Enhancing Capacities in Policy Analysis and Formulation

2001 - ongoing

One of the major domains of ICHD’s development practice focuses on policy analysis and formulation capacities of public and civil society institutions in Armenia and in the region. ICHD targets these capacities through training, study tours, expertise, discussions, networks of practitioners, etc. ICHD’s experience on assisting the government and non-governmental institutions in policy development covers a wide spectrum of sectors ranging from economic development, public finance management and anti-corruption, migration management and Diaspora relations, education and public health etc.


Supported by the Eurasia Foundation, ICHD brought together 24 representatives of civil society institutions from the three South Caucasus countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia to discuss cross-border public policy research in the economy sector (e.g. financial institutions, trade, telecommunications, tourism, etc.) in Yerevan in mid-May 2001. The two-day seminar focused on the economic issues in three countries and in the region as a whole. The participants of the seminar discussed problems, priorities, best practices, and opportunities for cross-border collaboration among public policy researchers, policymakers and others interested in the policy making process that could help to advance the concept of a Public Policy Research Institute in the region of the South Caucasus.

The International Policy Fellowships (IPF) program of the Open Society Institute (OSI), established in 1998 by the Open Society Institute, joining forces with the Center for Policy Studies, identified and supported individuals advancing innovative policy research in various areas. In early 2000s IPF fellowships focused on nurturing the next generation of open society leaders and strengthening their capacities to write evidence-based policy documents, identify appropriate policy instruments, and effectively advocate policies - skills that remained underdeveloped in Armenia and the South Caucasus. The IPF program supported the analytical policy research of young leaders and connected these fellows with professional policy networks.

Three of the ICHD associates participated in the IPF program in the Center for Policy Studies in 2003 and 2005. They joined the International Public Policy Developers Network and attended a series of seminars on policy advocacy. The ICHD experts developed specific projects available at their personal project websites on IPF server.

The Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia (MOE) serves as a focal point within the Government of Armenia coordinating the implementation of the EU-Armenia Action Plan (AP) under the ENP framework. Thus, the effectiveness of the implementation of the AP largely depends on strategic planning process at the MOE. Supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), ICHD launched a project to improve the effectiveness of implementation of the EU-Armenia AP through strengthening strategic planning capacities of the MOE, as well as creating tools to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the programs effectively in mid 2008.

ICHD team developed a model scheme of the strategic planning processes for the MOE, particularly developed the draft Action Plan of MOE for 2009 through involving key stakeholders in this process, including the MOE staff and expert community. ICHD initiated the harmonization the Strategic planning process with the policy formulation process, particularly through streamlining the Action Plan of MOE for 2009 with the key sector-specific policies, particularly with the Concept on the Development of Tourism and its Plan of Action for 2008-2012 approved by the Government of Armenia in November 2008, as well as with the Concept on the Development of Information Technologies and its Plan of Action approved by the Government of Armenia in August 2008. ICHD has also provided recommendations on the streamlining of the Strategic planning and Policy formulation processes. ICHD produced guidelines providing a description of related procedures, structures and indicators on strategy planning process.

In 2008, the Government of Armenia recognized the development and implementation of a comprehensive conceptual framework on Armenia-Diaspora relations as being an area of priority and committed to create a specialized body to ensure effective implementation of its policies in this area. The Government recognized Diaspora as a bridge for Armenia on its way of integration to international community and committed to engage human and institutional resources of Diaspora extensively. The Government also committed to foster policies aiming at repatriation of Diaspora Armenians, particularly, through introducing the dual citizenship provided by the Constitution of Armenia. The protection of the rights of Diaspora Armenians is another area of priority recognized by the Government. The political commitment towards strengthening Armenia-Diaspora relations is also clearly stated by the third President of Armenia: his election program recognized the cumulative potential of Armenians worldwide as being the competitive advantage of the nation. A Ministry of Diaspora has been created in October 2008.

Supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Armenia and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Diaspora of RA, ICHD initiated a project aiming at enhancing national policies on relations between the Republic of Armenia and Armenian Diaspora and strengthening national institutions in this area by developing a concept framework through a participatory process in August-December 2009.

ICHD consolidated policies on Armenia-Diaspora relations into a universal conceptual framework and developed the Policy Concept Paper on the Armenia-Diaspora Relations and agreed with the stakeholders. In the Policy Concept ICHD first ever consolidated the vision of the government, civil society, businesses and the Diaspora, as well as defined the goals, main objectives and key actions in this area. The policy concept document provided clear recommendations to streamline the institutional framework of the government, as well as to introduce a management information system related to the policies on Armenia-Diaspora Relations. The policy document significantly helped the Government of Armenia to decide on the structure of the Ministry of Diaspora matching its functions with policy priorities in this area, as well as streamlining functions of other ministries and agencies with the policy recommendations. The Government adopted the Concept Paper in Spring 2009.

ICHD also strengthened institutional capacities of the Ministry of Diaspora in policy formulation and strategic planning. Over 250 national and international institutions, as well as individuals participated in discussions, and over 30 recommendations has been received and considered in the process of elaborating the Concept Paper. ICHD has forged a network of professionals in the area of Armenia Diaspora Relations including policy-makers, civil servants, experts and civil society at large. ICHD worked closely with the Ministry of Diaspora to ensure coordination with the government stakeholders and effectiveness of consultancies. Technical expertise of organizations active in this area in Armenia, in particular, Noravank NGO, AIPRG, ACNIS, political parties, as well as Diaspora institutions has been mobilized through the Project. ICHD consolidated feedback from the citizens and civil society institutions on Armenia-Diaspora relations. The ICHD project has linked with Diaspora networks and drawn on the technical expertise of other international organizations including UNDP, EU, WB, DFID, during project implementation.

