Tag Archives: anti-corruption

On 27 January, Impact Hub Yerevan invited everyone to the launch of “The Art of (anti) Corruption” project. This campaign is a year-long series of events in partnership with the European Union. The campaign seeks to raise awareness and educate citizens on the complicated effects of corruption on Armenian society through artistic and cultural interpretations of corruption in the country and beyond. It will use various art forms to break down perceptions that corruption in Armenia is inevitable.
The campaign kicked off with an “Ideathon” evening. The aim of the Ideathon was to bring creative minds together to come up with appropriate messages for the programme to best reach the general public in Armenia.

ARS_5016Piotr Świtalski, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia attended the event and highlighted the importance of the project: ‘The EU is helping Armenia to combat corruption; corruption is one of the greatest obstacles to Armenia’s development both today and tomorrow. We have helped Armenia in different ways and at different levels – we support both government and CSO anti-corruption initiatives. This project is interesting because it’s new, innovative, and important. It’s important because it will use innovation to reach diverse audiences and prepare them for fighting corruption. Combining anti-corruption efforts at different levels Armenia can adopt and use international best practice’.

ARS_4984Sara Anjargolian, Co-founder & CEO of Impact Hub Yerevan, welcomed the EU’s support for the initiative: ‘All of us need to do something about corruption. We decided together that art can act as an effective bridge between different topics. We will work with the European Union over the comingyear and put on various events. This evening we have gathered, people from different spheres, to understand what kind of messages we would like to spread during those events via art’.
Anti-corruption messages will be used during variety of events over the course of the year, including videos, comedy sketches, art exhibitions,cartoons/comics, andTEDx talks.

The first meeting of the government-civil society anti-corruption working group took place on 23 September 2015 within the framework of the “Multi-faceted anti-corruption promotion” project. The meeting was organised by the Armenian Ministry of Justice, the “Armenian Young Lawyers Association” NGO and its partner “Freedom of Information Centre in Armenia” NGO. The project is co-funded by the EU and the OSCE office in Yerevan.
Representatives from the EU Delegation to Armenia and the OSCE office in Yerevan, informational organisations, the Armenian government, other state and local government bodies, civil society organisations (CSO) and other agencies participated in the event.
ARS_8690The Deputy Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation, Jose-Maria Medina Navarro, stressed the importance of anti-corruption initiatives during the event: ‘I want to reiterate how supportive the European Union is in pushing through reforms in support of anti-corruption, civil society and other social institutions. One of the reasons behind the support is the commitment that we have taken bilaterally at the latest summit in Riga. No country or region is free from corruption but we can share the experience and support the positive developments. We need to fight against corruption to diminish its role in the society’.
Deputy Minister of the Armenian Ministry of Justice, Suren Krmoyan, reiterated Navarro’s sentiment: ‘Today is a very important day for all of us… First of all, today, after the anti-corruption coalition’s approval of the 2015-2018 Armenian anti-corruption strategy, is the first time we are presenting and discussing the strategy with CSOs. I want to thank all the representatives of the CSOs for their cooperation during the last year and a half. They participated very actively in all the discussions and supported us very much’.
The main goal of the “Multi-faceted anti-corruption promotion” project is to increase the role of CSOs in the promotion and implementation of anti-corruption reforms. The monitoring skills of CSOs and mass media will be enhanced within the framework of the project. Many anti-corruption meetings will be organised in the Armenian regions for CSOs and mass media in order to help them better perceive the problems of corruption and freedom of information.
The goal of the planned events is to increase opportunities for anti-corruption activities. Small grants will be provided to increase the efficiency of public control and the implementation of monitoring, control and investigative projects. Sustainable CSO-government dialogue will be developed in order to strengthen anti-corruption institutional mechanisms.
The duration of the project is 3 years (January 2014-December 2016). The overall budget of the project is €650,000, € 585,000 of which is being provided by the EU.

An annual anti-corruption award ceremony took place dedicated to International Anti-Corruption Day. Awards in three nominations were presented: citizen of the year, representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and mass media. High-ranking officials from the Armenian government and the EU Delegation to Armenia attended the ceremony, which had been organised within the framework of the EU-funded “Multi-faceted Anti-corruption Promotion” project. The President of the Armenian Young Lawyers Association (AYLA), Karen Zadoyan, provided the backdrop to the EU-funded project, which is aimed at increasing the role of the CSOs in promoting and implementing anti-corruption reforms.
10457481_766367060083892_4414473023282113492_nThe Deputy Minister of Justice, Suren Krmoyan, highlighted the significance of anti-corruption campaigns: ‘Corruption is a global challenge for society: in 2004 it was acknowledged as a threat against humanity which impedes fundamental human rights. The EU has initiated numerous projects in cooperation with local authorities and international organisations intended to provide corresponding support’.
Deputy Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Jose-Maria Medina Navarro, talked about fruitful cooperation between Armenia and the EU: ‘The European Union is a key partner for Armenia, and our areas of cooperation are very large. About two thirds of the total financial support is provided through budget support programmes. Corruption is a threat to humanity as it allocates existing funds unevenly, damages trust in the government, and negatively affects the sustainability of the justice system’. He added that the European Union would continue to offer support in these areas and expressed hope that Armenian side was determined to continue cooperation.
10849938_766367093417222_3531838365367122196_n Mr Krmoyan granted the “Citizen of the Year” award to Hratch Avetisyan, who had been struggling against corruption in the social security sector. Navarro awarded a prize to the “ArmComedy” team for the best coverage of corruption-related issues. The award for best CSO representatives went to the Armenian Chamber of Advocates for successfully protecting professional rights.
The “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project contributes to deepening existing opportunities for anti-corruption activities. Small grants are given to raise the effectiveness of public monitoring and implement appropriate monitoring and investigative activities. The three-year project is funded by the European Union and implemented by AYLA with a total budget of €650,000.

