On 26 October 2016, the EITI Board came to the following decision on Azerbaijan's status:
The Board agrees that Azerbaijan has made meaningful progress in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard, and with considerable improvements across several individual requirements compared to the first Validation in 2015. Azerbaijan retains its candidate status, taking into consideration recent developments.
The EITI Board agreed that Azerbaijan had not made satisfactory progress on requirement 1.3 on civil society engagement. Accordingly, Azerbaijan will need to take corrective actions. Failure to take corrective actions to the satisfaction of the Board will result in suspension in accordance with the EITI Standard. The Board tasked the International Secretariat with preparing an assessment in advance of the next Board meeting. On the basis of this assessment and in accordance with the EITI Standard, the Board will take a decision at its next meeting.
In addition, the Board agreed corrective actions related to requirements 1.4, 2.6, 6.2, 7.1 and 7.4 to be assessed in a third Validation commencing on 26 July 2017.
The Board welcomed Azerbaijan’s sustained commitment to timely reporting and focus on EITI mainstreaming. However, these positive aspects are undermined by challenges related to civil society engagement, which limits the potential for the EITI to contribute to a greater public understanding of revenues and to encourage high standards of transparency and accountability. The Board was encouraged to hear reports of recent developments and looked forward to evaluate these in the near future.
The Board’s determination of Azerbaijan’s progress with the EITI’s requirements is outlined in the assessment card, below, together with corrective actions with respect to requirements 1.3, 1.4, 2.6, 6.2, 7.1 and 7.4. The major areas of concern relate to civil society participation (#1.3), the independence of civil society members of the multi-stakeholder group (#1.4), reporting on state participation (#2.6) including quasi-fiscal expenditures (#6.2), public debate (#7.1) and documentation of impact (#7.4). The EITI Board disagreed with the validator on the following requirements: work plan (#1.5), license registers (#2.3) and comprehensiveness (#4.1)*. The Board also agreed additional recommendations aimed at further strengthening EITI implementation.
The Board agreed that progress in addressing these corrective actions will be assessed in a third Validation commencing on 26 July 2017. In accordance with the EITI Standard, the Azerbaijan’s Multi-Stakeholder Group may request an extension of this timeframe, or request that Validation commences earlier than scheduled.
The Board’s decision followed a Validation that commenced on 1 July 2016. In accordance with the 2016 EITI Standard, an initial assessment was undertaken by the International Secretariat. The findings were reviewed an Independent Validator, who submitted a Validation Report to the EITI Board. Azerbaijan’s Multi-Stakeholder Working Group were invited to comment throughout the process. The final decision was taken by the EITI Board.
* As per the VC minutes of 24 October 2016, available from https://eiti.org/node/8107