The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.
UNDP in Armenia was established in March 1993, and supports the government in meeting its development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals.
UNDP has been working to accelerate the development of Armenia for almost 25 years. It works at the upstream policy level, advising on legal and policy frameworks, and implements downstream initiatives, turning projects into policies and policies into actions. UNDP also has enormous reach across the country - in rural and urban areas and amongst a growing network of youth, innovators, and social entrepreneurs.
The Republic of Armenia is a landlocked country in the Southern Caucasus with a population of 2.97 million. It is an upper middle-income country with a Human Development Index (HDI) score of 0.760, putting Armenia in the high human development category.
Despite an increase in HDI of more than 20 per cent since 1991, 26.4 per cent of the population still lived below the poverty line in 2019, with 2.7 per cent classified as vulnerable to multidimensional poverty. Disparities between urban and rural areas, gender inequality, outward migration and high climate change exposure further impact the country’s resilience, competitiveness and well-being. These pre-existing inequalities and vulnerabilities were amplified by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, driven by extensive disruption of businesses, income insecurity/loss and the deterioration of people’s health and well-being, disproportionately affecting women, children, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, people living in poverty, labour migrants, informal workers, entrepreneurs and remittance-dependent households.
Armenia has undergone a profound transformation since independence, including after the peaceful transition of power in 2018 which triggered renewed commitments to a human-centred governance system, investments in human capital and the realization of the human rights agenda. These commitments will be operationalized through the 2019-2023 Programme of the Government, sectoral strategies and the Armenia Transformation Strategy 2050, with support from the re-established Intergovernmental Sustainable Development Goals Council, headed by the Deputy Prime Minister with the mandate to lead and monitor the country’s processes for nationalization and implementation of the Goals.
UNDP in Armenia
UNDP plays a key role in ensuring a coherent United Nations strategy for collective impact, under the overall leadership and coordination of the Resident Coordinator. As part of its integrator function, UNDP works with a wide range of public, private and civil stakeholders to facilitate recovery along the humanitarian-development-peace nexus and more inclusive development solutions, at upstream policy level, advising on legal and policy frameworks, and at downstream level, turning projects into policies and policies into actions.
During the preceding programme cycle, the UNDP activities and results in Armenia were highly relevant to the Government’s agenda as evidenced by the 2019 independent country programme evaluation and stakeholder consultations. In particular, UNDP was recognized as a valued partner in local economic development and community mobilization; natural resource management; enhancement of legal, policy and institutional frameworks in the environmental sector; disaster risk reduction; organization of transparent parliamentary elections; management of infrastructure investments and technical capacities of customs and other agencies; coordination of issue-based coalitions; women and youth empowerment; and citizen engagement.
UNDP underwent a sense-making review in 2020 to identify coherent cross-portfolio areas for action. Examples include the nexus of education, technology, inclusion and jobs, particularly for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; innovative approaches to public service delivery; and participatory democracy, active citizenship, youth empowerment and citizen engagement.
The country programme will support all three pillars of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF): (a) people’s well-being and capabilities; (b) green, sustainable and inclusive economic development; and (c) responsive and effective governance. Particularly, UNDP will address multidimensional poverty by building a deeper and more holistic understanding of what poverty and vulnerability mean in the post-COVID-19, conflict reality and work across sectors to address the deprivations that leave people behind. Regular human development snapshots will unpack emerging priorities, drawing attention of policymakers through white papers and provoking public discourse through awareness-raising. UNDP will support the Government’s future-proof strategic planning by embedding foresight and scenario design at national and subnational levels, including in crisis preparedness.
A key direction of the UNSDCF is to address the socioeconomic impacts of the compound crisis. Building on the socioeconomic/early recovery efforts of the United Nations, technically led by UNDP and coordinated by the Resident Coordinator, UNDP will work hand in hand with the Government, United Nations agencies, international financial institutions (IFIs) and other development partners to bring various mandates and experiences into coherent actions that will help the country’s recovery to be more resilient, more people-centred and greener. The comparative advantages of UNDP include the ability to collect, manage and analyse data and leverage digital solutions and innovative approaches to help the country transition towards risk-informed and evidence-based development.
UNDP plays an important role in joint programming and implementation in Armenia. In the period 2021-2025, UNDP will work to create an integrated innovation platform as part of shifting to the next-generation UNDP, using its innovation platforms as internal service providers to United Nations agencies and for exploratory and catalytic joint programming with the Government and other partners. The platforms have influenced the UNDP approach to innovation globally and efforts to scale this approach will be further explored during this programme cycle through South-South and/or triangular cooperation.
UNDP is well positioned to facilitate a stronger engagement between the United Nations and the private sector and to leverage the wealth of human capital in the country. A priority is to deploy new and innovative development financing options enabled through public-private partnerships and better alignment between financial market incentives and long-term development.