Green Growth and Recovery High on Armenia’s Development Agenda

The Second Policy Dialogue of the joint GREEN Armenia Platform

December 9, 2022

YEREVAN, [09/12/2022] – The Government of Armenia and international partners continue their high-level policy dialogue aimed at supporting Armenia’s sustainable green recovery and growth that can deliver jobs, tackle poverty and inequalities, protect nature and build resilience of the country.

The second in the series of policy dialogues of the GREEN Armenia (Growth and Recovery to Empower, Equip and Nurture Armenia) platform took place today, with participation of Hambardzum Matevosyan, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia, Natia Natsvlishvili, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Armenia, Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin, Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Armenia, and Carolin Geginat, Country Manager of the World Bank (WB) for Armenia. Representatives of the private sector, academia, civil society, and other development organizations were also present.

The main objective of the event was to present and discuss conceptual foundations of green economy and sustainable development and its implications for Armenia – risks, challenges, and opportunities, as well as Armenia’s proposed green economy policy, strategic planning and execution frameworks.

In 2021, the Government of Armenia renewed its commitment to green recovery and growth by introducing green economy and sustainable development policy priorities in its new five-year (2021 – 2026) program.

“The previous dialogue, which marked the launch of the platform, allowed us to specify the main directions we need to proceed on the path to building a low-carbon, resource-efficient and inclusive economy, in the context of innovative approaches and global knowledge on building resilience to climate change. Today’s meeting, in turn, aims to be a transition to more substantive discussions on the need to enhance the resilience of the economy ahead of global and local climate challenges. Our commitments in this regard are clearly stipulated in the RA Government Program 2021-2026, which defines the transformation of the economy in accordance with low-carbon energy reality and the provision of prerequisites for lasting conservation of natural resources in the economic cycle as important preconditions for sustainable development,” said Hambardzum Matevosyan, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia.

The second dialogue allowed partners and stakeholders to share knowledge on examples of green economy transformations, drawing on the global and local practices related to green growth and sustainable development, including decarbonization efforts, natural resource decoupling, poverty alleviation, socio-economic development, and circularity initiatives.

“During the launch event in June, we promised to establish a functional dialogue platform that will allow us to contribute to better and ‘greener’ policies for Armenia and its people. Today, we move this commitment one step closer to realization by decomposing the critical elements of a green economy policy, trying to map the high-level policy statements, such as green transition vision and country strategic goals and objectives, into lower-level policies. Moreover, having in place a well-designed green policy framework and strategic planning process are of utmost importance to avoid potential pitfalls and to properly deliver on this challenging, but highly important transformational agenda, where Armenia is not alone,” said Natia Natsvlishvili, UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia.

The meeting participants also discussed potential key directions of Armenia’s future strategy and roadmap on green and sustainable economic development that the Ministry of Economy is currently drafting in partnership with other government agencies and international and local stakeholders.

“We welcome and support the initiative of the Green Armenia platform. International experience, and in particular the European model have shown that environmental protection and economic prosperity are not mutually exclusive concepts but instead can reinforce each other. Armenia is a climate vulnerable country and if no actions are taken quickly, vital sectors of the economy will be heavily impacted. The transition towards green economy not only will create a number of new opportunities for businesses and job-seekers, but it will also make Armenian products and services more resilient and competitive in international markets. This is a virtuous path, but it requires concerted efforts:  we will need good policies, availability of financial products for green growth, incentive schemes and of course availability of appropriate labour market skills. The EU will be increasingly looking into how to support these directions with our future funding programs in Armenia, as well as contribute actively to policy dialogue and donor coordination,” said Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia.

Specific thematic discussions also took place on sustainable finance, green taxonomy and circular economy, and major ongoing initiatives in Armenia aimed at facilitating the country’s transition to green economy and a more sustainable development path.

“We cannot overstate the significance of Armenia’s commitment to the green economy agenda. Armenia ranks 114 out of 181 countries on climate vulnerability. A transition to an economic model that takes this vulnerability into account is an imperative. It also carries significant growth opportunities: for example, by increasing investments in renewable energy, promoting climate-smart agriculture, or boosting the construction industry through the introduction of greener building standards. Armenia’s green economy vision, discussed today, is an important first step towards realizing this green growth potential,” said Carolin Geginat, the World Bank Country Manager for Armenia.

Representatives of the Government of Armenia, development community, the private sector, academia, and civil society organizations highlighted the necessity of creating an enabling environment to encourage much greater investments into the protection of natural ecosystems, development of human capital and a transition toward a ‘greener’ economy.