ICHD considered major political risks, key legal and institutional constraints related to the second generation reforms and current capacities of the Government entities in the area of Armenia-Diaspora relations. To the extent possible ICHD in its capacity of a think tank organisation managed these risks through building on commitments of the political leadership of the country and facilitating a participatory process consulting extensively with the major stakeholders in the government, Diaspora, civil society and development partners.

Supported by the OSCE Office in Yerevan, ICHD R&D Associate participated in elaboration of the Government’s Anti-Corruption Strategy and its Action Plan for 2009-12 drafted by a core team of experts in late 2008 - early 2009. The draft strategy shaped the anti-corruption policies of the Government of Armenia, evaluated the effectiveness of the first Anticorruption Strategy (2003-2007), consolidated the political commitments in this area, and defined the principles of the anticorruption policies. The draft policy document formulated the vision, goal and key objectives of the Government in combating corruption in Armenia. The draft strategy also provided the practical description of the instruments that the Government will employ to prevent and to prosecute the corruption, as well as will educate the citizens and officials on this matter. The recommendations of the experts also provided advice to the government on developing institutional framework on combating corruption in the mid-term and long-term perspectives. The draft policy document specifically referred to the information and human resource management issues as a part of Government’s Anti-Corruption strategy. The experts have also developed a clear mid-term action plan with annual action plans and cost estimates for the actions. Supported by the OSCE office in Yerevan, experts have engaged a large variety of various interest groups and stakeholders in the discussion of the draft document. The Government adopted the fine tuned strategy document in early October 2009.

ICHD focuses on enhancing the capacities of the Armenian National Assembly in policy analysis aiming at more effective scrutiny of the executive by the parliament and, thus, promoting a better balance of the governance in Armenia.

ICHD was the local partner of the USAID sponsored Consortium, led by the US based Development Associates, Inc / Development Alternatives, Inc (DA/DAI),  which implemented the project “Armenian Legislative Strengthening Program” in two phases from April 2002 to October 2006.

The ALSP contributed to the development of the National Assembly in several ways.  The work of ALSP I clearly helped the parliament develop systems for constituency relations and outreach and increased access to information about and from the National Assembly.  Among the major accomplishments of ALSP I which contributed to this were: developing and launching the parliament’s new website, creating templates and procedures for research, reworking and expanding access to the parliamentary hour television program, improving the functioning of the citizen’s information department at the parliament including implementing the Public Inquiry Tracking System (PITS) system so that MPs could log and trace citizen complaints more effectively, and improving the hearing processes for committees, which increased public input on some issues. The ALSP II was able to sustain, deepen  and even institutionalize some of the major accomplishments of ALSP I, such as the website and focus some of its other work as well in important areas, most notably in the area of budget work.

As the Consortium’s local partner, ICHD has worked out a case study on the budgeting process as part of a general assessment and for use in training programs with the National Assembly in June 2002. ICHD experts provided recommendations on the budget process and procedures as related to the functions of the parliament. ICHD team has developed the “2001 family allowances case” and developed a specific skill building training course in areas identified as deficient in the assessment of the budgeting processes. The training course incorporated the case studies developed earlier.

ICHD team provided hands on assistance to legislative staff and MPs in such areas as reading and analyzing the budget, conducting joint budget analyses, prioritizing information needs, collecting necessary data from the executive branch and other sources, and assisting in holding effective budget hearings in September – December 2002.

ICHD provided specific fiscal analysis expertise regarding budget analysis to supplement the work of the analysts and experts of the National Assembly during the consideration of the State Budget 2003.

ICHD experts prepared a comprehensive analysis of a specific policy reflected in the state budget. This analysis is an example of a fiscal analysis an elect member of the parliament can use to be more informed when making decisions about state funding policies. ICHD worked out a number of public policy papers: Policy funding analysis in the secondary education sector in Armenia for the draft budget 2003 and The peculiarities of quasi-fiscal organization’s expenses efficiency analysis.

Prevention of the gender based violence in Armenia needs consistent work by the civil society representatives and policy makers. The actions implemented in this area aim at eliminating the GBV and raising public awareness on GBV and its prevention in the country.

The Armenian Government with the resolution of the Prime Minister of Armenia on 30 March 2010 created an Interagency Commission on Combating Gender Based Violence in Armenia, aimed at raising effectiveness of actions implemented to prevent GBV, information collection as well as for drafting the National Programme on Combating Gender Based Violence. Four Armenian non-governmental organizations have been nominated by the Prime Minister as members of the commission including International Center for Human Development (represented by ICHD’s Vahan Asatryan).

In June 2010 the Commission has created a Working Group to elaborate a draft National Program on Combating GBV in Armenia for 2011-2015. The gender focal points of the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues of RA, Ministry of Health of RA, Ministry of Education and Science of RA, the Police of RA, ICHD and Women’s Right Center have been appointed as members of the Working Group.

ICHD implemented a research of the international best practices on national policies and programs to combat GBV including comparative analysis of policies in 88 countries and provided specific recommendations to the Working Group and the Commission. ICHD have also elaborated and agreed with partners in the WG and the Commission the framework of the draft National Plan and the hierarchy of goals, objectives and targets, as well as the monitoring framework for the plan. ICHD have also consolidated the outputs provided by the state agencies and prepared the final draft document.

The draft National Plan has been approved by the Commission and entered into official circulation in November 2010 and later endorsed by the Government Decision No. 23-8 on 17 June 2011.

ICHD continues contributing into the work of the Commission and leading the Consortium of local NGOs for combating GBV in Armenia providing policy advices, as well as by supporting the implementation of the National Plan of Action through project interventions.





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