The governments of Azerbaijan and Georgia, together with the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), summarized their joint project at the Red Bridge Border Crossing Point.
The project assisted both countries to raise standards of sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary border control, improve border management infrastructure and equipment, and enhance institutional capacities of border management agencies.
On 14 September 2018, Azerbaijani and Georgian officials and representatives of the EU and UNDP gathered in Tbilisi to discuss the outcomes of this three-year initiative. The parties then travelled to the Red Bridge Border Crossing Point for an opening ceremony of the new facilities – the up-to-date and fully equipped sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary inspection point on the Georgian side of the border and a new customs terminal on the Azerbaijani end of the Red Bridge.
Ivane Machavariani – Minister of Finance of Georgia, Javad Gasimov – Deputy Chairman of the Azerbaijan State Customs Committee, Kestutis Jankauskas – Ambassador of the European Union to Azerbaijan, Vincent Rey – Head of Cooperation Section of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, Niels Scott – Head of UNDP in Georgia, Ghulam M. Isaczai – Head of UNDP in Azerbaijan, Mikheil Dundua – Head of the Revenue Service of Georgia and Tariel Chulukhadze – Director of the Academy of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia, attended the event.
The guests visited the new premises for sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary control that take over 6.5 thousand square metres and are fully adapted to inspect live animals and food products of animal and non-animal origin in line with the EU standards and regulations.
In addition to the infrastructure works, EU and UNDP also assisted the Government of Georgia to evaluate its border control system on the compliance with the EU standards, develop a training system for border management and customs staff, and train over 300 border management officials in customs control procedures and food safety border control. The similar works have been carried out on the Azerbaijani side of the border.
The Red Bridge project was implemented under the EU Eastern Partnership Flagship Initiative to support the governments of Azerbaijan and Georgia in maintaining open and secure borders, facilitating legal passing of persons and goods and promoting trade and exchange between the two countries.
The Euro 2.6 million project was funded by the European Union (Euro 2,128,000), with contributions from the Azerbaijan and Georgia governments. The initiative was implemented by UNDP in Azerbaijan and Georgia in cooperation with the Revenue Service of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia and the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan.