Tag Archives: the Head of the Cooperation section of the EU Delegation in Armenia

The European Union attaches importance to and supports sustainable energy in Armenia. Developing renewable energy, particularly solar energy, is crucial for enhancing energy security and independence, solving communities’ energy sustainability and environmental issues, and increasing energy efficiency to transition to “green cities”. 4-8 June marked Sustainable Energy Week in Armenia, which were organised under the EU4Energy initiative. This year Sustainable Energy week was full of events focused on raising awareness of energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

 Sustainable energy and energy efficiency

ARS_9879On 4 June an open-air exhibition on sustainable energy and energy efficiency was held in Aparan, Aragatsotn marz to mark the start of Sustainable Energy Week. Energy solutions, products and services available in the Armenian market were presented, including sustainable energy projects currently under way in Armenia and useful information on community participation in these projects. Interactive training, educational and awareness-raising sessions for schoolchildren and general public were also organised.

ARS_0058Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of the Cooperation section of the EU Delegation in Armenia, stressed the importance of sustainable energy: ‘The EU will continue to support Armenia’s future. Armenian families spend 20% of their family budget on energy. Studies show that you can save up to a third of these costs by making the right investment to save energy – you save both money and the planet. The responsibility to protect the environment is on all of our shoulders. The EU will help you to learn how to consume less energy and enjoy a better life’.

The venue for the exhibition was carefully chosen to reflect the new phases of the “EU for Armenia’s Sustainable Energy” project, which will focus on renewable energy in Aparan and Artik. These will be implemented by the NGOs “Foundation to Save Energy” (ESF) and the “Union of Communities of Armenia” (UCA). In Aparan, photovoltaic panels will be used on rooftops to connect to the power grid. The community has requested this be implemented in a public building where it will be possible to ensure energy savings for the whole community. In Artik, solar panels and green tariffs will be introduced alongside a large-scale outreach and capacity-building campaign, involving the private sector.

Sustainable energy development prospects in Armenia

On 6 June the “Sustainable energy development prospects in the Armenian communities” conference took place in Yerevan. Conference participants discussed sustainable energy development prospects, legislative and financial frameworks, public-private partnerships, and renewable energy opportunities in Armenia. The results of EU-funded projects were also presented.

ARS_0576Hoa-Binh Adjemian attended the conference and stressed EU commitment to sustainability: ‘Energy efficiency and energy security is one of the four priorities of collaboration between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries, Armenia in particular. In the last ten years the EU has invested a lot of money in this, and a wide variety of beneficiaries have benefited. Why are we interested in energy efficiency? Because it contributes to sustainability and rewards investments after 4-7 years’.

Yerevan energy efficiency

Finally, to conclude the full week of outreach events on sustainable energy, on 8 June the European Union, European Investment Bank (EIB), the Eastern European Energy Efficiency and Environmental Partnership (E5P) and the United Nations Development Program/Green Climate Fund (UNDP/GCF) gathered for “One day at Kindergarten” at the municipal kindergarten #110, which is one of the 147 kindergartens that will undergo energy efficiency retrofitting in the next three years, with the first sub-sovereign IFI loan extended by EIB to Yerevan Municipality, and grant co-financing by E5P and UNDP/GCF.

ARS_1204The EIB and E5P marked the SEW2018 with signing of the E5P grant agreement in the amount of €5 million to support the implementation of energy efficiency improvements in combination with renewable energy technologies, enhanced seismic resilience and accessibility of kindergartens. 29 municipal kindergartens will be renovated, and 118 kindergartens will undergo energy-efficiency and seismic-stability checks. This should create safer environments for children, teachers, and other employees. The total cost of the project is €15 million, from which the EIB disburses a loan of €7 million signed on 2017, the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) will provide €5 million in grants, and the Yerevan Municipality will provide €2 million in co-funding. Additionally, the Green Climate Foundation will provide a loan of €1 million.

ARS_1163E5P General Manager Eva Maniko highlighted the key aspects of the project: ‘The contributors have selected this project as it will have a positive environmental effect. Socially, new technologies, such as solar panels, will have an impact. This is not the first project of E5P but it is the largest grant we have given to any project in Armenia. E5P is also financing the Yerevan Solid Waste Project, the Yerevan Street Lighting Project and the Kotayk Solid Waste Management Project’.

Read more on the EU Delegation’s webpage: https://goo.gl/QX75cQ 

On 17 November Gyumri hosted the two-day “Empowering Regions through High Tech” conference. The conference was organised by the Enterprise Incubator Foundation and Gyumri Technology Centre in partnership with the Armenian government, Shirak Governor, Gyumri Municipality, and the “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (SMEDA) project. SMEDA is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ’s Private Sector Development in the South Caucasus Programme. SMEDA is part of the EU4Business and EU4Innovation initiatives of the European Union.
150 young people from across Armenia with an interest in technological education, engineering, programming and innovation participated in the conference. There were 3 panel discussions: “Business Environment Support”, “Business Mindset Development in the Regions” and “Education Advancement as a Base for the Future of Armenia”. Different IT workshops were also conducted by international and local experts.
The Gyumri Technology Centre, which opened in 2014, aims to increase opportunities for employment through technological education. The main goal is to stop brain drain from Shirak marz to Yerevan and thus boost regional development through technology. The conference organisers believe that other Armenian marzes also have the potential to be stronger and more sustainable through technological empowerment. Using Shirak marz and Gyumri as an example, the conference gave a space to exchange experience with other marzes and motivate young people to get involved in technology. It is hoped that these young people will be inspired to be part of positive change in their own marz instead of migrating to Yerevan, create jobs in the regions, and support the decentralisation of high tech.

ARS_8381Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of the Cooperation section of the EU Delegation in Armenia, spoke of the importance of regional development: ‘It is an honour for me to be in this beautiful city again to confirm the EU’s commitment to equal growth in Armenia. Equal growth means growth in both Yerevan and the regions. Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, was here a month ago, Lawrence Meredith, the Director of “Neighbourhood East” in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, was here a week ago, and we had a very close discussion with the government to concentrate on and to increase support to the Armenian marzes. We are waiting for the guidance from the government to identify marzes for pilot activities’.

ARS_8237Karen Karapetyan, the Armenian Prime Minister, welcomed students and congratulated them on the occasion of International Students’ Day: ‘In Armenia, we have a goal to develop the high-tech field as one of the priorities of our economy; it has great potential for attracting and exporting investments. At the same time, regional and community development is key to Armenia’s economic development vision. The combination of these two can provide the desired result. The Gyumri Technology Centre is a good example of how to establish and develop a company in the marzes that promotes the development of technical and business skills, innovative research and development in the high-tech field, commercialises talent, and transforms it into successful businesses. Over 3 years the Technology Centre has already created about 200 jobs, has about 100 beneficiaries, and is preparing more than 500 specialists annually. There are 25 local and foreign organisations in the centre. Many of them are exporting their solutions outside Armenia. Our citizens, the city and marz benefit from all this, and this process is having a positive effect on the development of our country’s economy’.