This Board Paper was presented at the 36th Board meeting in Bogota, Colombia (8-9 March 2017) as a basis for discussion on Azerbaijan's EITI status.
At its 35th meeting, the EITI Board requested Azerbaijan to undertake three corrective actions by the time of the next Board meeting in order to avoid suspension from the EITI. These corrective actions required undertaking legal and regulatory amendments to eliminate the need for (i) civil society to obtain an extract every two years confirming their registration; (ii) civil society to register grants with the Ministry of Justice; and (iii) foreign donors to register individual grants with the authorities, and obtain an opinion on the purposefulness of the grant.
In January 2017, Azerbaijan undertook regulatory amendments related to the 2015 Rule on Registration of Grant Agreements, and the 2015 Rules on Obtaining the right to provide grants in the territory of Azerbaijan by foreign donors. These regulations are of relevance to corrective actions 1(ii) and 1(iii). Although these amendments appear to simplify procedural aspects, they do not appear to address the underlying concerns documented in the 2016 Validation and do not eliminate or amend the requirements for NGOs to register grants with the MoJ, nor do they eliminate or amend the requirements for foreign donors to register individual grants with the authorities and obtain an opinion on the purposefulness of the grant, as requested by the EITI Board. It is unclear why these concerns were not addressed in the amendments. Furthermore, no amendments have been made to the 2013 Law on State Registration and Registry of Legal Entities with regards to the need to obtain an extract confirming the registration of an NGOs, which according to the 2016 Validation is necessary in order for NGOs to operate as legal entities. In light of this, the International Secretariat’s conclusion is that the corrective actions have not so far been met.