Tag Archives: budget

The EU actively supports government transparency and accountability in Armenia. As part of these efforts, Oxfam and the Economic Development and Research Center (EDRC) are currently implementing a project to increase civil society and media’s understanding of government budgeting and spending in social sectors. The objective is to increase civil society participation in discussions on government policies and annual government funding priorities. On 28-29 July 2016, Armenian government officials and civil society representatives discussed the budget allocations for service delivery to the elderly and people with disabilities at home and at day care centres in the Armenian regions.
At-home care and social services, including household, medical, socio-psychological, legal and other services, are being provided to 3,300 senior citizens and citizens with disabilities through two public budget programmes.
A budgetary evaluation has been undertaken as part of the EU-funded “Increasing civil society participation in national policy dialogue in Armenia” project. This service provision evaluation was recently presented and published as a report.
CSOs advocate and campaign for pro-poor reforms
Margarita Hakobyan, the Head of Oxfam Armenia, stated that 40 civil society organisations (CSOs) had been involved in the implementation of the project, and had actively participated in discussions and the research process: ‘The project is aimed at empowering CSOs to advocate and campaign for pro-poor reforms and engage in effective, transparent and substantial policy dialogue with the Government of Armenia, based on the monitoring of public budgets and national policies for agriculture, health and social protection. Within the framework of the CSPNPD [ed. civil society participation in the national policy dialogue] project, EDRC is making simplifications to state budgets for agriculture, healthcare and social protection. EDRC is carrying out activities aimed at increasing budget literacy and building the analytical capacity of CSOs, as well as monitoring and evaluation of implemented policies and selected budget programmes’.
Sona Harutyunyan, the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, spoke about the research and the special methodology developed: ‘Very thorough analysis was undertaken during the evaluation. We have graphics that reflect the true picture of the situation, and geographical findings on the elderly and their age. Most importantly, we have clear recommendations. If these are taken into account, they could significantly improve the quality of beneficiary selection, raise awareness about support, and lead to better targeted services for specific criteria and groups’.
The results of the evaluation stress that public policy reforms for at-home social care services are urgent. Efforts to extend social (namely – household) services should continue, but approaches for the provision of medical assistance need to be adjusted. Programme funding is insufficient to provide high-quality and comprehensive services to beneficiaries. Therefore, the best current option is to reduce the number of beneficiaries as a result of funding constraints. Provision of full-scale services to a smaller number of the most vulnerable elderly citizens will have large positive social impact. Other recommendations focus on increasing the efficiency of at-home social services.

On 21 October a governmental session was convened at the Armenian Ministry of Economy to discuss EU budget support programmes, as well as future proposals.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea, expressed his appreciation for projects implemented until today: ‘The EU is Armenia’s largest assistance donor, and has been actively supporting Armenia since its independence. In July the EU announced a further package of assistance to Armenia in 2014-2017 focusing on private sector development, public administration reform and justice sector reform. Both sides are committed to further cooperation aimed at the continuous improvement of democratic institutions and judiciary, the promotion of human rights and rule of law, good governance, the fight against corruption, the strengthening the civil society, as we declared in Vilnius nearly a year ago.’
IMG_1326The Minister of Economy Karen Chshmarityan noted: ‘We tend to deepen our relations with the European Union and to expand the fields covered by the EU Budget Support. Today we have gathered here to summarise the Budget Support activities that were carried out so far. Budget Support is one of the key support instruments that the EU provides to Armenia and corresponding research shows that it is also one of the most efficient ones’.
EU budget support offers a platform for dialogue with a partner country (including government, national control bodies, and civil society) on policies and on their financing, objectives and results. This is consistent with the principles of ownership, transparency and accountability. Budget support is provided as a “vector of change” to address key development challenges. The EU provides budget support to the Republic of Armenia in the areas of economic development, education, justice reforms and rural development.
With the support of the European Union, Armenia has so far managed to improve the vocational and educational training through better courses, aligned with the labour market needs, as well as renovated colleges and a 50% increase in the number of available places for students. Efforts are ongoing for the development of agricultural cooperatives, and the improvement of the judicial and penitentiary systems in the country. Moreover, with EU support Armenia introduced an e-civil registry system for electronic management of birth, death, marriage, divorce or adoption certificates, and is now issuing biometric passports to all citizens. There have also been a multitude of other technical improvements affecting fields as varied as internal audit, public procurement, public accounting, food safety, public debt management, intellectual property rights, or customs procedures, to name but a few.