Azerbaijan drafted a National Action Plan for the period 2020-2023 but has not officially adopted it. This means the country does not have any current NAP in force. However, there is an English translation of the draft NAP at: Azerbaijan-2020-2023.pdf (wpsnaps.org), and the following notes are based on this draft.
Objectives of the Draft NAP for 2020-2023
Significantly increase the participation of women and girls in decision-making processes, including conflict prevention and peacebuilding, at local and national levels, as well as to ensure the physical, psychological, social, and economic security of conflict-affected women and girls and protect their human rights, taking into account their special needs.
The main objectives:
- Prevent conflicts, as well as all forms of structural and physical violence against women and girls;
- Include women’s and girls’ interests and increase their participation in processes aimed at the prevention, management, and resolution of conflicts;
- Protect the human rights of conflict-affected women and girls and ensure their physical, psychological, social, and economic security;
- Take into account the special needs of women and girls during conflict and in the post-conflict period.
After the dissolution of the USSR, Azerbaijan became independent in 1991 and faced political and social instability, as well as a territorial dispute with its neighbouring country Armenia. This dispute resulted in two violent conflicts over the course of thirty years and still hasn’t reached a final resolution, as recent weeks have shown. Azerbaijan was highly affected by the conflict and struggled to accommodate approximately 654,839 internally displaced people who fled the disputed region (Nagorno-Karabakh). After its military advancement in 2020, Azerbaijan NAP prioritized the resettlement of IDPs and definitive resolution of the conflict, but this fell apart in Sept 2023 when further conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region was revived. The adoption of a NAP in the country, therefore, is highly relevant and urgent in order to ensure women’s inclusion in the resolution of this ongoing conflict.
The draft that has been put forward by the government has a well-defined and detailed list of expected results, indicators, and specific activities. However, it needs to accentuate the full and meaningful participation of women in conflict-resolution and peace processes, rather than limiting focus to a formal representation in the security forces. The document should also include specific provisions about peacekeeping, bearing in mind that Russian peacekeepers were, until recently, controlling the country’s disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Another missing point in the draft is the budgeting of the activities, which needs to be elaborated.
Civil society’s involvement in development of the draft NAP
Involvement of civil society appears to have been very limited: in the implementation matrix, alongside various sub-objectives, it states "To be recommended: NGOs", but no specific NGOs are named.
UN Peacekeeping statistics
At May 2023 Azerbaijan contributed two UN personnel, both of which were ranked as Experts on Mission, one female and one male.
Women’s role in peacekeeping
The draft NAP commits to enhancing women’s participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and their increased inclusion in the military and police service, especially in leadership positions. It will be interesting to see if women are included in any peace processes that might take place shortly.
References and sources
Draft of National Actional Plan of Azerbaijan 2020-2023 available in English (unofficial draft) at: https://www.wpsnaps.org/app/uploads/2022/12/Azerbaijan-2020-2023.pdf
UNHCR December 2021: Azerbaijan | UNHCR
LSE WPS National Action Plan database: Azerbaijan National Action Plan - LSE - Women, Peace Security (wpsnaps.org)
Contribution of Uniformed Personnel to UN by Country, Mission, and Personnel Type. (as of 31/05/2023) is available at: https://peacekeeping.un.org/sites/default/files/05_missions_detailed_by_country_62_may_2023.pdf