In Azerbaijan, implementation of the 2005 Convention draws its full support from Article 40 of the Constitution, which protects the "[...] the right to take part in cultural life, to use the services of organizations in the field of culture and values of culture". Under the reporting period and several years before, the country has mainstreamed the principles of the 2005 Convention in all its major legal and policy documents in the field of culture. Despite the challenges of the war that broke out in early 1990s and its aftermath, Azerbaijan has managed to effectively promote respect for the diversity of cultural expressions, placed active focus on development of specific policy areas (theatre, publishing, cinematography, etc.), efficiently involved and supported civil society entities and individual artists, as well as raised awareness of the value of contemporary cultural expressions at different levels. The country made active use of its cultural resources to foster multiculturalism at international level and has been an active advocate to promote culture as one of enablers of sustainable development.
The Convention encouraged stakeholders to invest in diversification of cultural offer and cultural industries. Policy discussions on the implementation of the Convention resulted in emergence of strong state-led cultural organizations (e.g. Azerbaijan’s National Art Museum, Carpet Museum) and civil society-led organizations (e.g. Yarat, Arts Council) in terms of initiative-taking, partnerships, management and communication. In arts education, new actors evolved that are developing new approaches to fine arts and crafts while preserving passion for national and traditional sources of arts.
The evaluations undertaken in the past 4 years in the field of diversity of cultural expressions showed the need to draw on these achievements to implement further actions in specific policy areas. These include reinforcing communication and marketing component of cultural and creative projects, further developing of general awareness about Azerbaijani young entrepreneurs and creators and their artistic products, supporting the link between business development and creativity, as well as multiplication of creative hubs. Partnerships need to be fostered between tourism and creative industries to strengthen and diversify souvenir production.
The occupation of Nagorno Karabakh and 7 adjacent regions of Azerbaijan by Armenia, breaking the principle of sovereignty under Article 2 of the 2005 Convention, continues to hinder the sovereign right of Azerbaijan “to adopt measures and policies to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions within its territory”, thus affecting the mobility of artists in these areas, as well as the displaced creators and artists who had to flee their cultural contexts and abandon their creative work to survive. Their creative works, as the case of many other artists in the country, have been and continue to be linked to their contexts and the local culture of the occupied territories.
The Government has foreseen measures to take specific actions to respond to many of these challenges. These will be put into 4 year framework to be coordinated by the Ministry of Culture, which will include desk studies, consultancies, training seminars, inter-ministerial consultations and policy actions. Time will be set aside for monitoring and evaluation of the efficiency of these measures and actions.