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Armenia Design Report 2018-2020

Armenia’s fourth action plan reflects the new government’s commitment to reform and greater transparency. Notable commitments include those regarding transparency of beneficial ownership of companies, development of land and water cadastres, and e-petitions. The action plan’s implementation will require sustained engagement and closely coordinated efforts within government.

Table 1. At a glance

Participating since: 2011

Action plan under review: 4

Report type: Design

Number of commitments: 11

 

Action plan development

Is there a multi-stakeholder forum? Yes

Level of public influence: Collaborate

Acted contrary to OGP process: No

 

Action plan design

Commitments relevant to OGP values: 11 (100%)

Transformative commitments: 2 (18%)

Potentially starred commitments:  2 (18%)

Action plan implementation

Starred commitments: N/A

Completed commitments: N/A

Commitments with major DIOG*: N/A

Commitments with outstanding DIOG*: N/A

 

* DIOG: Did it open government?

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Armenia joined OGP in 2011. Since then, it has implemented three action plans. This report evaluates the design of Armenia’s fourth action plan.

General overview of action plan

Armenia saw significant political changes in 2018, resulting in a new government that has expressed greater commitment to transparency and anti-corruption reform. Armenia’s fourth action plan reflects notable improvements in co-creation consultations and commitment ambition.

The development of Armenia’s fourth action plan involved greater public awareness and civil society engagement than previous action plans. For the first time, public consultations were held in all 10 regions of the country. Some consultations targeted groups of civil servants and youth. Overall, the additional consultations resulted in a more collaborative co-creation process, and readiness for legislative action helped create a more ambitious plan compared to the previous cycle.

Armenia’s fourth action plan focuses on improving access to government-held information and promoting public participation. The commitments cover many important subjects, such as asset disclosure of public officials, beneficial ownership, budget transparency, natural resources, health, and education. Several commitments involve providing mechanisms for public feedback. The fourth action plan is the country’s first to include commitments requiring legislative changes.

Notable commitments in Armenia’s fourth action plan include the development of a beneficial ownership registry to be piloted in the extractives sector. The action plan also includes commitments to develop land and water cadastres.

Table 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Moving forward Status at the end of implementation cycle
3. Beneficial ownership register

Create and launch a comprehensive and free register of beneficial ownership, to be piloted in the mining sector.

The government could further strengthen beneficial ownership transparency by establishing mechanisms for mandatory inclusion of a larger scope of companies in the beneficial ownership registry. In particular, the government could mandate disclosure of media company ownership. To ensure beneficial ownership data verification, the government could promote international cooperation to obtain information held by foreign and domestic registries. Tangible penalties for companies providing false information should be set. Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.
5. State Water Cadastre

Develop a database that consolidates information on all water resources in Armenia and that can check permits for specific water use.

The government should complete an inventory of water resources and develop mechanisms to continuously update the database. The government and interested civil society organizations can also promote awareness of the database among communities that are affected by water resource use. Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.
6. Land Cadastre

Provide public access to a database that is searchable by location and presented in a graphic (map) format.

To ensure effective completion of this commitment, the government should adopt necessary legislative amendments to provide information on land ownership free of charge. Note: this will be assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Recommendations

The IRM recommendations aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan.

Table 3. Five KEY IRM Recommendations

1. Enhance the effectiveness of the multi-stakeholder working group by:

  • Providing a written mandate for the working group that formalizes its composition and ensures the fair and transparent selection of civil society representatives;
  • Involving state representatives with relevant decision-making power; and
  • Involving representatives of Parliament in the multi-stakeholder working group to ensure legislative engagement with the OGP process.
2. Enhance the co-creation process by developing a method for collecting, filtering, analyzing, and formulating action plan commitments and providing clear justifications for inclusion or rejection of commitments.
3. Continue efforts to expand transparency regarding the beneficial ownership of companies and to strengthen mechanisms for beneficial ownership information monitoring and verification.
4. Include commitments on improving transparency and accountability in the judiciary, such as disclosing results of the monitoring and evaluation of judicial reforms, publishing information on sanctions against judges, and strengthening transparency and accountability of judicial councils.
5. Continue efforts to enhance access to information, public feedback, and monitoring mechanisms in the education and health sectors.

 

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Filed under: IRM Report

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