Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
July 27, 2006
U.S. Assistance to Azerbaijan -- Fiscal Year 2006
U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan in FY 2006 will continue to focus on improving the political process and on projects which ensure transparent revenue management of proceeds from the oil and gas industry. This is consistent with a broader focus on democracy, strengthening of transparent governmental institutions, job creation and improving security and law enforcement capabilities.
The estimated $48 million budgeted by all U.S. Government agencies for assistance programs in Azerbaijan in fiscal year 2006 is allocated roughly as follows based on information available as of the date of this fact sheet:
Democracy programs in Azerbaijan focus on strengthening the rule of law, improving the electoral process, supporting an independent media, encouraging citizen participation in the political process, and promoting non-governmental organizations (NGOs). U.S. assistance provides training for legal and law enforcement professionals, strengthens the ability of civil society to combat corruption, promotes legal reform, and improves the curricula in Azerbaijani law schools. Although still flawed, the November 2005 elections showed some improvement from previous years. U.S. assistance including work done by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will continue support on the upcoming re-run of balloting in certain districts through voter education, get-out-the vote initiatives, international and domestic election observers, and training for journalists on covering the elections. Additionally, U.S. funding continues to support improvements in the political process through political party development and training for new Parliament members.
Small grant programs support the work of indigenous NGOs to foster civil society, local government accountability, independent media, anti-corruption, and other initiatives to promote democracy. Assistance programs also provide funding for training and exchange programs in an effort to reach out to the next generation of Azerbaijan's leaders and give them first-hand experience in the day-to-day functioning of a market-based, democratic system. Since 1993, the U.S. has funded the travel of over 3,012 Azerbaijani citizens to the United States on academic and professional exchange programs in fields such as management, social service provision, and NGO development.
Private sector development programs aim to encourage growth of small and medium enterprises by making credit available, providing business consulting and training, and rehabilitating productive infrastructure. Particular attention is paid to supporting key areas of fiscal planning, especially the development and implementation of public investment management and accountability. Technical assistance in agricultural production is provided to promote a more competitive rural economy. Assistance to the National Bank focuses on improving supervision and regulation capacity and introducing international accounting standards. An automated treasury system launched this year with the support of the Ministry of Finance is working to improve fiscal management and transparency. U.S. Treasury Department advisors also provide technical assistance to the government on budget policy and tax administration. U.S. assistance also supports a Caucasus regional water initiative to ensure environmentally sound and sustainable river basin water management.
The U.S. continues to support American exports to and investment in Azerbaijan through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Export-Import Bank. A U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA) advisor assists the government with World Trade Organization (WTO) accession. The United States provides technical assistance to the State Oil Fund in asset management, to the government in developing a tourism strategy, and to restructure the state oil company, SOCAR.
Security, law enforcement, and nonproliferation assistance remains focused on counterterrorism and counter-narcotics efforts to strengthen Azerbaijan's capabilities to support Coalition efforts in the Global War on Terrorism, combat related transnational threats, enhance law enforcement, improve military interoperability with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and promote regional stability.
The Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program improves the abilities of Azerbaijani export control officials, customs, coast guard, and border guards to prevention prevent the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and other illicit trafficking. EXBS provides assistance in establishing effective legal and regulatory frameworks, training on licensing procedures and practices, training in appropriate enforcement techniques and capabilities that include interdiction, investigation, prosecution, and government outreach to industry. EXBS supports upgrades to and training on a U.S. Coast Guard cutter donated under the Excess Defense Articles program.
Azerbaijan acceded to the multinational Science and Technology Center in Ukraine in 2003, enabling former Azerbaijani weapons personnel to apply for U.S. grant funding to assist in their transition to peaceful, sustainable employment. FY 2006 funding will enable Azerbaijani research grants that encourage regional cooperation between the Azerbaijan National Science Foundation and sister organizations in Armenia and Georgia. Targeted funding from the U.S. Bio-Industry Initiative will engage scientists from biological institutes with dangerous pathogen expertise, to aid Azerbaijan's avian influenza surveillance efforts. Foreign Military Financing will provide equipment and training to increase interoperability with NATO. The International Military Education and Training program sustains interoperability through English language training, enabling Azerbaijani participation in international security, and peacekeeping missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
U.S. law enforcement assistance programs enhance the capacity of Azerbaijani law enforcement officers. Advisors from the U.S. Department of Justice support criminal justice reforms, development of counter-terrorism and terrorist financing legislation, anti-corruption measures, development of anti-trafficking in persons (TIP) legislation, and training of police, prosecutors, and NGOs that handle TIP cases. Law enforcement and judicial personnel are trained in modern investigative and prosecutorial procedures.
U.S. humanitarian programs in Azerbaijan focus on community development, health and economic opportunities, and support services, including training and business management consultations for vulnerable populations. Under a new humanitarian initiative, the Department of State will complete six Small Reconstruction Projects (SRP) in Azerbaijan. These projects raise the standard of beneficiaries by improving conditions in beneficiary institutions such as schools, clinics, orphanages, and elderly homes.
A new focus on quality health services and practices focuses on better use of health resources and health care practices through health care reform, healthy lifestyles, and the rights and responsibilities of the patient. Technical assistance is being provided to the Ministry of Health to develop policy, legal and regulatory and finance reforms.
In FY 2006 USDA will fund the final year of a $3.4 million national child vaccination program. The program is financed by a grant including 10,800 metric tons of wheat to be sold in Azerbaijan The proceeds will help complete the vaccinations of 450,000 children. The U.S. continues its humanitarian demining efforts in Azerbaijan.
The Peace Corps, which began working in Azerbaijan in 2003, has 55 volunteers. Some teach English at the secondary level and others work with non-governmental organizations engaged in small and micro enterprise development.