Policy Profile Azerbaijan


Azerbaijan is neither a member state of the European Union (EU) nor holds a candidate status, but is a member of the Council of Europe.

Azerbaijan and the EU

In terms of its relationship with the European Union (EU), Azerbaijan engages with the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), fostering cooperation on various fronts. This partnership facilitates alignment on crucial policy areas such as security, energy, and economic development, contributing to regional stability and prosperity. The European Union maintains a Delegation to the Republic of Azerbaijan in Baku. Additionally, as a member of the Council of Europe, Azerbaijan upholds commitments to human rights and democratic values, although challenges persist in implementation.

National Cultural Policy in Azerbaijan

The presidential system characterises Azerbaijan’s cultural policy-making landscape with a robust framework for legislative oversight by Milli Məclis (the National Assembly). Proposed laws undergo thorough examination within parliamentary committees, ensuring adherence to democratic principles. While the President holds considerable executive authority, including the ability to issue decrees, these actions are subject to parliamentary review, maintaining a system of checks and balances within the governance structure. There are three ministries mainly responsible for policies regarding heritage and culture: Mədəniyyət Nazirliyi (The Ministry of Culture), Təhsil Nazirliyi (The Ministry of Education), and Gənclər və İdman Nazirliyi (The Ministry of Youth and Sports).

Regarding the management of cultural assets, Azerbaijan has established dedicated ministries responsible for their preservation and promotion. Legal frameworks dictate the protection of cultural heritage, with laws ensuring the conservation of historical sites and intangible cultural practices. Collaborations with international organisations such as UNESCO further enhance efforts to safeguard Azerbaijan’s rich cultural legacy. Through initiatives like nominating sites for World Heritage status and engaging in cultural exchange programs, Azerbaijan aims to preserve its diverse heritage for future generations while promoting cultural appreciation domestically and globally.

Regional Policies in Azerbaijan

At the regional level, while Nakhchivan has its own constitution as an autonomous republic within Azerbaijan, it is important to note that it operates within the legal framework of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Therefore, in terms of cultural heritage management, the general legal regulations of Azerbaijan apply to Nakhchivan as well. Apart from the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, there are other administrative divisions in Azerbaijan called “rayons” (districts) and “şəhərlər” (cities). While these regions operate under the overarching legal framework of the Republic of Azerbaijan, there may be some differences in local regulations and policies based on regional needs and priorities. These differences could relate to areas such as economic development, infrastructure, education, and environmental management. However, the extent of these differences may vary, and ultimately, all regions of Azerbaijan are governed by the laws and regulations of the central government.
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* = This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence

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