Since 1999, Azerbaijan has participated in the CoE / ERICarts comparative research project “Cultural Policy in Europe: a Compendium of Key Facts and Trends.” From 2001 to 2005, Azerbaijan participated in the Council of Europe “STAGE” Project, followed by the Kyiv Initiative Regional Programme (KI). Since 2011, Azerbaijan has joined the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes project. The Twinning Project was implemented in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2016-2017.
“Icheri Sheher, Maiden Tower and Shirvanshahs Palace Complex” (2000), “Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape” (2007), and the “Historical centre of Sheki together with Khan Palace” (2019) are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List”. Gobustan National Historical and Artistic Reserve and Icheri Sheher State Historical and Architectural Reserve were granted enhanced protection status in 2013. Two cities are included in the UNESCO Network of Creative Cities: Sheki on the theme of “art and crafts” (2017), and Baku on the theme of “design” (2019).
UNESCO included fifteen samples of Azerbaijan’s intangible cultural heritage on the Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage: “Azerbaijani Mugham”, “Art of Azerbaijani Ashiq”, “Novruz”, “Azerbaijani carpet weaving art”, “Chovqan, a traditional Karabakh horse-riding game”, Yalli (Kochari, Tenzere), and the traditional group dances of Nakhchivan, et cetera.
ISESCO declared “Baku – the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2009, and Nakhchivan – the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2018. Likewise, TURKSOY declared Sheki the cultural capital of the Turkic world for 2016.
The Republic of Azerbaijan has ratified (№ 918-IIIQ of November 26, 2009) the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The central ministries dealing with implementing this convention are the Ministry for Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO.