From: Aramazd Ghalamkaryan <[email protected]>
Subject: UNDP Armenia press release

United Nations Development Programme Country Office in Armenia

14, Petros Adamyan Street, Yerevan 0010, Armenia
Contact: Aramazd Ghalamkaryan
Tel: (374 10) 56 60 73, ext. 121
Fax: (374 10) 54 38 11
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: http://www.undp.am

UNDP COUNTRY OFFICE IN ARMENIA
May 4, 2006

Helping Communities Help Themselves

UNDP's new project starts with an honest discussion of local problems
with the heads of fifteen villages in Armavir province

Baghramyan village, Armenia - Today, two project teams of United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) visited Armavir province in
Southwestern Armenia to meet with heads of fifteen villages – future
stakeholders of the projects – and to present the initiative. UNDP
Armenia's projects on Community Development and Performance Budgeting
joined their minds and funds to achieve a breakthrough in the district
of Baghramyan.

What the projects aim to achieve is to meet the immediate social needs
in communities, resolving certain long-term economic issues, such as
lack of employment and incomes, sharing goals for their communities and
the district as a whole.

The project teams were recently strengthened by well-known local experts
working in the field of community development. Through application of
new methods of budgeting (results-based), involvement of the local
self-governance bodies and the local citizens in the discussion and
prioritization of needs, decision making, elaboration of village
development plans, joint implementation, as well as joint monitoring of
all the processes, a new and advanced level of community development, of
citizens being engaged in their own development will be achieved.

Mr. Vrej Jijian, UNDP project manager, addressed the participants of the
meeting: "Your voice is and will be vital for us and for this
initiative: we will base the projects’ ideas on this. Every step forward
will need not only your consent but active participation and shared
responsibility."

"How can we bring about a sense of consolidation? What are your own
long-term visions of your respective villages? All in all, renovation of
buildings is far less important than change in the people's attitudes
and behaviours: this is what we ultimately aim for," – noted Ms.
Hripsime Manukyan, project expert.

The gap between the capital city Yerevan and provinces of Armenia, in
terms of access to social and health care services, education, economic
conditions and benefits of the high economic growth, has widened during
the recent five years. The level of participation of citizens at the
local level is also very weak. While the economy grows rapidly, the
challenge for the country is to distribute this wealth in an equitable
way, especially outside Yerevan, and achieve a balanced situation in the
country for all the communities to benefit from the growth, in line with
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In 2000, leaders of 191 countries, including Armenia, signed the
Millennium Declaration, thus pledging to reach the eight Millennium
Development Goals by 2015. The goals cover poverty, HIV/AIDS and other
diseases, maternal and child health, environment, education, women's
empowerment and global partnership.

Since 2004, UNDP Armenia has successfully implemented a community
development programme in Karakert village in the same Baghramyan
district. Based on this experience UNDP has launched a new phase of
community development projects in 2006.

* * *

UNDP is the UN's global development network. It advocates for change
and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help
people build a better life. We operate in 166 countries, working with
them on their own solutions to global and national development
challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of
UNDP and our wide range of partners.

* * *

For additional information, please contact Mr. Aramazd Ghalamkaryan,
tel.: +374 10 56 60 73, ext. 121, +374 91 436 312, e-mail:
[email protected]