An open and transparent process, which considers and coordinates the positions of public, private and independent stakeholders, enables government institutions to make decisions that better reflect and respond to the needs of their society. In this sense, the Government of Azerbaijan has sought different ways to integrate public participation in law and policy-making. For example, Azerbaijan joined the Open Government Partnership in 2011 and passed the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Public Participation in 2014.
Currently Azerbaijan is setting up a process of stakeholder consultations in its energy sector. EU4Energy is supporting Azerbaijan in this effort and has identified areas for further improvement that would make the communication process clearer and more consistent as well as involve all potential stakeholders including the business community, the general public and international donors among others. On this basis, within EU4Energy a code of good practice was drafted; it provides specific, tailor-made recommendations for the Ministry of Energy to plan future engagement with stakeholders. These guidelines also serve as a framework for the Ministry of Energy’s next major undertaking: the development of a long-term energy strategy, which was the topic of the following day’s workshop.
The second workshop brought together external stakeholders from Azerbaijan’s electricity, gas and oil sectors to discuss strategic goals and priorities that should be reflected in the long-term energy strategy. The EU4Energy team, joined by the International Energy Agency, presented analytical tools, including energy modelling techniques and experiences, which Azerbaijan may refer to in developing its national energy strategy. At the end of the workshops, the representatives of the Ministry of Energy and stakeholder participants agreed to continue to formally and regularly meet through working group consultations to further elaborate the energy strategy.
These events took place in the context of EU4Energy, an EU-funded technical assistance programme for countries of the Eastern Partnership. Within EU4Energy, the Energy Charter Secretariat is cooperating with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus to help improve the rules and regulations governing the three countries’ energy sectors from best practices in the EU.