The 2030 Agenda in Armenia

The 2030 Agenda in Armenia

On the 25th of September 2015, during a historic United Nations summit in New York, more than 150 world leaders signed a document, which defined to a great extent the direction humanity intends to move towards. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development proposed an ambitious plan to transform the world. Shortly after, the agreement came into force. As one of the signatories of the resolution, Armenia will need to adapt the 2030 Agenda, according to its national development strategy and develop a clear plan of implementation.

Text : Karina Ghazaryan


The Global Plan Reloaded
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is comprised of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets. The impressive scale of the initiative does not, however, affect its measurability: all of the ambitious goals and their 169-step breakdown describe scrupulously the particular processes that need to be implemented, the challenges that need to be met and the outcomes that need to be achieved. For Armenia and the rest of the countries, both developed and developing, this is of essential importance: combining economic progress, social justice and environmental awareness. This agenda may become a blueprint for a prosperous future and it emphasizes the role of the member states and their cooperation as a necessary condition for success.
The SDGs have the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as their basis. The previous UN agenda focused on fighting poverty, reducing the expansion of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education. The new Global Goals are designed to go further, encouraging all nations and all countries to unite and defeat poverty hand-in-hand by creating a prosperous climate for economic growth. While the MDGs were aimed towards developing countries, the scope of the SDGs is wider. “These are not goals about poor countries; there is still a long way to go to really achieve sustainable development whether you are a rich country or a poor country”, Jeffrey Sachs, the Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network launched by the UN Secretary General, stated advocating for the SDGs.

On Solid Ground
Essentially, the Global Goals are aiming towards three major accomplishments in 15 years: ending extreme poverty, defeating inequality and injustice and preventing climate change. The agreement is not legally binding. Still, by adopting it, the signatory states took on a responsibility to implement the goals. The data provided by countries serves for regional and global monitoring of the achievement of the SDGs.
A solid data foundation is expected from each and every country in order to evaluate the progress of implementation. Armenia has already had a positive experience in this field: the National Statistical Service proved itself a professional expert in monitoring the achievements and gaps under the MDGs. Furthermore, in 2012 Armenia presented its version of the Sustainable Development Index (SDI), which further shaped the global discourse on sustainable development. At the same time, the UN and its agencies provide methodological and technical support to the countries by developing institutional capacities for the implementation and monitoring of national strategies.

Armenian Outline

Armenia made a significant contribution to the design of the Global Goals. The country presented its experience on sustainable development strategy during the Rio+20, a summit which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The member states of the UN then launched a process to develop a set of new global goals. Armenia was among the first 50 states chosen by the UN to participate in its creation.
In 2013 and 2014, hundreds of Armenians, including young people and those from vulnerable communities, engaged in open discussions of the future SDGs, assisting in their formation. Moreover, Armenia was among the five countries globally to pilot SDG indicators focusing on disaster risk reduction. Given its experience in this area, Armenia was an ideal place for evaluating the weak and strong points during this stage of the agenda.
The SDGs were created to appeal universally but it was clear that particular topics and targets would be of higher priority for a given country with its specific circumstances and needs. By signing the agreement, countries did not pledge to work in a particular way and follow strict prescription. Instead, each member state will need to adapt the document according to its priorities and national goals, creating a unique version of the agenda which would reflect and address very concrete challenges. Armenia will base its plan to interpret the SDGs and targets into action on the country’s national development strategy and the sector-specific policies. The responsibility for implementing the SDGs rests on the government. The National Council for Sustainable Development (established in 2002 and chaired by the Prime Minister) will play a key role in driving the nationalization and the implementation of the SDGs in Armenia.
Armenia demonstrated significant progress in achieving the MDGs, especially in the fields of reducing child mortality, ensuring basic education for everybody and providing access to safe drinking water.
The 2030 Agenda should not be seen as a set of technocratic targets and indicators, but rather as a good opportunity to envision what Armenia could be like by the year 2030.