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 Program Resume - Short information about the Tacis Programme in Azerbaijan (TACIS)

 Duration: 31.12.1990 - present
 Location: Baku
 Sectors: Ecology
Micro-enterprise development

Coordinating Unit - Azerbaijan
The European Unions Tacis Programme

What is Tacis?

Tacis is a European Union initiative for the New Independent States and Mongolia that aims to support the development of market economies and democratic societies in these countries. It provides grant finance for know-how transfer and some investment (up to 20 percent, in the field of nuclear safety 40 percent). Tacis works closely with the partner countries to determine how funds should be spent and cooperates with other donors. In Azerbaijan the Tacis Programme has implemented about 120 projects since the end of 1991 of a total budget of roughly 67 mio euro.

Other European initiatives for the region

Tacis is just one of several European Union aid programmes for Azerbaijan. It provides technical assistance worth about 8 million euro for 1999. The other programmes are the

  • Food Security Programme by DG XIII (14 million euro available for 1999)
  • ECHO programme providing humanitarian aid (4.86 million euro to be spent in 1999)
  • Rehabilitation programme in Fizuli and Agdam regions, territories affected by the civil war (4.5 million euro for activities in 1999)
  • Exceptional Assistance funding key projects with a social and environmental impact (10.85 million euro available in 1999)
  • European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights: a new programme not only for the NIS starting this year.

Since independence the European Union has spent about 300 million euro on projects in Azerbaijan.

The European Commission has appointed a Special Envoy to act as its diplomatic representative in Baku. Mr. Renato Batti presented his credentials on 14 December 1998. The closest European Delegation at the moment is located in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Tacis management

The Tacis programme is being managed by the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. The General Directorate External Relations is responsible for developing concepts and programmes, the Joint Service for the Management of Community aid to Non-Member Countries (SCR) is supervising project implementation. The Tacis Coordinating Unit is subordinate to the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan. Its task is to initiate project proposals in Azerbaijan and to support the European Commission in programming and coordinating with other donors. It also assists contractors on the ground in their work, in particular during the initial phase of projects. The Tacis National Coordinator, Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov, negotiates Tacis programmes and strategies with the European Commission on behalf of the Azerbaijani Government.

Tacis planning process

  1. Partnership and Cooperation Agreement: entered into force on 1 July 1999. It provides the base for cooperation between the European Union and its member states on one side and Azerbaijan on the other during the coming 10 years.
  2. Indicative Programme: define the priorities of the Tacis programme in Azerbaijan for a period of three to four years. It is prepared by the Tacis Committee (representatives of the EU countries) and has to be approved by the EC and the Azerbaijan government. The next one will start in 2000 for a period of four years.
  3. The Tacis Coordinating Unit collects project proposals from local organizations, pre-selects, requests the approval by the Tacis National Coordinator, and submits them to the European Commission which consequently re-arranges and adapts the proposals if necessary and includes them into the National Programme
  4. National/Action Programmes are prepared for a two-year period and comprised of individual projects with allocated budgets. There are action programmes for Azerbaijan and those for interstate projects involving other NIS countires.
  5. Project outlines need to be approved by the Tacis Committee and published in the Official Journal as well as web-site of the European Commission (
  6. Companies have to submit letters of interest for certain published projects and need to be put on a shortlist of up to 10 candidates if they want to participate in the tender
  7. Once the Terms of Reference are prepared by the European Commission and approved by the Azerbaijani beneficiary, bids by short-listed companies are collected until a certain deadline (usually eight weeks)
  8. Specifically established Project Evaluation Committees select the winner of each tender. Once the contract between the EC and the winning company is signed, the project can start.
  9. During the inception phase (first six to eight weeks) some changes can be made in the scope of work.

The future of Tacis

New regulations for the years 2000 to 20006 are in preparation at the moment. In the future, Tacis will change its name and restructure the sectors for which assistance can be provided, in particular:

  • promotion of democracy
  • support of private sector
  • addressing social consequences of transition
  • infrastructure development
  • environment
  • development of rural economy

The new programme will be dialogue driven that means it will be negotiated between the European Commission and the Azerbaijan government. More emphasis will be put on the development of a civil society and on the involvement of local expertise.

