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The EU Delegation to Armenia, in cooperation with the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the Tumo Centre for Creative Technologies, and the Estonian Embassy, organised the “e-Armenia” conference on 29 September 2015. The conference brought together relevant stakeholders to give an overview of the concept of e-Governance (e-Gov), discuss the progress in the sector, and explore potential future developments.
E-Gov initiatives implemented in Armenia have brought about a noticeable change in developing cost-efficient and transparent e-services. To date, EU support to the sector has included the introduction of “Mulberry”, an electronic document management system in government institutions, a tax payer and tax statements submission electronic system, the electronic civil status register, a one-stop-shop vehicle registration system, an automated driver’s licence issuing system, and online traffic fine tracking and payment systems.
ARS_9977Piotr Switalski, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, emphasised the ongoing and future initiatives: ‘I am very glad that the EU emblem is so visible today in the context of the e-Governance and the future of Armenia. The EU has consistently supported initiatives and programmes to introduce elements of e-governance to Armenia. The list of these projects is very long: an e-visa system, online business registry, e-police, etc. These are real assets and achievements for the Armenian government and Armenian institutions. The EU remains commited and wants to continue enhancing e-Governance models further in Armenia. I am so grateful that Estonia is providing its valuable experience. Estonia has achieved much, not only in this region but in the whole European context. It shows that a small country can build an image of being a leader by investing in future-orientated segments of economy and governance. It is a very good example for Armenia’.
ARS_9895The Armenian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of International Economic Integration and Reforms, Vache Gabrielyan, confirmed Armenia’s commitment: ‘The Armenian government pays great attention to the development of the electronic systems in the private sector, as well as in the government itself. Our aim is to make electornic services more avaliable to the public. In this regard, I think that these sorts of conferences are very important as we can have very important discussions, such as Estonia’s experience with e-Governance. Being a small country, they have made big achievements in this field. However, Armenia also has made achievements worth talking about. We have not only encouraged good experience and innovations, but also created a common resource to which everybody can contribute to and from which they can benefit’.
ARS_9913Vasken Yacoubian, an AGBU board member, talked about the importance of the conference: ‘When we had discussions with representatives ftom the EU Delegation to Armenia, we concluded that this event had two main goals. The first is to introduce e-Governance to the wider public and to describe what it is. The second is to discuss how we can use this platform for the Armenian Diaspora. We think that this platform is so important as it helps governance to become more transparent and make boundaries disappear’.
The participants of the conference discussed next steps, which include making information and services as user friendly and accessible as possible by harmonising different systems, and exploring potential cooperation with the Diaspora. Speakers at the conference included government officials, representatives from the Diaspora, IT experts, representatives of international organisations, and other relevant stakeholders.