Cooperation with the UN in Armenia
UN AND ARMENIA- 25 YEARS

Cooperation with the UN in Armenia

During 25 years of Armenia’s membership to the United Nations, the organization has collaborated with a number of Armenian ministries, agencies, international and non-governmental organizations, to contribute to Armenia’s development and progress. Below, UN partners tell us about their cooperation and accomplishments.

Text : Ani Smbati
 


Ivan Volynkin
Russian Ambassador to Armenia

Russia consistently builds upon its efforts to provide support to its foreign partners to achieve the goal of sustainable development. Priority recipients of the Russian international development assistance are CIS countries and its partners in Eurasian integration. UNDP is a reliable partner of the Russian Federation which has an excellent reputation and huge experience accumulated through years of working globally.
In 2010, the Russian Federation and the UN World Food Program launched the “School Food” joint program. It provides meals to primary school children and distributes take-home entitlements to kitchen helpers involved in the daily preparation of school meals. Although the program has been partially handed over to the Government of Armenia, WFP continues to manage it in seven provinces (10 at the beginning) and provides basic kitchen equipment and other capacity-building resources. “School Food” program is supposed to be implemented and totally handed over to the Armenian Government by 2024.
Since 2014, the Government of the Russian Federation has been financing the “Integrated Support to Rural Development: Building Resilient Communities” project, implemented by UNDP in Armenia, in close partnership with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations. Communities of Tavush region have the opportunity to develop their own community plans, prioritizing activities – such as infrastructure and income generating activities – for financing within the framework of the project.
In 2014, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) launched the two-year pilot phase of the “improving competitiveness of export-oriented industries in Armenia through modernization and market access” program, aiming to boost the country’s textile, garment, leather and shoe sectors. It will enhance local manufacturers’ productivity and competitiveness, and promote business networking and institutional partnerships between shoe and garment producers and designers. It will also foster employment, particularly for women. The three-year second phase of the project, launched this year, will develop the industrial linkages of the Armenian shoe and garment producers within regional value chains. Russia is sponsoring the first and second stages of the program.
Another important direction we chose to fund is the health care system. UNAIDS National Program Officer also coordinates the implementation of the Regional Cooperation Program in Armenia, funded by the government of the Russian Federation. The Program aims to strengthen the HIV response and stem the spread of other infectious diseases in four countries of the CIS: Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Program will strengthen health systems to ensure better epidemiological surveillance of HIV and other infectious diseases in the four countries, as well as scale up prevention measures for key populations at higher risk of HIV. Over the first year, the program has demonstrated outstanding results in strengthening the national epidemiological surveillance systems, improving services for women and children. As one of the important results, this program eliminated mother-to-child transmission of both HIV and syphilis.
Our latest activity is aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality in Armenia. In 2016, the Russian Federation and UNICEF joined hands to accomplish a project strengthening neonatal care services in Armenia. The project will be implemented from 2017-2019 in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Armenia with the objective to reduce infant and neonatal mortality and morbidity in the country. With the support of the Russian Federation and in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF will work to strengthen neonatal intensive and pediatric care services at the regional level by equipping healthcare providers with skills and knowledge regarding the delivery of quality neonatal care services in accordance with international standards, as well as providing essential supplies. Meanwhile, actions on reducing maternal mortality in Armenia are currently being discussed.



Sevak Hovhannisyan

Partner at EV Consulting
In 2015, EV Consulting prepared “The Millennium Development Goals: National Progress Report 2015” at the request and under the guidance of the UN office in Armenia. The report summarizes Armenia’s performance in relation to the MDGs, the targets under the MDGs and their respective indicators. The performance assessment of the country towards meeting its commitment and achieving the MDGs is made in relation to concrete national indicators committed by Armenia under each target.
The report also discusses approaches and principles for the prioritization of the Sustainable Development Goals in Armenia, successor to the Millennium Development Goals. With the purpose of furthering the MDGs and ensuring the continuity and sustainability of global efforts towards development, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda in 2015.
In 2016, we also helped the UN team conduct the Rapid Integrated Policy Assessment in Armenia to assess the country’s readiness for SDG implementation. The objective of the assignment was to review the level of integration of the SDGs into national planning processes, specifically in the Prospective Development Strategy Paper of the Republic of Armenia for 2014-2025 and other relevant sectoral policies, and provide recommendation on actions to be taken forward for effective implementation at a local context.

