Neighbourhood - Eastern

Joint Programming: State of play - For Azerbaijan a more pragmatic approach tailored to the context of the country has been agreed upon: to focus EU+ Joint Programming on just one sector where several EU (+) Member States are active. It has been agreed that vocational education and training (VET) would be the sector Joint Programming in the context of Azerbaijan poses several key challenges:

  1. New and shrinking number of EU+ partners with development cooperation portfolios in the country: Only very few EU+ partners still have a sizeable cooperation portfolio with Azerbaijan. Moreover, several EU+ partners with cooperation portfolios to Azerbaijan (e.g. Switzerland, Germany) work through regional aid programs, rather than bilateral ones.

  2. Development Cooperation in Azerbaijan takes place without a sufficiently robust national development strategy. Although this may be changing with the renewed drive towards economic diversification (e.g. the economic reforms roadmap currently being developed by Natiq Amirov) The EU+ joint programming roadmap adopted in August 2015 entails the following characteristics:

    • Focus on just one sector where several EU (+) Member States are present, where the government has a clear reform commitment and is looking to Europe for inspiration and guidance. In this light, vocational education and training (VET) has been considered the most appropriate sector for EU+ joint programming, with the EU, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Norway being active in the sector.
    • Reduced workload for all EU+ partners to the process, where at all times the benefits of working together should exceed the investment in the process.
    • Making it a "tailor-made" and step-by-step process starting with an exchange of knowledge.

Progress in the first year of implementing the roadmap on EU+ Joint Programming

In 2015, an EU+ joint programming group was set up, which consists of the EU Delegation (later joined by the European Training Foundation – ETF), the UK (British Council), Germany (GIZ), Switzerland (Swiss Cooperation Office), and Norway (RogalandTraining and Education Centre). All of these are currently providing support to the VET sector of Azerbaijan. By working more closely together as an EU+ group in the area of VET, it is envisaged to strengthen the policy dialogue with the authorities on VET reforms, reduce fragmentation and constantly learn from each other's experiences in VET while enhancing EU+ visibility for our cooperation in this sector. The EU+ joint programming group developed jointly a roadmap that has been validated by the EU Heads of Mission. The roadmap contained a number of ‘specific actions’ which have been identified as key enablers of future success, notably: i) the joint analysis of key VET challenges, ii) joint messaging to the authorities on VET reforms, and iii) the gradual move towards a division of labour in the VET sector. In the first year since the adoption of the roadmap, a series of formal and informal meetings took place with EU+ partners. A mapping of on-going and planned EU+ support in the area of VET (both thematically and geographically) has been prepared leading to a better understanding of EU+ partners of who is doing what in this domain.

The next steps in EU+ Joint Programming

Overall, achievements have been made in the course of the past year: through the mapping and frequent exchanges between EU+ partners a better common understanding of the sector and planned/ongoing interventions of different EU+ partners has been developed. Joint EU+ missions (in which also government officials participated) has further improved this joint understanding and has allowed for increased unity of messaging in consultations with Government. The next step is for the government to move towards the development of a comprehensive VET reform strategy to which EU+ joint programming can be aligned and – prior to this – for EU+ partners to influence this strategy to encompass the key challenges outlined above.

Status of Joint Programming

  • Roadmap / Status: Draft

Missions & Meetings

Country Notes


About Azerbaijan


Neighbourhood - Eastern

Country Classification

Income Status
Upper-Middle Income

Active in Joint Programming


Tracking Summary

NDP Period
EU MIPS Period
Updated on 15/03/2022