Integrated Social Services System in Armenia and Ukraine
10 June 2015
Source: EaP CSF web site
International Conference “Integrated Social Services System in Armenia and Ukraine” was held on 9 June in Armavir (Armenia). The conference was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic within the framework of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Armavir Development Center (Armenia) and Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine), members of the EaP CSF Working Group 5 “Social & Labour Policies and Social Dialogue”, are working on the programme that promotes the social services reform in the participating states and provides for the possibility of the best practices exchange among CSOs.
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to Armenia Ivan Kukhta and Deputy Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Armenia Ani Saginyanova took part in the conference. The diplomats noted the important role of the civil society representatives in the rapprochement of Armenia, Ukraine and the European Union.
In his welcome speech the head of the “Armavir Development Center” Naira Arakelyan briefed the guests on the main objectives of the project “Integrated Social Services System” and noted that the aim of the program is the research on the integrated social services system in Armenia and Ukraine, as well as the development of the social services market.
Rostislav Dzundza, Chairman of the Board of “Bureau of Social and Political Developments“, thanked the representative of the Czech Embassy for the contribution of his country in lobbying for the Eastern Partnership initiative, namely for the the first time support provided to the project aimed at reforming the social services. Unfortunately, the social sector is not very developed in the framework of the EaP policy, therefore the financing of this project gives hope for the development of the social policy, security and social services market in the EaP countries. A platform on social policy and social dialogue that would represent at the interstate level the process of the social sector reform in the partner countries has not yet been created within the system of the ENP and EaP implementation.
Adviser to the RA Minister for Social Policy Areg Savgulyan presented the work of the Centre for the Social Services Provision in Armavir, one of the 19 pilot centres financed by the World Bank. The Centre operates according to the “one stop shop” principle and provides both social and consulting services on the social security, medical examination, retirement benefits and employment issues. From 2018 such centres will be funded by the local budgets.
Leonid Ilchuk, Deputy Director of the Research Institute for Labor and Employment of the Ministry of Social Policy and the National Academy of Sciences (Ukraine), said that there are many similarities in the development of social services in Ukraine and Armenia. For instance, the need to create the one stop shop for social security that would comprise all kinds of social benefits and social services at the local level. The Institute has already developed many proposals in this field, which will be useful not only for Ukraine and Armenia, but for the whole Eastern Partnership.
Igor Kaminnik, Secretary of the Coordination and Expertise Council for Social Policy of the Ministry of Social Policy and National Academy of Sciences (Ukraine), noted that this conference is very timely for his country. The Coordination and Expertise Council is developing a model of reforming the social services system for the Ministry of Social Policy, taking into account the decentralization. Armenia’s experience is important for improving the Ukrainian system. In its turn, the Ukrainian experience of engaging NGOs in the development of the social services market, can become an important factor of social services reform in Armenia.
The joint implementation of the project will allow to understand the real status quo in the social services system in Armenia and Ukraine. On its basis the package of proposals for the social services system improvement in both countries will be developed. These proposals will be presented at the national level, both in Ukraine and Armenia.
The European Commission yesterday signed a €13 million contract with networking organisation GÉANT to expand connectivity in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. The 5-year project aims at creating a regional high-speed Internet network dedicated to research and education across the EaP. It will interconnect the National Research and Education Networks in the partner countries and integrate them in the pan-European GÉANT network.
Two million scientists, academics and students at over 700 institutions across the region will benefit. This high-speed broadband network will enable access and exchange between scientific databases and facilitate international cooperation via faster data transfer.
By enabling fast and reliable exchange of high volumes of data between scientists in EaP countries and their peers in Europe and further afield, EaPConnect will facilitate collaborative research in areas such as environmental monitoring, telemedicine, life sciences and physics. In addition, stable videoconferencing will support e-learning initiatives or simply enable artists, thousands of miles apart, to perform together in near-real time. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
EaP CSF holds advocacy conference on Human Rights and Reform Agenda
Civil Society Contributions to Human Rights and the Reform Agenda were the subject of an advocacy conference held in Brussels on 8-9 June, organized by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF).
Discussions mainly focused on strengthening democracy, human rights and stability in the EaP region as well as the civil society contribution to the reform agenda in the areas of human rights, security, media freedom, visa facilitation and women’s leadership. Participants paid special attention to the future reviewed Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy during a high-level closing panel.
The conference was opened by Gerhard Schumann-Hitzler, Director for Neighbourhood East at DG NEAR, and the Coordinators of the EaP CSF Working Group on Democracy, Human Rights, Good Governance and Stability, Krzysztof Bobinski and Volodymyr Kuprii. (EU Neighbourhood Info)