Armenia has been facing refugee issues since late 20th century. As a result of ethnic cleansings and mass killings of ethnic Armenians, the war and military actions in the Republic of Artsakh and neighbouring territories in 1988, the Armenian SSR was compelled to deal with the large migration flows from Sumgait, Kirovabad, Baku and other towns and villages in Azerbaijan SSR. In parallel to the addressing the devastating consequences of the earthquake in Spitak and other towns and villages in the north of the country, and handling the issues of the displaced persons from the disaster zone, the Armenian government had to find solutions for providing at least basic accommodation to the displaced persons from Azerbaijan, who comprised about 1/6 of its own population. Since the number of people having emigrated to Azerbaijan from Armenia was considerably smaller, than the number of those having emigrated or escaped from Azerbaijan to Armenia, the issue of providing sufficient accommodation to the latter was indeed a critical issue, and eventually it compelled some emigrants, refugees and displaced persons to emigrate to socially and economically more developed countries.



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There is an obvious dichotomy between the two aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic: healthcare and economy. The subsequent actions of the Armenian government and the messages it communicates are therefore contradicting as well. At the early stage of the pandemic the key message was clear: "We need to overcome the pandemic together and only then shall we think of the economic recovery". The quarantine in Armenia did not yield the anticipated results. Thus, without addressing the first issue, we have already targeted the other priority, i.e. mitigating the economic consequences of the pandemic. However, currently, there is no relevant clear message, and the responsibility of dealing with the dilemma of healthcare and economy is essentially on an individual. Such a burden may be too heavy for an individual, and in the result, they will start ignoring (totally or partially) one priority at the expense of the other. At the moment, it seems that it is the pandemic that is being ignored, with all the consequent potential perils. In the future, in case SARS-CoV-2 spreads more, people will start ignoring the economy. Therefore, we are facing a huge risk of failing in both sectors.

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The COVID-19 pandemic immediately revealed the real state of secondary education in Armenia, and it appeared that overall, it was not as 'ugly', as most believed. Within a week after 16 March, 2020, when the government declared a state of emergency, about 80% of 1360 secondary schools in Armenia turned 'virtual', delivering the educational process on distance, with the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). The government was able to mobilize all the ICT and educational resources available in a rather short time, develop additional resources, and in parallel, identify technical gaps, including availability of computers or other gadgets necessary for teachers and students to engaged in distance learning.

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This policy brief should have started with a brief overview of a range of health and economic consequences, juxtaposed in a number of different probable scenarios which would have described the spread of COVID-19 in Armenia. A number of recommendations would have followed, based on this analytical overview. However, we will restrain from such an exercise, because there is simply no more salient instance, which could have been interpreted as an instance of inciting panic.

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Resources of funded pension plan may seem enormous for a small country. For small countries financial and economic crises are regular occurrences. Governments regularly fighting these crises can always be tempted to destroy what has been created over years with an intention of extinguishing a fire. One can understand the intention. It is like cutting the fast growing apple tree in the garden to warm up on a fierce winter day. However, funded pension resources are the allies and supporters of the governments fighting cataclysms. If the natural growth cycle of these resources is supported, these will provide a stronger arm when the next disaster hits. But this may happen only if the craving for getting warm even for ten minutes during the decades necessary for the growth of the tree and its yielding a successful crop, does not take over the government in panic.

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Call for Expert on Policy Communication and Instruments

This announcement is available only in Armenian. 


“Green light” for environmentally neutral business development from Lisbon to Vladivostok

On March 3, 2021, the first meeting of the GreenDeal Task Force created under the Initiative Lisbon-Vladivostok was held. In the videoconference format, more than twenty authoritative experts in the field of ecology and business from Austria, Armenia, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, France, as well as the representatives of the largest business industry associations supporting the Initiative Lisbon-Vladivostok, discussed common approaches to harmonizing the activities implemented by the EU and the EAEU on the path to sustainable development, including a radical reduction in greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by 2050.

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