Third dialogue-day between CSOs and Governement in Armenia
On 23 November 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Armenia and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of UPR Info and the Open Society Foundation Armenia, co-organised a coordinating meeting among government representatives, UN agencies and civil society organisations (CSOs) to discuss the implementation phase of UPR recommendations.
The purpose of the event was to ensure that all national stakeholders are equipped with the tools to maximise their cooperation in the implementation phase. The meeting aimed to create space for a concrete dialogue between CSOs and Government representatives, a space to meet and discuss the way forward for an effective and inclusive process of implementation of UPR recommendations in Armenia.
It was the climax of a twelve-month project during which several activities involving Government, UN agencies and CSOs took place both in Geneva and in Yerevan. A new opportunity for collaboration will arise in 2017 with the mid-term report of Armenia.
The dialogue-day was organised for Government representatives, UN Agencies and CSOs to discuss the way forward, including identifying the opportunities for cooperation on how to implement UPR recommendations on the ground. The dialogue-day started with opening remarks from the Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Ashot Hovakimian, and the UNDP Resident Coordinator a.i. Ms. Claire Medina. The opening remarks were followed by an update given by several ministry lines on the current implementation of UPR recommendations in the country. UPR Info was asked to introduce the UPR mechanism and its best practices related to the implementation of UPR recommendations at the international level. In the afternoon, several CSOs took the floor to express their concerns, ideas and some indicators for the implementation phase.
Overall, over 50 participants attended the dialogue-day, of which over 15 Government Representatives and over 30 civil society organisations (see annex for complete list of participants). UN agencies such as UNDP, UNCHR, UNFPA and UNICEF were also present. The EU representative, as well as the OSCE one also attended the workshop.
The day was concluded by Mr. Vahram Kazhoyan, Head of Department of International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which requested the CSOs to share with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Prime Minister, their implementation plans with specific indicators, so that they could take them into consideration. Future meetings have been discussed as well, though a date was not fixed yet.
The dialogue-day has to be seen as a starting point, the different stakeholders involved in the process will have to continue the dialogue and will have to meet on a regular basis. The Government committed to publishing a UPR mid-term report in 2017, so it is hoped to see such meetings to happen at least twice a year. Several more could be organised between thematic CSOs, UN, and Armenian ministries to discuss the UPR implementation by themes.
The different expectations of the stakeholders proved that further dialogue will be needed. UPR Info will closely follow up with its partners in Armenia and will continue to support all the actors in their activities.