaijan on 9 September 2016 by NGOs and government agencies in accordance with the implementation of National Action Plan for 2016-2018 on Promoting Open Government. 10 representatives of state agencies, parliament and 38 NGO are represented in Platform.
Azerbaijan OGP Platform implemented project titled “Open Government Platform in Action” in framework of "Human Rights, Democratization and Promoting Good Governance in Azerbaijan" program of Eurasia Partnership Foundation with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands during February – September, 2017.
Relevant studies and assessments have been conducted and recommendations have been prepared in 12 directions of the National Action Plan for the Promotion of the Open Government (2016-2018) during above-mentioned project. The results of project were discussed at 19 round-tables and 13 "Economic Forum" on Internet TV. The debates were also broadcast on the Public Radio. Representatives of 44 state agencies, 24 foreign organizations, 454 NGOs who are members and non – members of the Open Government Platform and 15 journalists participated in the round-tables.
NGO representatives, who are members of the Open Government Platform, the head of the department of Labour and Citizenship Status of the Ministry of Justice, Rahim Rahimov, MP and National Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership international organization, Vusal Huseynov have participated at the meeting on 22 May, 2017.
On 16 June 2017, proposals for the development of a favourable environment for NGO activities have been prepared within the framework of the “Open Government Platform in Action” project. Proposals were discussed with participation of representatives of state agencies and Parliament. Proposals were submitted to the government on behalf of Platform. The proposals consisted of four parts, cover below given issues: "Development of legal environment for the activities of non-governmental organizations", "Enhancement of participation of non-governmental organizations in decision-making and public oversight processes", "Strengthening non-governmental organizations' participation in services sector" and "Other issues related to the activity of non-governmental organizations”.
On 30 June 2017, Round-table on “The strategic road-map on Prospects of National Economy of Republic of Azerbaijan” was held within the framework of “OGP in Action” project. The presentation of the Economic Reform Analysis and Communication Centre, which coordinates the implementation of strategic road maps, has been heard in the discussions held with the participation of state bodies. Platform experts drew attention to their proposals and suggestions on participation of civil society.
Discussion on “Evaluation results of participation of civil society institutions in the discussions on the draft of state budget in Milli Maclis” were held on 05 July, 2017. Event was attended by NGOs who are members and non – members of the Open Government Platform, representatives of foreign organizations. Participants of the event got acquainted with the results of the survey conducted between the civil society organizations and the Milli Maclis (Parliament) Committees. One of the interesting points of the survey is that both NGOs and Committees have made suggestions for dialogue. In this regard, the proposals of the Platform were presented to the parliament.
The Strategic Plan of the Open Government Platform of Azerbaijan has been prepared and submitted under the “Open Government Platform in Action” project on 12 August, 2017. The Strategic Plan covers the period 2017-2020 years and represents the mission, vision pf Platform, and information on expected activities.
Discussion on “The Strategic Road Map on the development of specialized tourism industry in the Republic of Azerbaijan and some recommendations relating to this document” and “Estimation of the level of publication of the annual financial statements of the legal entities and the budgetary organizations owned by the state controlling stock” were held on 07 July, 2017 . Accountability system of the five biggest state companies SOCAR, AzerEnergy, AZAL, Azersu and Azerbaijan Railways and some recommendations were made.
Discussions on “An annual report on execution of the state budget and public presentation of relevant opinion of the Chamber of Accounts of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, “Informing the public about the financial control measures taken by the Chamber of Accounts at the financial control objects” and were held on 11 July, 2017 “Statement of the Chamber of Accounts on the Financial Control activity in 2016” During the discussions, members of the Platform and experts presented the results of their research. At the same time, the platform's proposals were noted.
On July 28, 2018, the Platform discussed the results of the research on the application of transparency principles standards governed by ASAN service centres in state bodies and made recommendations.
On 07 May 2018, discussion on the problem of inclusive education in the regions (Mingachevir city) were held within framework of project “Strengthening the Role of Civil Society in Ensuring Socio-Economic Rights of Sensitive Population Groups” funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Program by The Eurasia Partnership Foundation, jointly with the Open Government Platform. Next round table within this Program were held on the topic “Improvement of irrigation water supply facilities in the regions (Khachmaz region)” on 17 May 2018 Round-tables were attended by state agencies, representatives of universities, members of the Platform and NGOs specialized in relevant fields.
Local-level Open Government Platform was established with the support of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation and Umud Social Development Support Public Union by the participation of 4 members of the local NGOs, 6 government agencies, 5 local municipalities and 8 community development councils. Local-level Open Government Platform focuses on more effective implementation of Open Government Initiatives in the Regions
Public discussion of draft law “On the Chamber of Accounts”- “New draft law regulating external public financial control” within the framework of the Government-Civil Society Dialogue Platform on Open Government Initiative was held on February 5, 2018. It was held in an open discussion environment with the participation of deputies of Milli Mejlis (Parliament), representatives of civil society institutions, colleagues of the Chamber of Accounts and media. In the event, the auditor of the Chamber of Accounts Firsand Gurbanov made opening speech, head of Legal services and personnel department Nasir Sadigov presented the draft law and informed the participants on the need for its preparation and modifications. Deputies Vahid Ahmedov and Aydin Huseynov expressed their views on the draft law then discussions were held, opinions were commented and questions were answered.
In March and May, Platform held 2 round-tables jointly with “Tereggi” Social Researches Public Union (TSRPU) in frame of project titled “Support to the civil society and protection of citizens’ interests” financed by European Union The round-table was organized on the theme "Activity of civil society in Azerbaijan – perspective views" and "implementation of activities of the 4th direction of the “Open Government” National Action Plan (Support to the CSOs)". Development of civil society in Azerbaijan, and measures taken to support establishment and activity of Public Councils, as well as expectations and proposals of civil society were discussed in round-tables.
Public Debate, organized by the Open Government Platform and the State Customs Committee on “Transparency and Accountability in the Performance of Customs Authorities” was held in Pullman Baku Hotel on 14 May. Platform's proposals were sounded at the event, and Platform experts presented their recommendations on the reforms carried out in different directions in the customs bodies.
On 07-10 May 2018, The Platform, together with the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, hosted Professor Jeff Sauss’s workshop for members of the Platform and journalists. Jeff Sauss is an expert invited from USA. Platform member civil society organizations were informed about legal status of open data in the US, types of data open to the public and their sources, the social and economic benefits that journalists, civil society and businesses can generate through open source data, positive initiatives implemented using open data, information on examples were given.
In May 2018, Open Government Platform completed monitoring of National Activity Plan carried out in frame of project titled “Monitoring of National Activity Plan of Promotion of Open Government in 2016-2018” supported by the Council for State Support to NGOs under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It was envisaged that the monitoring report will be prepared and published in Azerbaijani and English languages and will be submitted to all interested parties. The specialized organizations that are members of the Platform were involved in monitoring process. A monitoring report will be presented to society in July.
An Open Government Web site was created at popular news portal Strateq.az with the support of the Council for State Support to NGOs under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the expert support of the Open Government Platform
Platform prepared comments of Annual Report of Transparency in the Extractive Industry of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2016.