New opportunities for “artists, explorers and creative professionals”, including those residing and working in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, have been published by the EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme. A dedicated page highlights calls for proposals targeted at artists, designers, multimedia experts and researchers. Deadlines are approaching for Summer School for Journalists and Media Practitioners, and a Call for Eastern Partnership Journalism Fellows. Many more other interesting opportunities and capacity-building activities in the creative and media sectors are available through the Culture and Creativity page.
The EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme supports the cultural and creative sectors’ contribution to sustainable humanitarian, social and economic development in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The four-year programme will run until 2018, covering topics like cultural leadership, cultural and statistical research, audience development, cultural journalism, advocacy and fundraising.. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
List of current opportunities
The results of more than half a year of ten cross border cooperation partnerships involving 33 organisations from Armenia and Georgia were presented in the Armenian town of Dilijan on 3 June in the framework of the EU-funded Armenia-Georgia Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation Programme (EaPTC). The projects implemented by the cross border cooperation teams focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, improvement of solid waste management, development of innovative cross-border tourism routes, natural resources conservation civic education and youth employment, the EaPTC press release said.
“The Territorial Cooperation Programme Armenia-Georgia promotes friendly relations between the people of the neighbouring regions in such areas as agriculture, tourism development, business, environment, education, culture and sports,” said Alexei Sekarev, Team Leader of the EaPTC Support Programme.
The EU contribution to the Armenia – Georgia territorial cooperation is 1.35 million EUR. The Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation Programme (EaPTC) aims to promote and strengthen cross-border cooperation between regional and local state authorities, communities and civil society organisations over developing joint solutions to common social and economic development challenges in the participating border regions. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
The European Union allocates €3.75 million to support Armenia’s vocational education and training reforms: advancing new education and career opportunities for youth
In April 2016 the European Union extended final assistance of €3.75 million to enhance Armenia’s vocational education and training (VET) capacity. The disbursement was allocated out of €6 million (of which 5 million budget support, 1 million technical assistance), earmarked under 2012 Eastern Partnership Integration and Cooperation (EaPIC) programme. The programme aims to open up new horizons and foster job creation for youth, which will help maximise youth involvement in local development, curb labour migration to urban areas and support poverty alleviation in regions and across the country.
The outcomes of the assistance include reform implementation across the whole VET sector of the country, provision of equal access to quality VET education for youth with special needs, recognition of non-formal and informal learning and review of VET qualifications and lists of VET professions to meet the swiftly evolving labour market needs.
As of 2016, about 4,500 students at 17 pilot colleges in all regions of Armenia and Yerevan benefited from the EU-supported reforms and the number is envisaged to grow in the near future.
Within the frames of the final phase of the programme, five VET colleges, specifically those located on the border, were rehabilitated and equipped, with two more upgraded with facilities for physically impaired students. Another essential outcome of the programme is the development of 3-year business plans and conduction of own market research at all regional colleges. Development of business plans has been hailed by college managers in terms of sustainable financial management of VET institutions.
The assistance programme incorporates international best practices and visions for innovation and enhancement of VET education aligning them with the local market needs.
EU for education in Armenia: The EU has been actively supporting educational reforms in Armenia for the past 14 years with a clear focus on VET. Shortly after Armenia joined the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2006, the Government of Armenia and the European Commission agreed to focus €30 million of 2007 and 2009 Budget Support assistance of the European Union to Armenia on further reforms in the VET sector. The overall objective has been to support sustainable development in Armenia, by boosting the quality of VET sector to align it with the needs of the labour market.
Following the 2012 review of the ENP Progress Reports, €15 million assistance was allocated to Armenia under this programme. €6 million out of the allocation was earmarked for support in the VET sector.
The main directions of reforms as defined in the VET Reforms Programme and Action Plan of 2012-2016 adopted by the Government of Armenia in July 2012 are integration of the Republic of Armenia’s vocational education and training system into the European vocational education area, enhancing the VET system management efficiency, boosting reputation and prestige of VET system and development/strengthening of social partnership in the VET sector. Implementing partners of the programme are the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Finance and social partners.
