Migration In the Spotlight as RD Visits Azerbaijan

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Argentina Szabados, IOM’s Regional Director for Southeastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia was in Azerbaijan this week where she met with the head of the State Migration Service, Vusal Huseynov, who noted that the main priority for the State Migration Service is the deepening of existing international cooperation, strengthening Azerbaijan’s position at the global level in the migration field.

In reply, Ms Szabados outlined IOM’s cooperation with Azerbaijan over the past two decades, and said that  aspects of  Azerbaijan’s migration governance could be an example to other countries.

Ms Szabados also met with the head of the State Border Service, Elchin Guliyev, where both parties briefed each other on the initiatives undertaken, progress made on migration issues and border management in Azerbaijan and globally. Ms Szabados and Mr Guliyev exchanged views on the development and implementation of effective border management practices that would enable the legitimate movement of people and commerce, while preventing criminal activities. This, they agreed, would require the adoption and application of a long-term vision and a strategic approach. (Photo attached – courtesy of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan). 

Ms. Szabados also visited some of IOM’s development and reintegration programmes. She first visited the ‘kahriz’ water systems renovation programme which the Organization has been implementing since 1999. Under this initiative a total of 163 of environment friendly and energy free traditional subterranean water systems have been renovated across the country, including in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. “This is a truly impressive programme”, noted Ms Szabados. “Tens of thousands of people have clean water for drinking, washing and irrigation. Not only have they been able to stay on their land, they have a better standard of health, wellbeing, welfare and they also have income generation opportunities. This is especially important for women, who are the primary users of water in Azerbaijan.”

Later, she met a beneficiary of IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme in the town of Gabala, who has successfully reintegrated into the country and labour market and will soon be completing the house he has been building for his family.

Photos courtesy of the State Migration Service of Azerbaijan