 


Talar Kazanjian
Executive Director of AGBU Armenia

AGBU has been collaborating with UN in the framework of different projects and programs. We have been hosting joint events and organising workshops and seminars for various social groups.
In the nearest future we are planning to widen our collaboration and focus on global problems related to the development of Armenia. Together with UNICEF in Armenia, Mission East and the European Union Delegation in Armenia we have launched a special initiative – Together4Armenia – designed to facilitate the transfer of skills from the diaspora to local Armenian communities. The initiative was developed within the framework of the “Social Response to Labour Migration in Armenia” project funded by the European Union and implemented by UNICEF in Armenia. This is a very important topic for us, as we consider that Diaspora engagement is a critical element in Armenia’s ongoing socio-economic development.
For five years we have been making joint efforts towards integration of Syrian-Armenians in Armenia. Currently, AGBU is assisting the Diaspora Ministry’s Syrian-Armenians Relief Coordination Center NGO and is forging a partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), aiming to make sure that humanitarian aids and assistance is provided to Syrian-Armenians and their integration in Armenia is facilitated.



Arman Tatoyan

Human Rights Defender of Armenia
The UN is one of our most important partners. The cooperation between the Human Rights Defender’s Office (HRDO) and the UN is focused on jointly promoting respect for human rights. This cooperation includes, but not limited to, conducting projects that is promoted by means of special incentives.
There are a number of projects co-implemented with the UN. I would like to particularly emphasize the “Implementation of Sexual and Reproductive Rights” public research conducted in 2015 with UNFPA Armenia, carried out within the “Strengthening Sexual and Reproductive Health Services” project. Within the framework of the research, a number of visits have been carried out to the medical and educational institutions in Yerevan, as well as in some regions (Gegharkunik, Syunik and Shirak).
There are two projects currently being implemented. The first project is being implemented together with UNICEF Armenia. In October 2016, I signed an agreement with UNICEF on the mutually implemented project titled “cooperation on achieving better promotion, monitoring and protection of children’s rights”. Within the project, a child friendly complaint system will be developed and will be accessible to all children indiscriminately. It is assumed that after the development of the complaint mechanism for children, HRDO will be more actively engaged in receiving and responding to complaints.
The second project is being co-implemented with UNHCR in Armenia. At the end of 2016 “enhancing the capacity of HRDO to monitor the situation of refugee and asylum-seekers in Armenia” project agreement has been signed. It entails cooperation in the field of monitoring the situation of human rights protection of refugees and asylum-seekers in Armenia.



Susanna Tadevosyan

Founder of “Bridge of Hope” NGO
“Bridge of Hope’’ NGO has been collaborating with UNICEF since 1998 to develop inclusive education in Armenia. As a result of the partnership, around 10,000 teachers from 334 schools have been trained to implement inclusive education in their schools. More than 4,000 children with disabilities were included in mainstream schools. Three special schools in Syuniq region were transformed to regional pedagogical-psychological support centers for inclusive schools. Seventy-nine children with disabilities from special boarding schools were returned to their families and were then included in mainstream schools.
The legal framework of mainstream education has been improved to support sustainable development of inclusive education through the whole mainstream education system of Armenia. This includes the law regarding mainstream education, the financial procedure supporting inclusive education and transformation of special schools to regional pedagogical-psychological support centers. Guidelines for teachers and specialists on Individualized Education Programs (IEP) development, implementation and evaluation, teachers in-service training packages and other essential materials were developed. Currently, Bridge of Hope hand in hand with UNICEF, promotes the expansion of inclusive education from one province to another.
UNICEF partnership with Bridge of Hope resulted in the development and the strengthening of local partners to advocate for the rights of children with disabilities and special educational needs to inclusive quality education and full inclusion in community life. Therefore, demonstrating the bottom up and human rights based approach to the rights of children with disabilities in Armenia.
Currently, Bridge of Hope is collaborating with the UN in the framework of the project “Toward social inclusion of vulnerable children: Expanding alternative care, family support, and inclusive education services”. The project was launched in September 2014 and should be completed by August 2019.