On 6 October 2014, the EU Advisory Group (EUAG) organised a working discussion on the draft Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan. The meeting was aimed at presenting comments and recommendations on the draft and to discuss mechanisms for implementation.

The draft strategy defines the institutional setting of the fight against corruption and outlines the strategic directions of work in the following areas: building and upholding integrity in the public service; promoting transparency and openness; ensuring greater civic participation in decision-making processes; installing strong systems of criminal, administrative and disciplinary liabilities in cases of misconduct; improving the investigation and prosecution of corruption-related crimes.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the state bodies responsible for the development of the strategy, representatives of NGOs and civil society, and international organisations.

The draft strategy also focuses on four additional sectors nominated by the Armenian government as critical: healthcare, education, the police, and state revenue. The working discussion covered compliance of the new Anti- Corruption Strategy with international and EU best practices, and attempted to build upon lessons learned from the implementation of the previous strategy.

The “Golden Key and Rusty Lock” awards took place in Yerevan on 26 September dedicated to International Right to Know Day. The event was organised by the Armenian NGO “Freedom of Information Centre” in cooperation with the Armenian Young Lawyers Association, and was funded by the European Union within the scope of the “Multi-faceted Anti-corruption Promotion” project.

Prime Minister of Armenia Hovik Abrahamyan spoke on the Armenian government’s dedication to freedom of information: ‘The Armenian government is constantly seeking ways out to raise the efficiency of its administrative systems. The Open Government Partnership, which has entered its second stage, is a vivid example of our activity in this area. This project gives an opportunity to establish institutions that will promote citizen’s participation in decision making and policy development. Freedom of information in our country is ensured by law, and we will implement consistent efforts so that administrative transparency can be achieved’.

The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea, focused his comments on corruption: ‘Corruption within the public sector continues to be a large Armenian, indeed a global, challenge. According to recent reports, the world’s poorest countries are deprived of at least $1 trillion each year as a result of the siphoning of cash through money laundering, tax evasion and embezzlement. This is cash that could be spent to enhance citizens’ living standards and provide better and cheaper services and goods’. He added that, in recent years, the political leadership in Armenia had regularly expressed its readiness to fight corruption in public statements, various programmes and strategic documents, as well as through legal reform. On behalf of the European Union he expressed the hope that both an independent oversight system and new anti-corruption strategy would be established in Armenia.

An independent jury awarded institutions noted for transparency and significant anti-corruption activities over the last year with “Golden Key” prizes. Winners included the official website of the Armenian Police (the best official website in terms of access to information), Public Radio of Armenia and yerkir.am portal (contribution to freedom of information in the media). Additionally, the jury awarded two “Rusty Locks” to opaque institutions with poor transparency records: the State Economic University of Armenia (for the most ridiculous official answer) and the State Committee of Real Estate Cadastre of Armenia (the institution that provided the tardiest responses to citizens).

The “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project is funded by the EU with a budget of €650,000. It is aimed at building the capacity of civil society organisations to engage in monitoring and watchdog activities, increase the effectiveness of monitoring of anti-corruption reforms, and strengthen anti-corruption institutional mechanisms. As an overall objective the project planners intend to increase the role of CSOs in promoting anti-corruption reforms.

A working meeting was held on 26 August on the draft of the Republic of Armenia 2014-2018 Anti-Corruption Strategy. Representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) and government attended the meeting. The event was opened by Karen Zadoyan, head of the “Armenian Young Lawyers Association” NGO. He presented the concept behind the anti-corruption strategy, which had been devised with the support and active participation of both civil society and officials.

Zadoyan noted vivid interest in the issue and expressed hope that current activity would raise the effectiveness of the anti-corruption system, highlighting the importance of dialogue between official institutions and civil society.

The Deputy Minister of Justice, Suren Qrmoyan, on behalf of the Armenian Ministry of Justice, said that fighting corruption had been very high on the Armenian government agenda for the last 15 years: ‘Local and international research shows that significant progress has been realised [in Armenia], and we have created a solid judicial foundation. The Armenian government’s participation in numerous international anti-corruption agreements is crucial’.

The Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Hoa-Binh Adjemian, commented on the attitude of the Armenian political leadership: ‘The Armenian government has expressed its readiness to fight corruption through its inclusion in various programmes, strategy documents and the implementation of legal reforms. All branches of state power – legislative, executive and judicial – fully realise the importance of building a society free from corruption. This is a strong claim for change; that said, a change in management is required for this to be implemented as soon as possible’. Hoa-Binh Adjemian also stressed the importance of the inclusion of civil society in anti-corruption measures.

Qrmoyan stated that corruption risk reduction will be expanded to some new areas, included in the new draft – education, healthcare, the police, and state revenue accumulation processes: ‘We have big expectations from this working meeting, as the strategy will soon be concluded. We encourage our partners to express their ideas on the strategy itself and also on more general anti-corruption measures. Having the trust of society is the most important aspect in this process’.

The EU-funded “Multifaceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project is aimed at increasing the role of CSOs in promoting anti-corruption reforms and their implementation. Within the framework of the project, the capacity of CSOs and the media to engage in monitoring and watchdog activities is being built. Small grants are being provided to raise the effectiveness of public monitoring and also implement appropriate monitoring and investigation. The duration of the project is 3 years with a total budget of €650,000.