A new three-year project in the field of local democracy was launched as part of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia 2012-2014. The project is funded by the Government of Denmark and enjoys the support of the Government of Armenia.
The project “Support to Consolidating Local Democracy in Armenia” was presented in Yerevan by Armen Gevorgyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Territorial Administration, and by Council of Europe representatives Knud Andersen, Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Alfonso Zardi, Head of Democratic Governance and Institutions Department, and Oleksandr Pavlyuk, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan. The event was attended by other government representatives, as well as representatives of local authorities and their associations, the international community and local NGOs.
While providing support to the central government on the local self-government reform, including the territorial-administrative reform, the project will assist in parallel the local communities through activities on public ethics, citizen participation, human resource management, and leadership development for mayors. It ultimately aims at spreading knowledge of good practice and European standards in local democracy in Armenia.
“Consolidation of local democracy is substantially enhanced by conditions ensuring a more active citizen participation in the formation of local authorities and a more demanding attitude toward the activity of their elected bodies. In the center of our attention are the decentralization of powers, the enlargement of the competences of local self-government bodies, the effective implementation of the principles of participation and transparency, and eventually the expansion of the size and quality of services delivered,” Minister Gevorgyan said in his opening remarks.
“Today local authorities have the primary responsibility to respond to the needs and issues of concern of the citizens” stated Knud Andersen, Vide-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. “The Congress – he continued - is deeply committed to provide assistance to local authorities in their daily effort not only to provide services to the citizens, but also to inspire the life of the community and shape their values. This project is designed to reinforce the standards of local democracy in Armenia and to disseminate principles of good governance”.
“The Council of Europe acknowledges that the Government of Armenia resolves its commitment to local government reform and is happy to contribute to it through legal assistance and capacity building initiatives. We will continue providing expertise based on best European practice and innovation,” said Mr. Zardi, Head of the Council of Europe Democratic Governance and Institutions Department.
The project will develop over a period of three years and is expected to involve several dozen Armenian communities throughout the country.