PROJECTS // 

Support to the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia

02.10.2019

2017-2019

Since 2017 ICHD has been providing support to the National Assembly in order to assist it in improving implementation of parliamentary oversight and developing the culture of strategic political debate. Towards this goal IHCD has implemented the following projects:

Support to the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia in improving parliamentary oversight and communication with electorate

2017-2018

The main goal of the project “Support to the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia in improving parliamentary oversight and communication with electorate,” funded by the British Embassy in Yerevan, was to strengthen the institutional capacities of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia in order to better represent the interests of citizens and to maintain a transparent and accountable system of governance. The project aimed at ensuring that Armenia’s legislating leadership effectively perform thorough parliamentary oversight and improve communication with the people. The objectives set included (i) increased representation of citizens’ interests by MPs; (ii) improved operations of standing committees and factions, including transparency and accountability; (iii) improved ability of the NA to perform oversight; (iv) improved system of reviewing government expenditure; (iv) enhanced public outreach and improved mechanisms of relations with the constituency; (v) enhanced capacity of female MPs; and (vi) improved capacity of the NA staff and MPs to prepare quality reviews.

The overall goal and objectives of the project were achieved through implementation of several interlinked activities, namely, (i) offering comprehensive orientation to new MPs and staffers; (ii) organizing workshops on effective leadership skills and strategic communication, and on instruments and techniques of effective accountability for chairs and vice-chairs of the standing committees, leaders of all factions, MPs and NA staff; (iii) offering consultations on strategic planning and organizing retreats for all parliament factions in order to develop faction work plans; (iv) organizing a study tour to expose MPs to the best practices of exercising oversight functions in the UK; (v) engaging MPs and NA staff in effective networking opportunities for 50 MPs and staffers; (vi) offering one-to-one coaching sessions and mentoring to MPs.

Overall, more than 350 MPs, parliament staffers, state officials, CSO and media representatives and citizens participated in various project activities. One MP noted how particularly helpful the capacity building sessions were, “because discussions which spare us from professional jargon, often marring debates on economic issues, allow us to gain an overall understanding of intricate issues, solutions to which often require professional expertise.” Another MP, a participant in the study tour to Britain stated, “The study visit significantly enlarged networking opportunities between Armenian and British MPs, as well as professional institutions, which will allow the Friendship Group Armenia-Great Britain of the National Assembly to develop strategic initiatives of cooperation”. This positive feedback is reflective of the positive impact this program has had on the MPs who participated. In addition, the Orientation Guide, various reports on parliamentary oversight practices and mechanisms, as well as the faction work plans developed as result of the joint effort of the MPs and the ICHD experts, were the first building blocks towards enhancing the culture of parliamentary oversight at the National Assembly. The networking meetings allowed MPs to become more aware of the challenges of proposed bills and reflect on mechanisms of addressing those during the public hearings at the National Assembly.

Strengthening capacity of the National Assembly in strategic political debate and communication

2018-2019

To scale up the results of the project “Support to the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia in improving parliamentary oversight and communication with electorate”, in 2018 ICHD initiated the project “Strengthening capacity of the National Assembly in strategic political debate and communication”. The purpose of this project was to strengthen the capacity of the National Assembly in strategic political debate and communication. Funded by the UK’s Good Governance Fund, the project supported MPs elected at the snap elections of 2018 in cultivating a more accountable, transparent, gender-balanced and politically proactive political culture. ICHD worked to establish such a culture by developing practical guides on effective political communication, post-legislative monitoring and oversight, on establishing an investigative committee, and a series of interlinked capacity building activities. ICHD also emphasized the need for effective, coherent and consistent collaboration with the core NA staff, who significantly enhanced their capacities during the first phase of the project.

Through tailored training and workshops, networking activities, group consultation and one-to-one mentoring sessions ICHD has facilitated the process of the achievement of great progress. About 200 MPs, their assistants and NA staff have participated in the capacity building activities, and about 90 participated in more than one capacity building activity. About 100 MPs (of which 12 MPs from Bright Armenia; 82 from My Step Alliance and 4 from Prosperous Armenia; 88 MP assistants (20 of MPs from Bright Armenia, 64 of MPs from My Step Alliance and 3 of MPs from Prosperous Armenia) and 11 experts from the three factions and NA staff have benefited from the project. The participant profile included also the leaders and senior decision makers at the National Assembly, specifically, the President of the National Assembly, the Vice President, heads of the factions and chairs of standing committees.

Another objective of the project was to ensure that MPs and NA staff are actively engaged in various networking opportunities, including off-the-record and facilitated participatory discussions, to develop an increasingly inclusive public policy agenda. Throughout the project about 50 MPs from all factions consistently contributed to addressing various policy issues on a variety of platforms. Perhaps the highlight of the enhanced links between MPs and CSOs is the initiative of parliamentary oversight undertaken by the Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport. The Chair of the Standing Committee MP Mkhitar Hayrapetyan officially requested ICHD to support the Committee in carrying out a post-legislative oversight of the 2014 amendments to the RA Law on General Education and RA Law on Education, regarding transition to all-inclusive education.

MP Nikolay Baghdasaryan (My Step Alliance) summarises the general attitude among MPs having participated in the project: “The project provided new insights and tools on how I can work with budget and legislative documents as an MP; where I can find support and how I can make an informed decision”.

NEWS

17.10.2019

Informative Local Meeting in Lori Region

The International Center for Human Development (ICHD) with the financial support of the Federal Foreign Office (Germany) and in partnership with The State Migration Service of Ministry of Territorial Administration and infrastructure of the Republic of Armenia and “Armenian Caritas” Benevolent NGO, on 15 October 2019 has implemented of local meetings in Lori region in the framework of Preventing Irregular Migration from Armenia to the Federal Republic of Germany by Raising Awareness of Potential Migrants” project. State and local self-governance bodies, service providers, media and civil society representatives participated in the event.

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24.09.2019

Informative Local Meeting in Shirak Region

The International Center for Human Development (ICHD) with the financial support of the Federal Foreign Office (Germany) and in partnership with The State Migration Service of Ministry of Territorial Administration and infrastructure of the Republic of Armenia and “Armenian Caritas” Benevolent NGO, on 17 September 2019 started implementation of local meetings in Shirak region in the framework of Preventing Irregular Migration from Armenia to the Federal Republic of Germany by Raising Awareness of Potential Migrants” project. State and local self-governance bodies, service providers, media and civil society representatives participated in the event.

The aim of the meetings is informing the participants about the risks, consequences of irregular migration, forms of protection given to migrants in Germany, as well as statistics on emigration and return policy from Germany to Armenia. The process of return and readmission of RA citizens, the reintegration programs of returnees implemented in the RA are also presented to the participants during the workshop.

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