Tag Archives: EU Ambassador to Armenia Andrea Wiktorin

On 30 November, the EU Ambassador to Armenia Andrea Wiktorin participated in the closing ceremony of the EU-funded “Access to Renewable and Efficient Energy in Municipalities Vayk and Spitak” project, implemented by Habitat Armenia in partnership with Spitak and Vayk Municipalities.

The Ambassador highlighted the importance of energy-efficiency activities in Armenia: “This is an important event. In March the EU launched a High-Level Energy Efficiency Initiative to deliver on reforms and increase energy-efficiency capacity. Political engagement at the highest level is needed to make this a success, to reduce energy consumption, to improve citizens’ health and living standards and combat climate change. Increased awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency by decision makers is key. We all understand it is high time we engaged in this direction. Armenia is moving forward on its sustainable energy pathway with strong support from the EU; we are actively collaborating with the Government and all stakeholders”.

Since December 2014 the Habitat for Humanity Armenia Foundation has been implementing the “Access to Renewable and Efficient Energy in Municipalities Vayk and Spitak” project with the financial support of the EU. The main purpose of the project was to assist the municipalities of Spitak and Vayk to develop and test energy-saving models through energy-efficiency measures and the use of solar energy in public and residential buildings. During the project, detailed energy audits in 16 residential buildings and Vayk Culture House were carried out; studies into building maintenance services, energy-efficiency awareness, and residents’ willingness to participate in the project were carried out in 45 residential buildings; technical assessments and evaluations were undertaken in 57 residential buildings. All these studies have shown that residential and public buildings in Vayk and Spitak did not meet current energy-efficiency standards. In total, energy-efficiency improvements were carried out in 45 residential buildings (12 in Vayk, 33 in Spitak) and in 2 public buildings (Vayk Culture House and Spitak Nursery #2). The total project budget was €1,687,539, of which the European Union contribution was €1,350,000.

On 15 November, the EU Ambassador to Armenia Andrea Wiktorin participated in the “Challenges and Reform: Human Rights in Closed Institutions” conference, which was organised within the framework of the EU-supported “A Public Glimpse into a Closed World: Increasing Awareness on the Human Rights Situation in Closed Institutions” project. The conference presented the results of a 2-year project, funded by the European Union (EU), co-funded by the Open Society Foundation Armenia and implemented by Public Journalism Club (PJC) and Investigative Journalists (IJ/HETQ). The conference included two panel discussions: the human rights situation in closed institutions of Armenia and human rights issues revealed by investigative journalists.

The EU Ambassador was impressed with the results of the project: “I want to thank all who are implementing this important project, who are contributing and shedding light on one of the most sensitive issues in the human rights sector. I am impressed to see so many journalists interested and taking part in the project; I highly appreciate the project’s media angle. It is easy to say that the government has to change the situation but civil society also has a responsibility. Change will only occur if we discuss the issue publicly – it is not enough just to change the law, we need to change the mindset of the society”.

The Co-founder of PJC, Seda Muradyan, thanked the participants of the conference: “About two years ago when we launched the project in Armenia it was a different political situation; now the situation has changed drastically. During our project the Government of Armenia has changed and there have been major changes in the ministries which deal with this sector. However, this process has not prevented us from achieving the goals set before us, as our supporters were with us. We hope that human rights will become part of our national value system”.

The conference was followed by an award ceremony for media coverage of human rights situations in closed institutions, special care facilities, mental health centres, special schools, and the army. “A Public Glimpse into a Closed World: Increasing Awareness on the Human Rights Situation in Closed Institutions” was launched in December 2017 to shed more light on the daily life of Armenians living in closed institutions. The total project budget is €278,072, of which the European Union contribution is €264,168.