YEREVAN (Arka)—The EU envoy to Armenia held an official ceremony Thursday for the signature of fifteen EU cooperation projects in Yerevan. New projects with a total budget of approximately 10 million euros will support civil society and local authorities, as well as government reforms in Armenia, the EU Delegation to Armenia said.
The fifteen contracts are in various fields of bilateral and regional cooperation – from agriculture and rural development to human rights and democracy to poverty reduction and sustainable urban development.
The ceremony was welcomed by Ambassador Traian Hristea, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia. “The EU remains committed to further engage with Armenia, and to strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest based on shared values. It is my pleasure to welcome the start of important initiatives that will benefit from EU funding,” he noted.
The majority of projects focus on supporting the respect for human rights and are implemented by international and local civil society. Over the next two to three years, they will promote civil society dialogue, strengthen freedom of expression, rule of law, advance gender equality, and combat gender-based sex selective abortions in Armenia. They will also promote the integration of Syrian refugees in the country and assist children without parents.
Other EU-funded initiatives will provide technical assistance for reforms in agriculture and rural development in Armenia, strengthening new and existing producer groups and supporting institution building of the Ministry of Agriculture. They will accompany the overall EU sector support programme for the development of agriculture and rural areas.
Poverty reduction and sustainable development is the goal of four of the new contracts to be implemented through non-state actors and local authorities. They will help minimize social and economic hardship of rural communities in Shirak, develop sustainable tourism, promote ecological bee keeping in Vayots Dzor and improve public services in Jujevan, Baghanis and Voskevan.
Another action will provide access to renewable and efficient energy in the municipalities Vayq and Spitak.
Most of the new projects are the result of global and local calls for proposals through the Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and the thematic program on “non-state actors and local authorities in development.”