ICHD policy research team is carefully choosing the most suitable and effective approach to each and every problem. Thus, in the research on the tobacco taxation and illicit tobacco trade issues in Armenia, ICHD experts have mostly focused on individual problems and their solutions with the primary aim to identify the most effective and efficient solution in technical and economic terms for tax raise policy.
Further, while estimating the remittance flows and channels of remittance transfers to Armenia, ICHD analysts focused on political processes and stakeholders involved also addressing the political dimension of the problem. Through this research ICHD team have determined the processes and channels of remittance transfers, analyzed the effects of remittances on poverty in Armenia, explained the role and influence of stakeholders within the policy process and provided policy recommendations to enhance positive effects of remittances on poverty in Armenia.
In assessing the impact of the World Bank and Armenian Government funded Education Quality and Relevance Project ICHD researchers have approached the entire system and context of education in Armenia. The political, economic and socio-cultural contextual factors, as well as sub systems including links of secondary education system with pre-school and high school systems, system of assessing pupils, school graduation and university entrance examinations system, teachers training system, integration of ICT into the teaching and learning process have been considered.
Meanwhile, in each and every policy study and policy research ICHD carried out our experts tried to determine which of various alternative policies will most achieve the area and issue specific goals in light of the relations between the policies and the goals – tried to explain policies and their development, formulated policies and recommendations.
Survey on Health Expenditures in Households and Health Sector Enterprises
Financed by the World Bank, through the Health Project Implementation Unit, this project aimed at a household and health sector enterprise representative survey on health expenditures. ICHD’s survey covered 1,600 households and 500 companies in Yerevan and the regions of Armenia in fall 2006. The results of the survey were presented to the group of experts and professionals in the Ministry of Health of the RA. ..
Employment Policies in South Caucasus Countries: Policy Development Compliant with the EU Employment Strategy
Through this project, supported by the Eurasia South Caucasus Cooperation Project in 2005-2006, ICHD and its partners - Organizational & Technical Development Society (Azerbaijan) and (The Strategic Research Institute) have aligned the national policy papers on social policy and employment of the South Caucasus countries with the European policy documents, conventions and recommendations of the Council of Europe and European Union. The partners have also elaborated a three-years draft plan for policy development in compliance with relevant European standards and published the consolidated results of the study in a three-lingual book “Employment Policy Directions in South Caucasus Countries”. In this endeavor, ICHD experts have reviewed fifteen documents of the Council of Europe and the EU and compared against eight documents adopted by the Government of Armenia, or by the National Assembly of RA in the area of social policy and employment. ICHD also developed a special website for this project at www.employment.ichd.org to provide a broader access of the stakeholders to the policy product. .
Regional Technical Assistance on Remittances and Poverty in Central Asia and South Caucasus
In consortium with the Economic Development Research Center (EDRC), ICHD have implemented this project in Armenia, with the financial support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2006-2008. ICHD experts have estimated the remittance flows in Armenia by origin countries, transfer channels, and recipient household groups and revealed detailed information on key channels of remittance transfers to Armenia. ICHD conducted an in-depth analysis of the effects of remittances on poverty in Armenia and provided policy recommendations to enhance positive effects of remittances on poverty in Armenia. The country report on the financial sector and remittances in Armenia and another report on remittances and poverty in Armenia are available at ICHD. .
Survey on the Drug Use among the General Population in Armenia
In close co-operation with the RA National Statistical Service and the National Institute of Public Health of the RA Ministry of Health, ICHD, supported by the Southern Caucasus Anti-Drug Programme (SCAD), an umbrella project co-sponsored by the European Union and UNDP, conducted a unique nation-wide household survey and relevant research on drug, alcohol and smoking prevalence among general population of Armenia in 2005. The survey, which covered about 4000 people in all regions of Armenia, was designed to reveal the present situation and people's attitude regarding the use of alcohol, illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals and smoking, as well as their perception of drug users, which was the first-in-the-kind undertaking for Armenia. The results and findings of the survey served as a ground for further research and relevant initiatives for health professionals and decision-makers. .
