Intigam Babayev: "Azerbaijan has accumulated significant experience in youth policy"
The state program 'Azerbaijani Youth in 2017-2021' was discussed in Baku yesterday with the participation of representatives of youth and sport departments from Azerbaijani regions and the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Intigam Babayev. Speaking on the sidelines of the event with Vestnik Kavkaza, Intigam Babaev shared his opinion about what Azerbaijani youth should expect from the government in the coming years.
- Many speakers spoke today about what has been done in previous years in the field of youth policy. How will the new program be different - will it be able to bring Azerbaijan's youth policy to a qualitatively new level?
- The fact that representatives of the youth and sport departments spoke today about the previous program's results is understandable: we have always stressed that each subsequent program is based on the achievements of the previous one. The program for 2017-2021 includes quite a lot of points that were in the previous two programs in one form or another: patriotic education, healthy lifestyle, propaganda of Azerbaijan's history and cultural heritage, prevention of drug addiction and other negative phenomena among young people. In addition, there are new global challenges, caused by the country's development and the formation of new interests among young people - these are issues of the information space, gender equality, the environment, human rights - all the areas in which young people are actively engaged today. The new program includes either separate sections of the same name, or additional items in existing ones.
In general, we had a very rich program, which was has been discussed in different social groups for a long time, among socially active, creative and scientific youth. It includes all the issues that reflect interests of our youth, what they're excited about. We hold such discussions constantly, for example, yesterday we held a meeting on youth organizations. Our idea here is that young people do not just give ideas for the state program, which are then implemented by completely different people, but after its adoption they join with us in the implementation of the state program. We create all necessary conditions for it. It is physically impossible to reach millions of the country's young people by efforts of the ministry's staff alone - in order to be able to do that, we need support of youth non-governmental organizations, volunteer and student organizations, creative youth, so we strive to ensure that they are well-represented in the implementation of the state program.
- Why was the program designed for five years?
- The state program was formed within the framework of the Youth Development Strategy for 2015-2025. We think that if this program is successfully implemented, we will have time to develop another one before the termination of the Strategy. Thus, we divided the Youth Development Strategy into two parts, each with its own state program. In addition, targeted programs on specific areas can be developed. There are traditions in Azerbaijan that all such documents always have a continuation, and I hope that upon the expiration of the Youth Development Strategy for 2015-2025, a new Strategy will be developed for the next 10 years.
- Will the new state program help unemployed young people find work?
- It will provide indirect assistance. Neither the Ministry of Youth and Sports nor our local departments have leverage to directly provide young people with jobs, but the state program provides opportunities to give young people a bait so that they can catch fish themselves. That is, we will prepare them at all sorts of trainings, career days, start-ups, support of youth entrepreneurship, encouraging young people to engage in business and creating conditions for them. While the relevant state structures and their programs provide jobs for young people.
- How will the implementation of the new state program be evaluated?
- The most interesting thing that was reflected in this program is qualitative assessments of what will be implemented. We will introduce new indicators and try to improve our local offices' implementation of the state program. The Ministry, the central body, is always ahead, but we want our local governments were at the proper level as well, taking an active part in the implementation of the state program together with the youth.
- Does the department study the experience of other countries in youth policy?
- Of course, we constantly study the experience of other countries, but it should be noted here that Azerbaijan has accumulated enough own experience in this field. Sometimes we hold international events in order to learn something new, but then people coming to us say that the have also learned something from us. Azerbaijan's model of youth policy is known both in the structures of the UN and in European structures. We have great own achievements thanks to 20 years of stable implementation of the youth policy in our country. In others countries, youth policy sometimes turns to education or other spheres, undergoes structural and infrastructural changes, undergoes a change of tasks, but since our national leader Heydar Aliyev laid the foundation, Azerbaijan, currently headed by our President Ilham Aliyev, has pursued a stable youth policy.