25 Years of Armenia in the UN

25 Years of Armenia in the UN

Twenty-five years ago, the Armenian flag was raised at the headquarters of the United Nations – a landmark moment in the history of Armenia’s independence. The pursuit of lasting peace, development and respect for human rights have since laid down the principles and objectives, which continue to define Armenia’s engagement with the world. Within the United Nations, through various forms and formats of participation, Armenia has been consistently working to advance international cooperation, in the face of complex challenges and threats.

Text : Sofya Simonyan  /  Photo : UN Armenia archive


In the spirit of collective responsibility, Armenia has been increasingly expanding its involvement in a number of UN and UN-mandated Peace Operations, thus actively contributing, in the most direct way, to the strengthening of international peace and security. In recent years, Armenia has been enhancing its deployment capacities, including through involvement in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon mission (UNIFIL). As a security contributor, Armenia has shown consistent support and commitment to the works of the blue helmets to help bring lasting peace for millions living in areas ravaged by war and conflict.
As a supporter of the concept of regional engagement, Armenia has been consistently promoting the efficiency and the role of regional mechanisms, including for the maintenance of international peace and security. Regional and sub-regional organizations often have a better understanding of local circumstances, tailored approaches and more effective tools, while contributing to the overarching principles of effective division of labor, coherence, coordination and non-duplication of the efforts. For Armenia, the unwavering and continued support of the UN system and the Secretary-General to the internationally agreed format of negotiations for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs has been critical in deflecting attempts of mediation shopping and selective interpretations of international law, while helping sustain focus on a lasting solution.
Against the background of a deteriorating international context exacerbated by the rise of violent extremism, protracted emergencies and conflicts, there exists considerable evidence of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The global wave of displacement has brought about a large number of risks and instabilities, which require a collective response on an international level, including through better coordination on matters of border management, migration and fight against trafficking – important areas of international cooperation effectively embraced and supported by Armenia. In the last few years, over 20,000 displaced persons have sought protection in Armenia, making it the third largest recipient of Syrian refugees per capita in Europe. To promote international cooperation on the global displacement and migration agenda, Armenia has been actively engaged in major intergovernmental processes, promoting the recognition of the need for a more equitable burden-sharing, among the internationally agreed collective commitments, as outlined, most recently, in the New York Declaration adopted at the UN Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants in 2016.

Within the UN, Armenia has been consistently supporting the promotion of human rights, including, most notably, through the concept and the practice of prevention. This implies a focus on early action to prevent situations, which, if not addressed, result in conflicts and atrocity crimes. To this end, since 1998, Armenia has been leading the international efforts to underpin the significance of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, as well as to construct solid foundations for prevention. In 2015, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted resolution 69/323 tabled by Armenia, which proclaimed the 9th of December as an International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime. This landmark resolution followed up on resolution 28/34 unanimously adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, upon Armenia’s initiative. High-level events in observance of the 9th of December have since been held regularly at the United Nations and beyond, to pay tribute to those who fell victims of past inaction. The establishment and regular observance of the International Day adds to the continued efforts of Armenia to promote consolidated international action against the crime of genocide.
Armenia is an active advocate for collective rights, including the right of the peoples to self-determination – a fundamental principle of the Charter of the United Nations, also enshrined in the landmark UN documents that constitute the normative and institutional frameworks for the promotion of human rights – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The progressive realization of the inalienable right of peoples to decide upon their own political destinies, as a basic principle of international law, has been a natural process, as demonstrated by the very history of the UN. Founded initially by 51 member states, the UN currently embraces 193 nations, working together on a wide variety of issues of a common global agenda. The right of peoples to self-determination is also indispensable to the realization of the right to development. As a landlocked developing country, whose access to the sea through a neighboring transit country continues to be essentially denied due to an ongoing land blockade, Armenia has been consistently supporting all processes aimed at addressing the detrimental barriers to the realization of the right to development and international cooperation.

Attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) followed by the transition to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been an important priority defining international development cooperation. Armenia has been actively engaged in the process of the formulation of the post-2015 agenda, which culminated in the drafting and the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development endorsed by the world leaders in 2015. Armenia consistently contributed to this global effort by providing inputs, including, most notably, on more than 300 proposed indicators on the SDGs and their targets, for the purposes of an initial assessment in terms of their feasibility, suitability and relevance. As one of the 27 members of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indictors under the UN Statistical Commission, Armenia has been directly engaged in the development of a global indicator framework for monitoring the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda. Armenia has also been active in joining its voice, through group arrangements within the UN, for the purposes of communicating interests and positions, to amplify the focus on the common challenges facing specific groups of countries, including landlocked developing countries, as well as middle-income countries.
The track record of Armenia’s membership in the UN reconfirms its strong commitment to international efforts for peace, security, development and dignity, with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms – the core values that lie at the heart of the Organization. Whether through the works of the General Assembly and other bodies of the UN, or various other platforms of engagement, Armenia has been consistent in building partnerships for cooperation and dialogue. To enhance the UN presence and promote greater engagement and exchange, Armenia, through its representations, continues to invest considerable efforts to organize regular panels, thematic discussions and side events held on the margins of high-level sessions at the UN, as an important platform for dialogue and cooperation to be sustained and further promoted.

Represented by a relatively small mission, the delegates of Armenia have continuously been elected to represent the Member States, across various UN bodies and organs, including, most notably, Armenia’s chairmanship of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) of the UN General Assembly, the UN Commission on the Status of Women, as well as the presidency of Armenia in the Executive Boards of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). At present, Armenia continues to be at the service of the membership, having assumed the Vice-Presidency of the 71st session of the General Assembly. Building on its past record and following the commitment to increase its involvement in the global agenda for peace and security, development and human rights, Armenia has put forward its candidacy for membership in the Economic and Social Council (for the years 2019-2021), the Human Rights Council (for the years 2020-2022), as well as the Security Council (for the years 2032-2033).
Over the years, a growing partnership with the UN has played an important role in reinforcing Armenia’s potential. Today, the UN and its development system continues to play a transformative role in a wide range of areas – from poverty reduction to environment, innovations and social entrepreneurship, disaster risk reduction, the empowerment of women and good governance, towards stronger institutions and citizens increasingly aware of their rights. Armenia’s position on the UN Human Development Index and its progress on the Millennium Development Goals give confidence to continue on the path of strengthening and deepening regional and global partnership and involvement to advance the objectives of a sustainable, peaceful and prosperous future.