Towards New Leadership: Facilitating the Peaceful Conciliation of Groups´ Interests
In 2004, supported by the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EU), ICHD developed an effective and sustainable scheme dedicated to the improvement of cooperative decision making, conflict management, joint problem solving and leadership practices. The initiative aimed at facilitated a peaceful conciliation of different group interests within the Armenian society. ICHD translated into Armenian and published two best-sellers in conflict studies: “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher and “Peace by Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization” by Johan Galtung. We conducted training workshops to transfer conflict transformation skills and knowledge to a number of present and future decision makers in Armenia. .
Lost potential in the South Caucasus: Aspects of Interstate Trade
Supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and in collaboration with partners in South Caucasus - AREAT Center (Azerbaijan) and the Strategic Research Institute/SRI (Georgia), ICHD have carried out a research consolidating the trends and obstacles of economic development in the South Caucasus in 1992-2002. The partners have developed a paper summarizing the three country specific studies within the framework of the project "Lost Potential in the South Caucasus: Aspects of Interstate Trade" 2002-2003. The publication has identified the main “product groups” for potential trade and helped different businesses to recognize their real losses from the lack of the direct trade between the two of the mentioned countries. .
Improving Poverty Benefit Targeting - Labor Market Aspects
Supported by the World Bank in 2001-2002, ICHD’s study summarized the general trends in the formation and development of the labor market in Armenia comparing them against the processes in selected NIS and Eastern European countries in transition, e.g. Russia, Estonia and the Czech Republic. This comparison of economic indicators was performed in an attempt to identify the general trends and directions in the Armenian labor market and to elaborate policies for effective regulation including the alleviation of the problems of hidden employment and unemployment including registered unemployment. .
Enhancement of Application Possibilities for the System of National Accounts
Supported by the World Bank and in close collaboration with the National Statistical Service of RA, ICHD in 2001, have elaborated a guidebook providing opportunity to the users of various statistical data to get acquainted with the methodology, usage and widespread possibilities of the national accounts system. The guidebook targets a wide range of users. ICHD have also organized a series of seminars on national accounts system. .
Evaluation of the South Caucasus European Commission/Council of Europe Joint Programme
In 2005, ICHD in collaboration with ITAD Ltd (UK) and independent human rights and evaluation specialists in Azerbaijan and Georgia have implemented an independent evaluation study of CoE/EC Joint Programme on human rights and democracy in the South Caucasus. Specifically, ICHD have evaluated the performance of CoE/EC projects in Armenia and provided appropriate recommendations on improving the implementation of the future projects in this area. The evaluation report is available at official site of the joint program at www.jp.coe.int. .
Policy Recommendations for Power Systems Cooperation of the South Caucasus Countries
The tremendous energy potential contained in the South Caucasus region and in its direct surroundings attracts the strongest economic and political interest of the world. All the leading global and regional players are trying to claim a stake for themselves in the region and project their political and strategic influence in the region, which is often difficult to reconcile with the national interests of the South Caucasus states. This stimulates and perpetuates the old local tensions and ambitions, laying the ground for political confrontations, which hamper not only the regional energy opportunities, but more broadly, create fundamental obstacles for economic growth and social development in the region. Supported by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung ICHD have analyzed the existing political conditions and economic opportunities for cooperation among regional power systems, and worked out policy recommendations on the main strategic directions for such cooperation in 2002-2003. .
Directions of Effective Integration of the Energy Systems of the South Caucasus Countries
Supported by the Eurasia Foundation, ICHD and its partners Organizational & Technical Development Society (Azerbaijan) and the Strategic Research Institute (Georgia) once again joined to implement a policy study energy sector in 2003-2004. Through this project the partners have elaborated a set of policy recommendations regarding the power sector of the respective countries. The implementation of these recommendations will entail regional integration in this sector, and the latest in its turn will significantly affect the economies in South Caucasus. ICHD consolidated the outcomes of the study in two books. .
Support for a Tobacco-Free Armenia
Supported by the Open Society Institute, ICHD’s Primary Health Care Unit enhanced the capacities capacity of Armenian policy makers and health professionals on using modern information technologies for raising public awareness and catalyzing a policy change necessary for the well-analyzed economic argumentation for the creation of a tobacco-free environment in Armenia in 2004 – 2007. ICHD experts have carried out a series of economic research and issued a number of research and policy papers targeting the tobacco taxation, evaluation of different scenarios for the tax raise, as well as illicit tobacco trade issues in Armenia. ICHD provided justification of tax raise policies and provided specific recommendations currently available on the Armenian Anti-tobacco Portal at nosmoking.ichd.org. .
