SIGMA, Support for Improvement in Governance and Management, is a joint initiative of the OECD and the EU. Principally funded by the EU through a centralized budget, SIGMA has assisted countries install governance and administrative systems since its foundation in 1992 on a flexible and demand-driven basis.
The demand for SIGMA/ENPI activities is now framed within the ENP Action Plans, National Indicative Programmes and Common Space Road Maps with Russia. Initially designed to support Candidate Countries in the context of the EU enlargement, SIGMA is now equally integrated in the EU Neighbourhood Policy framework from 2008. SIGMA operations are managed by a National Contact Point (NCP) within the Programme Administration Office (PAO) which acts also as NCP for Twinning and TAIEX projects.
To improve Governance and Management on the basis of requests from the Beneficiary Countries;
To assist national reform teams by providing expertise by peer practitioners including SIGMA staff (international civil servants) or public servants borrowed short-term from their respective MS administrations;
To assess reform progress and identify priorities on the basis of the EU acquis and assist decision-makers and administrations in institutional strengthening;
To facilitate assistance from the EU and other donors by helping to design projects and implement action plans;
To improve and upgrade public governance in order to facilitate closer economic integration and political co-operation between the EU and its neighbours.
The target group of SIGMA includes public governance institutions with central agencies responsible for horizontal management of systems of government.
An explanatory mission by the ex-SIGMA Head Mr Bob Bonwitt in Baku at the end of February 2008 served as starting point to launch SIGMA projects in Azerbaijan. First classic SIGMA project "Civil Service Reform" in Azerbaijan was launched on 9 March 2009 with the Civil Service Committee (CSC) under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan as a main beneficiary. Since then Azerbaijan became beneficiary of 6 SIGMA projects.
- Legal framework, civil service and justice
- Financial control and external audit
- Public procurement
Azerbaijani Public Administration has also participated in 6 multi-country SIGMA projects.
Key SIGMA stakeholders in Azerbaijan are Beneficiary Administrations (BAs), the OECD (including SIGMA management), the PAO Azerbaijan, the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Azerbaijan (EUD) and the European Commission in Brussels (EC).
The PAO coordinates communication between SIGMA and BAs and ensures implementation of SIGMA assistance in line with objectives of national policy.