Georgian Minister of Justice Ms. Tea Tsulukiani, who is the co-chair of the Executive Board of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) international organization, has also attended the meeting and held discussions with the members of platform.
Alongside with NGOs, state members were represented at the meeting with participation of MP Vusal Huseynov, the national coordinator of the International Open Government Partnership, Kamal Jafarov, Secretary of Anti-corruption commission, and Farasat Gurbanov, Executive Director of the Council on State Support to NGOs under the Auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilgar Mammadov, head of the Registration and Notary Department of the Ministry of Justice and representatives of Prosecutor General’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Communications and High Technologies have also participated at the meeting.
Coordinator of the Open Government Platform, Nuriyev, talked about the activities of the platform. He noted that the changes in the legislation regulating the activities of NGOs and success in achieving progress in civil society are indicators of the dialogue and cooperation between the civil society and the government.
The first meetings of the platform were about the improvement of the legal environment and the elimination of the practical difficulties of the civil society organizations in Azerbaijan. The platform has submitted proposals to the government officials about the above mentioned issues. Constant discussions were held between the state institutions and the civil society organizations in order to create favorable conditions for NGOs. Coordinator mentioned that important steps have been taken on these issues.
According to the coordinator of the platform, particularly the civil society wants to continue working with the Open Government Partnership. He said “Open Government Initiative is especially crucial for the civil society. It creates new opportunities for civil society.”
The Platform member Vusal Huseynov, the National Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership, spoke about the suspension of Azerbaijan from the OGP for a period of one year and talked about the work done in the country during this period. V.Huseynov said that it was a very harsh decision against Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan is interested in cooperation with OGP and significant steps have been taken towards implementation of its recommendations: “Open Government Initiative National Action Plan was developed jointly with civil society and has been adopted. 60% of this plan consists of the civil society proposals. Open Government Initiative Platform was established, which includes representatives from the civil society, government agencies, as well as from the parliament. The actions were taken to create better conditions for the activities of NGOs. Council on State Support to NGOs funded projects related to Open Government Platform.”
V.Huseynov once again stressed that the Open Government Platform is open to any NGO that wants to join its lines. He made an appeal to NGOs about membership to the Platform. V.Huseynov expressed the importance of the meetings held in Azerbaijan by Ms. Tea Tsulukiani in order to deliver objective information to the Board of Directors of OGP.
Georgian Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani noted that OGP has indeed made a harsh decision against Azerbaijan. “Georgia supports Azerbaijan in this issue. Georgia considers that Azerbaijan should stay and contribute to this Initiative.” Ms. Tsulukiani recalled the recommendations of OGP related to Azerbaijan and said that she would share received information during the meeting with Board of Directors of OGP and expressed her will to help on this matter. According to her, the civil society and government should inform international partners about the implementation of recommendations and expand cooperation further with them. Ms. Tsulukiani has invited civil society and government representatives to participate at the discussions of OGP committee related to Azerbaijan.
Platform member and Secretary of Anti-corruption commission Kamal Jafarov, spoke about the Open Government Platform and civil society-government cooperation in general. He noted that Anti-corruption Commission is closely cooperating with civil society organizations, as well as other government agencies are making significant efforts on this direction.
Following the speeches, the head of Transparency Azerbaijan, Rena Safaraliyeva presented the results of the monitoring of the Open Government Platform National Action Plan.
Ms. Tsulukiani answered questions of the platform members and shared her views on raised issues.
Representative of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies, Ceyhun Mammadov has introduced a website of Open Database ( http://data.gov.az/). Also, ogp.org.az was introduced at the meeting.
Following the presentations, Platform members Mirvari Gahramanli, Sabit Bagirov, Saadat Bananyarli, Rana Safarliyeva, Umud Rahimoglu, Israel Iskandarov, Ahmad Abbasbayli and the President of the National Internet Forum, Osman Gunduz delivered speeches.
v. Huseynov, K. Jafarov, A. Nuriyev and head of the Legal entities and Citizenship Status Department of the Ministry of Justice, Rahim Rahimov answered questions and commented on the discussed issue.