Regional Economic Working Group
Supported by the Visit the American University Center for Global Peace Website, ICHD have contributed in the work of the “Regional Economic Working Group” in 2003. The researchers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey engaged in a collaborative task of compiling up-to-date and complete information on the economic possibilities of the South Caucasus region, which would serve as a reliable reference for the potential investors. Numerous research papers have been elaborated through number of panel discussions available at http://www1.american.edu/cgp/track2/rewg.htm. .
Armenia National Capacity Self-Assessment for Global Environmental Management
With the support of UNDP/GEF (Global Environment Facility) Armenian government has initiated and implemented a part of the Armenia National Capacity Self Assessment for Global Environment Management Project - “Institutional Management Strengthening Objectives in Communities” to identify the priority needs of Armenia for global environmental management and develop a plan of action for implementing the commitments of the country in the framework of three UN environmental conventions: Biodiversity, Climate Change and Combating Desertification. ICHD’s research in 2003 – 2004, focused on diverse issues both in terms of the implementation of the conventions and the assessment of national capacity needs, an effort requiring a coordinated approach. ICHD team identified the national capacity needs for strengthening the institutional management both on regional and local community levels addressing the issues in a synergistic manner. .
Environment Examination for the Creation of a Business Register
ICHD created a new business register of enterprises in Armenia in 2002. A nation-wide survey was carried out covering over 80% of enterprises in Armenia. The database is currently used by the National Statistical Service and provides wider and more precise basis for statistical analysis and forecast of this key institution. .
Licensing Requirements to Operate a Business in Armenia
The lack of comprehensive information is a real obstacle for launching a new business activity requiring licensing. Supported by the EU TACIS, ICHD experts streamlined and clarified the procedures on acquiring licenses in 2000-2001. The policy research provides the potential applicants with clear understanding of whether licenses are required for the operation of their business and how to acquire them. The results of the study are available at www.licensing.ichd.org. .
Women’s Role and Status in Armenian Society
It is clear that in order to establish a democratic state based on fair legal and social grounds, it is imperative to engage women in the political, economic, social and religious spheres of Armenia, and in effect, obliterate discrimination and inequality. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, men and women share equal rights and liberties. Unfortunately, in the Armenian society these rights and liberties are somehow overlooked. Women play a vital role in the Armenian society, and there is a need to match the declared legal and existing socio-legal situation.
Supported by the German Embassy in Armenia in 2000, ICHD conducted analysis of women’s role and status in Gyumri, the center of Shirak region in North-West Armenia which suffered a devastating earthquake in 1988, as well as the consequences of the earthquake on the gender issues by a comprehensive survey. .
Privatization of State - Owned Tobacco Enterprises in Armenia
ICHD experts analyzed the impact of the privatization on the tobacco industry in 2001. The research paper tried to answer such questions, as: Comparing the periods before and after divestiture, which significant economic variables changed? Did the privatization process increase consumption? Did quality and distribution improve? What happened to product prices? ICHD experts have considered economic factors, and their impact on different interest groups: the state, the producers and the public. This was the first attempt to create a case study on the privatization of Armenian tobacco industry. .
Consolidating the Experience of Armenian-Turkish Track Two Diplomacy
Having accumulated rich experience in the sphere of Track Two Diplomacy (Unofficial or Public Diplomacy) projects, ICHD supported by Eurasia Foundation, in 2006, initiated evaluation of past experiences in T2D projects implemented in Armenia since 2001. These were projects devoted to Armenian-Turkish reconciliation and implemented with the sponsorship of various international organizations, including US agencies. The evaluation reveals that the projects have mainly relied on theories, while a serious lack in practical guidelines has been registered. Therefore, some of these projects recorded successes, whereas some others had a neutral impact. There was also the third group which ended with failure. The evaluation identified the strengths and weaknesses of these T2D projects and came up with a set of recommendations for future implementers. The project outcomes have been consolidated in a manual titled "Best Practices" which highlights the activities that can be used in the future and the mistakes that need to be avoided. An independent feasibility study for the continuation of the MANEC project was carried out. This study identified the existing opportunities for utilizing the potential of MANEC B2B/BRC project, ensuring its effective performance and sustainability. .
