Delegation of the European Union to Armenia

Seven Grant Contracts Signing Ceremony for Regional Projects Funded by the European Union

Yerevan, 13/12/2016 - 13:20, UNIQUE ID: 161213_11
Press releases

Today the Regional Development Conference ‘Armenian Regions Benefitting from Strategic Planning and Comprehensive RD Projects’ took place dedicated to: - The review of ongoing and planned reforms in Regional Development, including national and regional level strategic planning processes; - Grants signing ceremony for regional projects funded by the EU and the Government of Armenia, with value over 9 million EUR, which will aim at improving the socio-economic situation in marzes.

EU Ambassador Piotr Antoni Świtalski said: "We support the Armenian Government and all stakeholders engaged in intensive regional development reforms, leading towards stronger regional societies and economies across the country.

We congratulate all the winning projects of this tough competition and the Government of Armenia, and wish them success in their challenging tasks. The RD Grant Scheme will not only support development of regions, raise their economic competitiveness, reduce tendencies of outward migration, but it will also demonstrate the new EU-inspired approach to regional development in Armenia, through integrating human capital, innovation, inclusion, and infrastructures with a territorial focus".

 

Background information

The Government of Armenia has been making efforts to establish and improve Regional Development policy since early 2000’s, with a series of pilot projects, the adoption of RD Concept in 2011, and eventually with the adoption of the Armenian Regional Development Strategy in July this year as an overarching policy document. These serious efforts have been continually supported by the European Union and other donors active in Armenia.

The EU support combines technical assistance on policy issues, capacity building, and programming, as well as grants for regional projects, all implemented under the EU Pilot Regional Development Programme approach, based on best practices among the European and associated countries.

Currently, following the adoption of the Armenian Regional Development Strategy, the RD reforms focus on strategic planning at regional level (Marze Development Strategies), programming a new package of RD interventions, developing a robust RD funding mechanism linked to the central budget, and the related institutional support and capacity building for the national and sub-national administrations. It is worth mentioning that since 2013, hundreds of public officials and non-governmental organizations’ representatives have been trained and coached to improve their knowledge of regional development policy, and to develop strategies, programmes, and project proposals.

 

Information on Pilot Regional Development Programme Grant Scheme

The call for proposals for the Pilot Regional Development Programme Grant Scheme (PRDP GS) was published by the European Union and the Ministry for Territorial Administration and Development (MTAD) on 14 September 2015. The selection of the granted projects was organized through a two-step procedure. In the first round only a short document (so called concept note) was submitted by the interested NGOs and Local Governments, acting in partnerships - in total 47 concept notes arrived. The full project proposals were elaborated only by the selected and short-listed 15 candidates. At the end of the procedure, that is today, seven projects sign the grant contracts with the EU and MTAD. At the beginning of next year they will start the implementation. During the whole application process, the applicants received a very intensive and unique training and advisory assistance package from the Technical Assistance Team deployed by the EU Delegation to Armenia. This assistance will continue in the implementation period as well.

The overall objective of PRDP GS is to support the Government of Armenia in progressing towards a more balanced social and economic development between regions of Armenia.   The specific objectives of the PRDP GS are: (1) to create economic opportunities and diversify economies in the ten regions of Armenia (support business climate, productive investments, cooperation among companies, especially SMEs, and related infrastructures), and (2) to create employment opportunities (provide relevant skills and promote sustainable employment, specifically in growth sectors, emerging and innovative sectors, especially among the young adults) in the regions.

Until now the PRDP GS is the biggest regional development programme in Armenia, both in terms of the available funds and the geographical coverage of the programme. The total available budget of the programme is almost 10 million EUR, from which 7 million EURO is provided by the European Union, 1.75 million EURO by the Armenian Government, and minimum 10% co-financing by the applicants themselves. Concerning the geographical eligibility, project ideas from all the ten marzes of Armenia were eligible. Yerevan is excluded from the PRDP GS, however eligible organizations registered in Yerevan were invited to join regional partners and implement projects in the regions. Another specialty of this Grant Scheme is that it introduced in Armenia highly integrated approach (proper combination of infrastructure and non-infrastructure elements in the projects), which has proven to be very effective in Europe.

With the successful implementation of the seven projects, who sign the grant contracts today, the following outputs and results are expected:

  • Almost 2,200 persons (many of them young adults) will be supported to increase employability through trainings, consultations, etc.;
  • More than 700 enterprise will be supported to increase their competitiveness;
  • Almost 500 new jobs will be directly created by the projects in the regions, from which more than 100 are quality jobs;
  • More than 320 enterprises will increase their competitiveness (measured in increased turnover and/or employment).

The Grant Scheme will not only support the development of regions, raise their economic competitiveness, reducing tendencies of outward migration, but it will also help building capacities in project management and funds management in the regions of Armenia, and also by the central government.

 

It is important to mention, that in January 2017 a 2nd call for proposals will be launched by the EU and MTAD, which aims to select 1 or 2 additional regional projects to be financed from the remaining PRPD funds. Under this additional call for proposals, project ideas for Shirak region in culture and creative sectors will be invited. Jobs will be created and SMEs/enterprises registered in Shirak region will benefit from assistance. However, eligible organizations from all the regions can apply, if they find a suitable regional partner from the target region.

 

 

 

 

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