In addition to VET-focused assistance, the EU has been steadily supporting development of higher education in Armenia. “Empowerment of the Tertiary Level Education of the RA for European Higher Education Area Integration EHEA” Twinning (2014-2016) aims to contributes to Armenia’s full membership in the EHEA and improve the quality of higher education to the benefit of students, graduates and employers.
“Strengthening Integrity and Combating Corruption in Higher Education in Armenia” project, co-funded by the EU and Council of Europe, aims to strengthen integrity and fight corruption at higher education institutions by fostering effective implementation of the Armenian Government’s Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2015-2018.
Erasmus+, the new EU programme targeting Education, Training, Youth and Sport for the period 2014-2020, brings together seven existing programmes, including Tempus and Erasmus Mundus. 21 ongoing Tempus and 5 Erasmus+ Capacity Building projects with involvement of 22 Armenian universities and 31 other organisations including enterprises, ministries and non-governmental organizations. There are also 17 ongoing Erasmus Mundus projects implemented across Armenia. Overall, around 800 students and staff of Armenian universities participated in Erasmus Mundus projects and Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Programs in the period of 2004-2014.
The project management cycle was the focus of a seminar for civil society organisations (CSOs), which took place in the Armenian capital Yerevan last week, supported by the EU-funded ‘Civil Society. Dialogue for Progress’ project. The event targeted local CSOs from the country’s regions, which have relatively limited experience in the area of project management. They discussed supervision (monitoring) of projects and implementation mechanisms, management of human resources, aspects of project management for peace building and conflict transformation projects, and other project management issues.
The ‘Civil Society. Dialogue for Progress’ project, with a total budget of EUR 3.4 million, has been implemented between 2012 and 2016 to support CSOs in the Eastern Partnership countries to become stronger players in policy dialogue. By empowering CSOs and strengthening their capacities, the project aims to create a more level playing field, thus giving these organisations the best possibilities to get involved with their respective national and local authorities in the Eastern Partnership region. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
Conference on “Current State Of EU-Armenia Relations and the Mechanisms of Civil Society Participation”
On May 30, 2016 a conference took place on “Current State Of EU-Armenia Relations and the Mechanisms of Civil Society Participation”, organized by the Armenian National Platform of the EaP Civil Society Forum.
At the first session of the Conference speeches were delivered by H. E. Mr. Karen Nazarian, RA Deputy Foreign Minister and H.E. Mr. Piotr Antoni Switalski, Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Armenia. In his speech RA Deputy Foreign Minister particularly mentioned that the Armenian Government attaches importance to the civil society participation both in terms of implementation of initiatives and programs with the EU and reforms realized in many areas of the country.
The Deputy Minster also touched upon the process of review of European Neighbourhood Policy, as well as the process of negotiations around new legal framework between Armenia and the European Union, highlighting civil society participation in these processes.
Ambassador Switalski also emphasized the role of Armenian CSOs in the EU-Armenia cooperation as well as in such issues as democracy, human rights and good governance. The Ambassador stressed the role of Armenian CSOs in a number of processes, including the development of RA new Electoral Code. Ambassador Switalski also touched upon the principles of revised European Neighbourhood Policy. Later the Ambassador and RA Deputy Foreign Minister replied to the questions of conference attendees.
At the next session of the conference the attendees discussed issues regarding the role and participation mechanisms of the Armenian National Platform and civil society in EU-Armenia relations.
Then, the CSF 2016 Regranting Projects were presented, followed by question and answer. Afterwards, the conference attendees were split into working groups to discuss the ANP working groups’ priorities in the context of EU-Armenia new framework agreement. At the end of the discussion the moderators of working groups presented the results of their group work. A decision was made to collect and systemize all the recommendations to further introduce them to EU and Armenia respective bodies.