IOM launches integrated rural development project for IDPs in Azerbaijan

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has officially launched an integrated rural development programme for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Azerbaijan via the revitalisation of the kahriz water supply system project.

The project, financed by the Korea International Cooperation Agency, will run for four years. The main objective of the project is to provide access to water resources for rural communities through the rehabilitation of irrigation channels and restoration of 40 kahrizes, traditional and environmentally-friendly water supply systems, in the Aghdam, Aghjabadi, Barda, Fuzuli, Ganja, Gazakh, Goranboy and Goygol districts of Azerbaijan, which have large populations of internally displaced persons. Moreover, the IOM will support the Azerbaijan government in the establishment of a national plan to ensure a resurgence of kahriz usage and enhance the local capacity of kahriz engineers and kahriz technicians. IOM, the implementing institution, will place primary focus on the empowerment of the women in business development throughout the four-year project, by supporting small business start-ups run by, in particular, women IDPs. Women will be major beneficiaries and managers of the project.

“We are only now beginning to better understand the complex relationship that exists between the environment, climate change, and migration. As a pioneer of kahriz rehabilitation in Azerbaijan, we are thrilled to be able to continue our work in this field and to benefit thousands of rural families across Azerbaijan,” said Serhan Aktoprak, IOM’s Azerbaijan chief of mission.

The project carries significant importance for Azerbaijan in terms of fulfilment of its international commitments in line with the Global Compact on Migration as well as UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, for diminishing poverty and contributing to food security through water supply for domestic and agricultural needs (SDG1: No poverty), positively affecting the participation of women in economic and public life (SDG5: Gender equality), contributing to achievement of access to safe drinking water, ensuring the adequate hygiene for vulnerable communities, and improving water quality (SDG6: Clean water and sanitation).

The project will be implemented thanks to a grant agreement signed between IOM Azerbaijan and the Korea International Cooperation Agency in June 2018. Up to 8,000 IDPs in the targeted areas will reap the benefits from the restored kahrizes.