The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Armenia and the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration (MTA) organised the first Community of Practice in the framework of the EU funded project Women in Local Democracy on 14 March 2014. The event brought together around 60 female community leaders, representatives of regional authorities, community civic groups, representatives of local media and NGOs, working in the area of gender equality.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia Bradley Busetto and the First Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration Vache Terteryan welcomed the participants and shared their vision and approaches in the area of local democracy and women participation.
“The European Union is convinced that a truly democratic and representative government assumes adequate participation of women in the political processes,” noted Ambassador Hristea. “Participation in local government is a critical issue for women as it is an effective instrument to improve the condition of women at community levels,” he added.
UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia Bradley Busetto stated that in the strive to create a vibrant, participatory and gender-balanced local governance in Armenia the project will continue to encourage and support women to participate in decision-making processes at all levels. “We invite you, active representatives of your communities, to contribute to the development of new mechanisms and solutions, and enable women and men to voice their problems and concerns,” Bradley Busetto said.
The RA Ministry of Territorial Administration presented the ongoing reforms and plans in the area of local self-governance, as well as highlighted the areas where the project support is responsive to the national priorities.
The two-day event will provide an opportunity for community representatives to highlight progress and existing challenges in the local governance and the advancement of gender equality at the local level, seek solutions for enhancing inclusive and gender-balanced local governance, as well as identify respective capacity gaps. The event will also contribute to strengthening of project synergies with the ongoing and planned national reforms in the area of local governance.
Representatives of UNDP in Armenia and its local partners – Armenian Association of Women with University Education, InternationalCenter for Human Development and Armenian Public Relations Association -presented the project progress, results, achievements, challenges and further opportunities. A number of beneficiaries joined the presentations to share their perspective.
The two-day event will conclude with a Statement by participants to national and international actors on their aspirations in regard to participatory governance and women engagement in local governance in Armenia.
The Women in Local Democracy project is implemented since April 2012 with the financial support of the European Union and works in ten regions of Armenia. The EU funding is €525,000.
The project aims at promoting women’s participation in local elections, building capacity and knowledge of potential local female leaders through a number of capacity development activities, innovative methods and techniques, thus reducing gender-specific constraints that women face in social and political decision-making processes in Armenia.