The forum on local democracy in Armenia has brought together over 200 mayors, representatives of the national government and the Parliament, as well as international agencies and experts, to build a dialogue on the new territorial structure taking shape in Armenia today and discuss issues related to decentralisation of powers and finances. The forum was organised jointly by the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development and the Communities Association of Armenia (CAA), under the auspices of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe with the financial support of the Government of Switzerland.
Welcome speeches were delivered by Davit Lokyan, Minister of Territorial Administration and Development of Armenia, Natalia Voutova, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan and Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, who was on a three-day official visit to Armenia.
Minister Lokyan has welcomed the participants stating that “It is clear that the President and the authorities of Armenia are very much interested to have strong and functional local governments able to deliver services to their citizens. The local government system in Armenia is a well-established one, which has steadily developed during the past 21 years. We cannot say however that we have already tackled all the problems that exist in our local governments. I believe that the reforms that we have started several years ago are one of the best paths which will result in improved services and prosperity in our communities”.
Natalia Voutova, Head of the Council of Europe office in Yerevan, has stressed that “Local democracy and decentralization is one of the key areas of the Council of Europe Action Plan to support democratic reforms in the Republic of Armenia for 2015 – 2018. Hence our commitment to working with the Government of Armenia, the communities and the Communities Association of Armenia to promote institutionalised dialogue and cooperation for advancing local democracy and application of the provisions of the Charter of Local Democracy in Armenia”.
Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, President of the Congress, has congratulated the stakeholders of local democracy of Armenia on the occasion of the national day of local self-governance “'I can see that central and local governments in Armenia unite their efforts for strengthening local governance. We hope that this forum will contribute to that dialogue. Not all countries celebrate the local self-government day. By doing so, and by launching an open discussion on decentralisation, Armenia demonstrates its commitment to bringing democracy to its local communities,” said the President of the Congress.
To mark the national Local Self-Government Day and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Communities Association of Armenia the Forum was concluded by an award ceremony to announce the winners of the 'Best Community' competition.