Ongoing Tacis projects in Azerbaijan

1) Interstate Programmes

  • Traceca: Caucasus, Central Asia, Mongolia, Ukraine: preparing investment in transport infrastructure with the aim of reducing the dependency on transport lines through Russia
  • Inogate: linking oil and gas reserves in Central Asia to markets in Europe
  • Caspian Environment Programme (CEP): joint effort of Tacis, GEF, UNDP, ENEP to promote ecologically sustainable management of the Caspian environment (framework convention, data collection, institutional strengthening, pilot projects)
  • Widening of the environmental action programme (WEAP): support to GOs and NGOs in project preparation and implementation, preparing investments
  • Tacis environmental awareness raising programme (TEAP): raising awareness in NIS by supporting the work of environmental NGOs, journalists and parliamentarians
  • Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus: establishing a forum for environmental stakeholders with a grants programme for the Caucasus, based in Tbilisi/Georgia

2) Energy

  • Establishment of an energy saving centre and management training centre for the energy sector

3) Agriculture

  • Establishment of a rural credit institution: supporting the establishment of credit unions
  • Regional pilot agro-business support units: in Ganja, Quba, Sabirabad, Ismaily

4) SME Development

  • Development of the SME sector in Azerbaijan (1 million euro): support of Kosia-Smeda and other institutions and initiatives

5) Education

  • Assistance to Western University in establishment of a centre of excellence for university level tourism and hospitality training in Azerbaijan
  • Support to the banking sector (1.5 million euro): establishing a banking school

6) Policy Advice Programme

  • Azerbaijan Economic Trends: monthly and quarterly publications

Tacis National Action Programme 1998-1999

The implementation of the below mentioned projects from the Action Programme 1998-1999 started in 1999

  • Support to the Ministry of Fuel and Energy and rehabilitation of oil contaminated Land
    (1,6 million euro): assessing the feasibility of locally available technology for the clean-up of oil polluted soils
  • Restructuring of the electricity sector (1 million euro): supporting the privatization process in the electricity sector
  • Feasibility study for improvement of safety in gas transport management systems (1 million euro): feasibility study for upgrading the a management and control (SCADA) systems
  • Reorganization of the transport sector administration (2.4 million euro): preparing the establishment of a Ministry of Transport and assistance in restructering processes, started in November 1999
  • Large enterprise privatization (1.4 million euro): pilot privatization of two large enterprises
  • Development of the SME sector in Azerbaijan (1 million euro): providing assistance to organizations representing entrepreneurs, started in August 1999.
  • Support to the banking sector (1.5 million euro): establishing a banking school, started in Sept. 99
  • Establishment of a rural credit institution (1 million euro), started in May 1999
  • Estrablishment of an Azerbaijani Policiy and Legal Advice Centre
    (1 million euro): providing advice on WTO accession
  • Assistance to pension system development and labour protection (1.2 million euro): registration of all employees with the purpose of providing fair pensions

Tacis Interstate Action Programme 1998-1999 (those relevant to Azerbaijan)

  • Tacis Support for the implementation of environmental policies and national environmental action programmes in the NIS (3 million euro for all NIS and Mongolia): supporting implementation of environmental programmes
  • Joint river management programme on monitoring and assessment of water quality on transboundary rivers (4 million euro for severn NIS countries): reducing pollution to River Kura in Georgia and Azerbaijan (and three other river networks in other parts of the NIS)
  • Joint environment programme (5 million euro): preparing pre-feasibility and feasibility studies for projects suitable for World Bank and other IFI financing
  • Inogate (see above)
  • Traceca (see above)

Important Tacis Small Project and Special Programmes:

Each of the following programmes supports the overall objectives of the national Action Programme

Tacis Policy Advice Programme managed by European Expertise Service (EES)

  • provides policy advice to the central and local Government, parliament, central bank of Azerbaijan
  • Responds to request from senior government officials for advice in drafting and implementing policy decisions and legislation.
  • EU experts sent short notice to work closely with local officials

Tacis Tempus Programme

  • initiates and supports projects to establish cooperation between EU based and Azerbaijan Universities in the field of university management and curriculum development

Tacis LIEN Programme

  • supports the activities of Azerbaijani NGOs active in the social sector, especially if working with disadvantaged communities (unemployment, women, health).
  • Promotes partnerships with EU NGOs (at least 2)
  • Co-funding

Tacis City Twinning Programme

  • promotes and supports cooperation between European Union and Azerbaijan cities in the field of infrastructure development.
  • Training of at least three Azerbaijani officials with help of counterpart.

Tacis/EBRD Bangkok facility

  • finances technical cooperation activities to assist in the preparation and implementation of EBRD investments in the Tacis partner countries.
  • Assisting Azerbaijan to meet basic legal and regulatory requirements for investments, including environmental due diligence,

Tacis Joint Venture Programme (JVP),

  • aiming at assisting the establishment of Joint Ventures between European Union and Azerbaijani enterprises with support for (pre-) feasibility studies, training, transfer of know-how and equity

Tacis European Senior Service Network (ESSN)

  • implementing short-term expert missions to assist small and medium enterprises in Azerbaijan.

Baku, November 1999

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