Education Quality and Relevance Project
By the request and support of the Government of Armenia and the World Bank in 2009, ICHD experts have assessed the impact of the World Bank and Armenian Government funded Education Quality and Relevance Project. The political, economic and socio-cultural contextual factors, as well as sub systems including links of secondary education system with pre-school and high school systems, system of assessing pupils, school graduation and university entrance examinations system, teachers training system, integration of ICT into the teaching and learning process have been considered. .
Assessment of Cooperation Potential in Syunik Region of Armenia
By the request and support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), ICHD provided expertise in the assessment of cooperation potential in Syunik region of Armenia in 2009. The assessment team collected, compiled and analyzed relevant information, at local, district, regional and national level, as well as formulated its findings and recommendations as to form the base for a tender process for the new SDC project. The assessment focused on the income basis for the rural population in Syunik (in particular in the agricultural sector, but also in narrowly associated non agricultural rural activities) and assessed ways and means to improve and diversify it. The team concentrated on the strengths and weaknesses of the current income basis and analyzed all its constraints and potentials. “Value chains” are important key words here, as we deal with somehow remote regions, without easy access to market in-formation and market infrastructure. While assessing the region’s potential for the new projects the team identified, special attention was dedicated to the three following points of approach: how to create a conducive business environment for farmers; how to do so in a (natural disasters) risk conscious manner; and, how to improve the local governance, like e.g. local governments’ support for a conducive business environment. .
Anti-Corruption Participatory Monitoring
In 2005 UNDP Armenia developed an Anti-Corruption Participatory Monitoring Methodology (APMM) in health and education sectors in response to the anti-corruption strategy worked out by the Armenian Government. This document recognizes the role of participation of the civil society in anti-corruption initiatives and, in particular, in monitoring the implementation of this strategy. UNDP established a Task Force on methodology, established civil society anti-corruption community groups in eight regions of the country, established sectorial anti-corruption consultative groups and raised the public awareness regarding the Government’s anti-corruption strategy and civic participation issues.
ICHD was engaged in this initiative since the very beginning of the process, first through contributing expertise to the Task Force on Methodology and later coordinating the implementation of the project in Yerevan. It worked with 15 community members who volunteered in the project and conducted a comprehensive survey in 3 medical institutions and 6 secondary schools in Yerevan.
Violence against women is one of the worst forms of violation of human rights prevalent all over the world. Women face gender-based violence (GBV) in workplaces, educational institutions, rural and urban communities. They are exposed to GBV irrespective of their ethnic or religious background, social status, economic standing, age, or other condition. The violence is particularly rampant when it occurs at home, a place where women are supposed to be provided with safe family environment.more >>
The current policy brief aimed at analyzing the monitored online print media outlets in cases when they covered the topic of sex selection and articles that were broadly linked to the value of girls and women. The content of web-based media outlets have been scrutinized to identify any statements or reporting that could have had distorted, untruthful or prejudicial elements against women or men. All these aspects were separately analyzed quantified and also handpicked, allowing analyzing the level of stereotypical reporting either as a media intention or as an absence of intention, leading to unobstructed penetration of prejudicial statements widely circulated in the society and back by reinstating the current state of the affairs.more >>
The publication is available only in Armenian.
The current policy brief aimed at analyzing the monitored online print media outlets in cases when they covered the topic of sex selection and articles that were broadly linked to the value of girls and women. The content of web-based media outlets have been scrutinized to identify any statements or reporting that could have had distorted, untruthful or prejudicial elements against women or men. All these aspects were separately analyzed quantified and also handpicked, allowing analyzing the level of stereotypical reporting either as a media intention or as an absence of intention, leading to unobstructed penetration of prejudicial statements widely circulated in the society and back by reinstating the current state of the affairs.
The findings that are discussed in the report, show the strong and weak points of media outlets under consideration and suggest policy actions to make sure that unintentional framing at the detriment of any of the social groups does not penetrate the news media and provide opportunities for all stakeholders to deliberate topics of public concern in the most accurate and credible ways possible.