As part of the gender mainstreaming efforts supported within the EU-funded EU4Environment Action, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has organized an online training on gender sensitization for project staff, professionals in energy or the environment, and other key stakeholders in Azerbaijan. The activity is part of the work on implementing Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) and Circular Economy in the Eastern Partner (EaP) countries. Similar training workshops have already been conducted in other EaP countries in 2020 and 2021.
It is worthwhile that EU4Environment is supporting such training sessions on gender equality, as this concept has long been incorporated into a number of EU projects: EU4Digital, EU4Dialogue, and EU4Integrity. On top of that, I would like to express my thanks to all the implementing partners of this programme, asin all projects supported by the EU, gender equality is at the top of many agendas. This has been further strengthened by the third EU Gender Action Plan 2020 (GAP III) – based on which, all the country representative branches have come up with sub-action plans, including Azerbaijan. Examples include discussions on violence, product health, and empowering women socially and economically (including in research and academia). However, environmental issues are not necessarily reflected. This is because the environment has a specific strategy - where the interlink between climate change and the environment can increase the role of women in the decision-making process and provide more engagement in order to green the economy. In fact, all strategies adopted by the Azerbaijani Government involve an environmental area, said Ms. Maryam Haji-Ismayilova, International Aid and Cooperation Officer, European Union Delegation to Azerbaijan.
Over 30 participants took part in the first day of training and will resume on 12 May for the second session, which is packed with gender sensitization exercises and means to evaluate or monitor gender impact in different projects of businesses. Whereas the first day of training focused on theoretical aspects (gender stereotypes, national and international laws on gender, gender equality in Azerbaijan, and the role of gender in greening economic growth), the second day promises new opportunities to engage in practical exercises and simulate means to promote and mainstream gender at the workplace.
We are tasked today with a very important issue which is also related to the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) component implemented by UNIDO under EU4Environment. We are on the brink of a multifaceted and multifunctional component, for which there is close cooperation between the Ministry of Ecology and the European Union (EU). Within this framework, we also work with other international partners and consider gender mainstreaming a main indicator for all these priority areas. It is not coincidental that this component of gender equality has also been included in all relevant agendas (especially UN 2030). This training will have a major contribution to taking greener decisions, finding green solutions and leading the way to economic development, said Ms. Aysel Rzayeva; Head of subdivision of International Cooperation Division, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Gender equality is central to the mandate of UNIDO because the goals of sustainable industrial production and development depend on eliminating social and economic inequalities between men and women. Gender equality is about creating equal opportunities for women and men by enabling them to equally contribute economically, politically, socially and culturally, so that no one is prevented from reaching their full potential because of their gender.
It is clear that for the continuous development of the economy, there is a direct link between gender equality and the progress of industry. Addressing stereotypes between men and women and providing equal opportunities are of special importance. Access to resources has been expanded in the past years and there is a need to increase entrepreneurial opportunities for women and promote gender equality in order to meet the demands of the modern world. Moreover, topics such as resource efficiency and Circular Economy are generating great interest in improving the gender mainstreaming efforts, said Ms. Narmin Alasgarova, Head of Division of the Department of Cooperation with International Organizations, Ministry of Economy of Azerbaijan.
To support this process in the Eastern Partner Countries (EaP) countries, the training focuses on developing gender knowledge and sensitivity to core project staff (representatives of the national implementing agencies) and to the stakeholders that are critical for the success of various projects or initiatives. From 2020-2021 onwards, the workshop has been already conducted in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine in cooperation with UNIDO’s national implementing partners. In spring 2022, the training series is scheduled for two more EaP country members, Azerbaijan and Moldova. The contents (especially in terms of the national legal framework and country-based statistics), examples, and background data have all been adapted to the specific context of Azerbaijan.
EU4Environment Action, funded by the European Union, aims to support Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to preserve and better use their natural capital, increase people's environmental wellbeing, and grasp new development opportunities. With a budget of some EUR 20 million for all six countries, EU4Environment is carried out with implementation support by five international partners: OECD, UNIDO, UNEP, UNECE and the World Bank Group.
For more information, please visit: www.eu4environment.org
For more details about the RECP in Azerbaijan, please visit: www.recp.aceconsultants.az/en
Ms. Tatiana Chernyavskaya
EU4Environment Project Manager
Directorate for Environment and Energy
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)