Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

New Regulations Covering Granting Activities – a Burden Too Heavy for Independent CSOs

Under the recent amendments to Azerbaijan’s legislation covering CSO activity and granting policies, there are three requirements for a CSO to access a grant.

1. The donor should be registered at the Ministry of Justice in order to receive the permission to disburse grants. In order to get registered, the donor must present the strategy and priorities according to which projects are going to be implemented. The Ministry of Justice will examine them and draw a conclusion «whether these priorities correspond to the policy and priorities of the state». In the absence of such a permission being granted by the Ministry, it is forbidden to distribute grants.

2. The NGO that has gone through the official grant reception procedure must present all materials to the Ministry of Justice so as to receive permission to implement a project. Without receiving such a permission, any activity is considered illegal and Azerbaijan’s criminal and administrative code can be used against the perpetrator. It is also impossible to make use of any means without receiving permission from the Ministry of Finance, because banks block money until they receive such written permission.

3. In order to receive permission from the Ministry of Justice, an NGO should present a full package of documents notarized by a state notary in the Azerbaijani language.

CSO experience demonstrates that the preparation of such a package requires considerable time and means.

The first document is an extract from the register - this document should be received not later than 90 days before submitting the package; its receipt is accompanied by additional inquiries and confirming documents, which can require up to 25-30 days.

All documents related to the grant, including an announcement, a prepared project proposal, and a contract with a donor, must be translated into the Azerbaijani language; it usually takes 1-2 weeks and expenses are 250-500 EUR. All these documents are to be notarized while notary’s services would cost on average 200-300 EUR.

Thus, the participation in a grant program and the preparation of a package of documents to receive the relevant permission from the Ministry of Justice require not less than a month and costs on average 500-800 EUR. Many NGOs are unable to cover such significant expenses. At the same time, the probability of receiving the necessary permission and that of implementing the received grant for an independent organization is about 50 per cent. 

Project funded by the European UnionEU