Publications of Bektashi, L.

Evolution and current state of environmental assessment in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan inherited the Soviet State Environmental Review procedure, which was overly technocratic and lacked essential elements of effective EIA. A parallel system more closely conforming to the ‘classic’ EIA was created in 1996 and has been applied to dozens of major developments, particularly in the oil sector. This ‘dual-track’ system has helped to bridge the gap between external pressures for establishing modern EIA and the lack of internal capacity to do so in face of political and economic challenges. The drawback has been the system’s non-mandatory character and associated potential irregularities in the application of EIA and utilisation of its findings. The success of the ‘Azerbaijan model’ will depend on whether the parallel EIA system is capable of continuous improvement,integration with existing formal procedures and institutions and of transforming into a mandatory environmental policy tool.