The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) implements national, regional, and global projects in Azerbaijan.

These projects mainly include technical assistance in agricultural development, food security, capacity building, resource management, animal and plant disease control, supply, and other related areas.

Last year, several projects were implemented between FAO and Azerbaijan, covering these areas. Along with this, Azerbaijan is cooperating with FAO to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In an interview with Report, Head of the FAO Partnership and Liaison Office in Azerbaijan Melek Cakmak spoke about the organization’s priority areas of cooperation with Azerbaijan this year and the upcoming work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

– What issues are reflected in the new program of cooperation between FAO and Azerbaijan for 2021-2025? What are the priority areas of cooperation between FAO and Azerbaijan in 2021?

– FAO has been cooperating with the government of Azerbaijan for over 20 years. This cooperation is planned based on the five-year policy documents and aims to support the country’s priority sectors. The framework program of collaboration between the government of Azerbaijan and FAO provides for the implementation of various measures, projects to ensure sustainable agriculture and food security in the country, support the development of priority sectors in the field of forestry and fisheries.

This is the last year of implementing the framework program of cooperation between the government of Azerbaijan and FAO, and we are pleased to note that we have managed to achieve most of the goals set. This year, we will start developing a program with the Azerbaijani government for a new period covering 2021-2025. We will hold discussions to plan activities in accordance with the requirements and challenges of the current period.

Naturally, our primary goal is to ensure the country’s food safety, increase agricultural output productivity, stimulate exports, and increase the efficiency of the use of natural resources. To increase investment in the agricultural sector and improve the provision of advisory services and support to small and medium farmers, as well as reduce the negative impact of COVID, our collaboration with the government will continue in many areas. Through the program in 2021, FAO will support the development of agriculture and the value chain, as well as the creation of a favorable environment for rural development.

– How do you assess their initiatives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Azerbaijan? What other work should Azerbaijan undertake in implementing these initiatives?

– The UN Country Team (UNCT) Board continues to support Azerbaijan in its efforts to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. To accomplish this agenda, Azerbaijan is implementing several state policies in the socio-economic sphere and fighting against climate change. Our activities were carried out in close collaboration with our partners from the government, civil society, and the private sector. Also, by cooperating in various forms with development organizations that are our partners, we create new opportunities for the people of Azerbaijan, especially the most vulnerable groups, to benefit from sustainable development.

FAO continues to support Azerbaijan’s government via a range of measures aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and contributing to the successful implementation of agricultural reforms and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. FAO also continues to support the government in the digitalization of agriculture, as well as in the development of a strategy and framework for advisory services on sustainable agriculture.