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Armenia

This is a report on the activities implemented by the Armenian National Platform working within the EaP CSF

On December 2009, an Initiative Group (IG) involving the delegates of the first edition of the  Civil Society Forum (CSF) was formed.

The IG was engaged with the launch of the CSF Armenian National Platform (ANP), setting out a working plan, as well as  expanding the ANP founding documents (the regulations, the selection procedure, the concept, etc). The IG was chaired by the CSF National coordinator in Armenian, President of Yerevan Press Club (YPC) Boris Navasardian. As such, YPC took on the role of facilitator of the CSF related processes in Armenia.

Regular Communications & Seminars

Since January 2010, YPC started issuing a special weekly electronic newsletter (in Armenian) on developments in the EaP and the CSF. The newsletter was distributed to more that 700 subscribers. In March 2010, the book, “Collection of Documents of the EaP Civil Society Forum”, was translated and published. The YPC also organised regular briefings to the media on respective developments. The above mentioned book was presented in the first such briefing on March 31. To raise public awareness about CSF, 4 talk-shows have been aired on “Yerevan” and “Yerkir Media” TV companies (the latter has also been aired in the Armenian regions through “Hamaspyur” network).

Between March to November 2010, The YPC monitored the coverage of the European Neighborhood Policy and Eastern Partnership by the Armenian print media. The results of the monitoring, among other issues were discussed in two seminars “EU-Armenia Cooperation: the Present and Perspectives” for media professionals and NGOs organized in the regions of Armenia. The first seminar took place in Gyumri on May 28-30 and the second in Kapan on October 13-15.

Another important event was organized on a regional level. On September 2-3 in Tbilisi at the working meeting, “Democracy Promotion through EaP”, the representatives of Armenian, Georgian and Azerbaijani NGOs discussed the methodology of a possible monitoring on the implementation of the EaP priorities. The meeting was also attended by experts from Belarus and Poland. This event was organized by organized by Yerevan Press Club and South Caucasus Office of Heinrich Boell Foundation.

Joining the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform

The announcement to join the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform was disseminated in April, 2010. This was followed by the submission and classification of the applications. The founding meeting where 145 of applied CSOs were invited took place on June 7  at the conference hall of the Congress Hotel in Yerevan. The meeting was attended by 138 of the 145 NGOs, registered as ANP members.

The Founding Meeting endorsed the Regulations of the National Platform, formed four CSF ANP working groups and chose the ANP Coordination Council. 20 out of 50 candidates were elected as members of the CSF ANP Coordination Council. Voting was by majority rule. Under the Regulations, adopted by the Founding Meeting, Boris Navasardian, the EaP CSF Armenian National Coordinator also became Ex Officio and the Chairman of the Coordination Council of the Armenian National Platform.

The ANP Founding Meeting was attended and greeted by H.E. Mr. Raul Luzenberger the Head of the European Commission Delegation to Armenia, H.E. Mr.Hans-Jochen-Schmidt, Ambassador of Federative Republic of Germany to Armenia,  Mattias Jobelius, South Caucasus Regional Director of Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Naira Zohrabian Chairwoman of Parliamentary Standing Commission on European Integration. Among the honorable guest were: H. E. Mr. Charles Lonsdale, Ambassador of United Kingdom to Armenia, H.E. Mr. Crina Prunariu, Ambassador of Romania to Armenia, H.E. Mr. Giedrius Apuokas, Ambassador of Lithuania to Armenia, Sylvia Zehe, CoE Secretary General's Special Representative in Armenia, Andrej Didenko, Political Advisor to the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Carel Hofstra, Deputy Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, James Macbeth Forbes, Country Director of German Technical Cooperation, representatives from the RA Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economy, journalists and others.

Selection Process to Attend the CSF Meeting in November

In July, the announcement to apply to attend the second meeting of the EaP Civil Society Forum, in Berlin on November 18-19 was disseminated among Armenian CSOs. 63 applied for participation in the Forum and 25 were selected by the CSF Steering Committee.

However the selection process raised a conflict within the Coordination Council of ANP. Some of the CC members voiced their dissatisfaction regarding the selection results. As a result, on August 13, Boris Navasardian, EaP CSF Armenian National Coordinator announced his resignation from the Council.

On August 27, Levon Barseghian, Chairman of “Asparez” Journalists’ Club of Gyumri also announced his resignation from the ANP Coordination Council. His decision was due to his disappointment with the activities of ANP and the Coordination Council, particularlythe conflict around the selection of participants for the Berlin Meeting. Later, 9 more CC members resigned.

On September 8 in Yerevan, a briefing of Boris Navasardian and Karine Danielian, Chairwoman of the Association for Sustainable Human Development, member of the ANP Coordination Council, took place.

The briefing was dedicated to the selection results of the participants for the second edition of EaP Civil Society Forum. Navasardian reaffirmed his decision to resign as ANP Coordination Council member. He explained his decision was due to the challenging attitude of some of the ANP Coordination Council members towards the selection process.

At the same time, Navasardian said that he would continue to carry out his duties as the CSF National Coordinator and CSF Steering Committee member to fully prepare for the Berlin meeting and ensure full and efficient participation of the Armenian delegates. In this regard, he had expressed his readiness for restoring a constructive cooperation with the Coordination Council.

However, on September 16, the ANP Coordination Council called an extraordinary meeting of the ANP whereby a motion of no-confidence was made in Boris Navasardian as the National Coordinator. This decision was followed by statement of Boris Navasardian in which he stated that the decisions of CC were groundless and illegitimate. The latter position was supported by majority of the Initiative Group of ANP (delegates of the first edition of CSF) and a group of ANP members.

Moving Forward

The following recommendations were made in a statement, dated October 21, by 26 ANP members:

  1. To form an organizing committee, involving the Armenian delegates of the EaP First and Second Civil Society Forums, which will be engaged in the organization of the works of the Armenian National Platform, including the upcoming regular meeting
  2. To summon the Second Session of the CSF ANP between December 7-10, according to the ANP Regulations
  3. To announce the recruitment of ANP new members after the ordinary session - according to the aforesaid Regulations.

In response, Viktor Yengibarian, the acting chairman of the ANP Coordination Council, announced that to overcome the critical situation, the ANP Coordination Council has decided to temporarily suspend the recruitment of ANP new members and to conduct the next ANP meeting in the terms envisaged by the respective regulation.

Thus, the recent developments in the ANP promise that the Armenian National Platform will return to constructive route.

 

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