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The EU received 40 project proposals following its Armenia-Georgia call for proposals for joint cross-border projects. 8 winners were announced and signed grant contracts for implementing joint cross-border projects on 25 September 2015.
The winning projects are aimed at finding joint solutions to common social and economic development challenges in the border regions of Armenia and Georgia. These challenges include economic development, in particular attracting investment to Kvemo Kartli in Georgia and Tavush in Armenia, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, improvement of solid waste management, development of innovative cross-border tourist routes, and natural resource conservation in Samstkhe-Javakheti in Georgia and Shirak in Armenia. Additionally, specific focus has been paid to youth issues: civic education, youth employment and strengthening relations among teenagers from Gyumri in Armenia and Bolnisi in Georgia.
The EU has allocated €1.35 million to Armenia-Georgia territorial cooperation. Among the winners, four grant contracts were awarded each to Georgian and Armenian development partners for cross-border regional development.
ARS_8808The Representative of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Monika Papyan, spoke about the difficulty of the grants process: ‘I want to congratulate all the participants and winners of the programme. I remember when in the beginning when we were thinking about whether the project would be successful or not. Now we see that all the effort was worth it. I know how difficult the programme was for all the applicants, because the EU’s requirements are very high – it was not easy for all the applicants in the beginning, especially for the winners’.
On 23-24 September introductory training was provided to the successful applicants. The trainees learned practical tips for grant contracts and project implementation methodology, financial and procurement rules, visibility and communication issues, and reporting and monitoring requirements, as well as specific the national requirements of the two countries. Grantees enjoyed individual consultations on grant-management issues.
Vache Terteryan, the Armenian First Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations, expressed his support for the grants process: ‘This project has a history – we worked together with our colleagues from Georgia, as well as people form the regions where we are going to implement the projects. After the signing ceremony, the start of the projects will be announced and I have no doubt that all of them will be successful. We hope that we will have other similiar projects beacuse these kind of projects are the best way to integrate into the European family’.
ARS_8949The Armenia-Georgia territorial cooperation programme has been the first of four programmes in the Eastern Partnership to launch a grants competition and identify winning projects.
The goal of the Eastern Partnership territorial cooperation programme is to create a favourable environment for territorial cooperation along the borders of Moldova-Ukraine, Armenia-Georgia, Azerbaijan-Georgia and Belarus-Ukraine with due regard to the specifics of each border area.