By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
A number of important activities have been implemented and will be implemeneted within the framework of the the National Employment Strategy (2016-2030) which was developed with the ILO’s technical assistance in the frame of the Youth Employment project and submitted to the Government. The Youth Employment Project paved the way for ILO/UNDP cooperation in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Azerbaijan, particularly SDG-8 on decent work and productive employment.
A conference on "International Labor Standards" which was organized with the participation of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Azerbaijan, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and social partners was held in Baku on July 15-16.
Addressing the conference, Anar Aliyev, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population, stated that the successful policy of President Ilham Aliyev promotes successful reforms in the field of labor. Aliyev stressed that revolutionary steps were taken in this direction in 2019, and as a result of two social packages initiated by the President, the minimum wage in Azerbaijan almost doubled.
Since September 1, 2019, the minimum wage will exceed the subsistence minimum (180 manats) by 40 percent. This year, benefits and pensions have also been increased by an average of 100 percent.
Besides, according to the ILO’s World Social Protection Report 2017-2019 public social protection spending in Azerbaijan amounts to 6.2 percent of GDP. The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population reported that 28.3 percent of the country's population (about 2.8 million people) accessed different social transfers in 2017. Pensions and targeted state social assistance make up the greatest share of all social protection programmes.
Aliyev noted that the country has an extensive agenda of cooperation with the ILO by joining the 58 conventions of the organization, including all eight fundamental and four priority conventions that are of particular importance in the formation of perfect labor legislation. This shows that Azerbaijan pursues a purposeful and active policy in this area by applying advanced international standards.
The ILO works with its three constituents – Ministry of Labour and Social Protection (MLSPP), the Confederation of Trade Unions (AHIK) and the National Confederation of Employers (Entrepreneurs) (ASK).
He added that that the reforms carried out on the basis of the ILO conventions, international labor standards, are consistent.
Javanshir Alkhasov, Deputy Chairman of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Azerbaijan, Jala Hajiyeva, Vice-President of the National Confederation of Business Organizations of Azerbaijan (Employers) of Azerbaijan, ILO National Coordinator in Azerbaijan Yashar Gamzayev, ILO International Labor Standards and Labor Law Specialist Lego Sibbel also spoke at the event.
In general, the conference included diverse presentations and discussions on a number of topics such as Forced Labor and International Child Labor Standards, International Standards on Discrimination and Equality, Achieving the UN SDGs with International Labor Standards and Simplifying the transition from the informal to the formal economy.
On 1 January 2016, the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
Azerbaijan joined the ILO in 1992. Since that time, Azerbaijan has benefited from various ILO technical assistance programs aimed at improving national labour and social protection legislation, institutional development, capacity building of social partners, and employment promotion using international labor standards.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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