Zara Budaghyan

Head of TUMO communications
TUMO has been hosting different events organized by a number of UN agencies, such as UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF as well as Kolba Lab. In June 2015, TUMO organized “Children’s Rights through Children’s Eyes” photography workshop in collaboration with UNICEF and PAN Photo agency. Participants, including TUMO students and others, learned about the fundamentals and key techniques of photography. They worked on their personal photo series, presenting a self-contained story at the end of the workshop. At the end of the workshop, leaders and Pan photographers Hrant Khachatryan, Varo Rafaelyan and Areg Balayan discussed the five-day long workshop results and chose the best photos. The purpose of the workshop was to provide another tool for the kids to share their ideas, dreams and problems. Afterwards, the results of the workshop were showcased at a special exhibition.



Delegation of the European Union in Armenia

The European Union and the UN work together to support government and civil society in Armenia. This cooperation takes form in different actions and progress requires the pooling of resources from a number of donors.
In Armenia, UNDP is involved in a number of EU funded projects as an implementing partner or coordinator. Among these projects is the global project of rehabilitation and upgrading all of the border crossing points between Armenia and Georgia, “Modernization of Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan Border Crossing Points”, supported by loans from EIB and EBRD, as well as the EU grant and “Provision of equipment and infrastructure for the Border-Crossing Point Bagratashen-Sadakhlo between Armenia and Georgia and enhancement of their capacities” project.
“Support to migration and border management in Armenia” under the lead of the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) project was fully financed by the EU. Here, UNDP is sub-contracted to perform a feasibility study of the Armenia-Iran Border Crossing Point.
Another important initiative is the implementation of the Clima East Pilot Project. In Armenia, the pilot project focuses on the restoration of the management of traditional pastures and is so far achieving good results. The initiative demonstrates the feasibility of the ecosystem, through the pilot actions throughout the neighborhood region.
UNDP manages the EU-funded GEF Small Grants Program, aiming to improve NGO’s capacity to participate in an informed and skilled manner in environmental policy formulation and natural resource management, collaborate in decision-making on key issues, and represent the interests of citizens and communities in the environment and sustainable development arenas. The program is achieving excellent results in Armenia. UNDP implements with UNIDO, the “ENPARD Armenia Technical Assistance: Producer Group and Value Chain Development” project, designed to support the agricultural institutions, encourage the development of farmers’ associations and improve access to more affordable food in the European Neighborhood countries. It covers Shirak, Lori, Gegharkunik, Aragatsotn, Kotayk, Vayots Dzor regions of Armenia. A particular emphasis of support is placed on placed on promoting the significant potential role that women can play as cooperative members and leaders.
As part of the EU budget support for Human Rights, UNDP will be the implementer of three sub-contracts to UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA respectively, with targeted complementary support focused on the implementation of the conditions attached to the disbursement of the annual tranches. UNDP will have the lead on support on issues related to the National Human Rights Action Plan, Fight Against Torture and other ill Treatment, the national gender machinery etc.
The EU supported the involvement of women in municipal council and work jointly to this aim through EU-UNDP “Promoting Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities in Armenia: Women in Local Democracy” (WILD) project. The general objective of the project was to support the advancement of gender equality, building parity democracy, and improving social cohesion in the Republic of Armenia through enhanced knowledge and mechanisms for progressive realisation of human rights and fostering democratic governance at the local level.
“Inno4Dev” is a joint initiative of the EU and UNDP’s Innovations Lab and will be undertaken in Armenia between 2015-2018. Within this project, innovative new development technologies and methodologies are fully utilized in order to position the citizen at the heart of development and government decision-making. This EU-UNDP partnership will create more opportunities and mechanisms for citizen engagement and introduce tools and systems for more effective and open governance.
Finally, the EU funds to the UN Elections Basket Fund: Support to the Electoral Process in Armenia (SEPA) to jointly strengthen the institutional capacity of electoral authorities and promote inclusivity in the electoral process for the National Assembly elections 2017, including raising public awareness on critical changes in proceedings at the polling station with the introduction of electronic voter identification technology.