Following Armenia’s accession to the Council of Europe in January 2001, an Information Office of the Council of Europe was founded in Yerevan, Armenia, in December 2002, based on the (99)9 decision of the Council of Europe (CoE) Committee of Ministers. The CoE Information Office was officially opened on 8 July 2003 and operated in Armenia until its closure on 31 December 2010. During this period, the Information Office disseminated information concerning CoE activities and goals, organized events and seminars, and translated and published CoE texts and documents.
Since December 2002, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe has also appointed his Special Representative to the Republic of Armenia. The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) was tasked to establish necessary contacts with national authorities, the international community, and with representatives of civil society; and to promote CoE policies and activities related to Armenia’s membership to the CoE, especially in its commitments and obligations.
In the framework of Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland’s visit to Armenia on 17 April 2013 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian, on the establishment of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan and its legal status, based on Resolution (2010)5 on the status of Council of Europe Offices adopted by the CoE Committee of Ministers in July 2010. The enhanced CoE Office in Yerevan represents the Secretary General vis-à-vis national authorities; promotes and supports policies and activities of Armenian authorities, as well as those of the CoE bodies, related to Armenia’s membership to the CoE; and supports national authorities in the planning and timely implementation of targeted CoE cooperation activities. The MoU has entered into force on 3 July 2013.
The new status of the CoE Office provides for an enhanced cooperation between Yerevan and Strasbourg, including through locally managed projects in the areas of human rights, rule of law, and democracy. The Office in Yerevan facilitates the implementation of CoE country-specific programmes, as well as regional and joint programmes with the EU and other donors, based on CoE Action Plan for Armenia 2015-2018 which is a package of priority actions aimed at assisting Armenia to bring its legislation, institutions, and practice in line with European standards. In this process, the Office closely cooperates with Armenian authorities, the international community, and civil society in Armenia to ensure effective assistance.