Results of the CSO Meter Research 2021 Armenia presented
27-04-2022 15:08:26 | Armenia | Press release
On April 26, 2022, Transparency International Anticorruption Center (TIAC) organised the presentation of the CSO Meter Armenia 2021 country report. The event was attended by the representatives of the CSOs, state institutions, international organisations, and media outlets.
CSO Meter research was carried out in September – December 2021 by TIAC within the framework of the project “CSO Meter: A Compass to Conducive Environment and CSO Empowerment“, implemented with the financial support of the European Union. The research is conducted annually (since 2019) in all Eastern Partnership countries based on a unique and jointly designed “CSO Meter” tool, which measures law and practice in key areas that affect civil society, from freedom of association and assembly, through participation to access to funding and right to privacy.
The event was opened by Sona Ayvazyan, Executive Director of TIAC and Silja Kassman, Deputy Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the EU to Armenia. Sona Ayvazyan presented the goals of the “CSO Meter: A Compass to Conducive Environment and CSO Empowerment“ project․ She mentioned that TIAC was engaged by ECNL as a country partner since 2017 to participate in the design of the methodology and implement monitoring of the civil society environment in Eastern Partnership countries. This tool has been demanded by the European Union to assess the civil society environment and follow its dynamics in Eastern Partnership countries, especially taking into account that a decline in democracy is observed in present.
In her opening remarks Silja Kassman outlined the importance of civil society in any country they operate։ “The civil society organisations are, of course, key partners when it comes to implementing of different policy priorities and programs, when it is necessary and important to meet people’s needs and reduce inequalities in the country”, she stated. Promoting and supporting the civil society dialogue and participation in policy making process, supporting the sustainability of civil society are part of the recently updated EU Country Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society in Armenia for the period 2021-2027.
During the event, the main findings of the CSO Meter research for 2021 were presented by TIAC representatives Anush Hakobyan and Tatevik Margaryan. The speakers noted that the research was carried out with a specially designed methodology, which incorporates standards and indicators in eleven areas relevant to civil society, designed in accordance with the international norms and best practices. According to the speakers, the research identified negative developments in the areas of freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly, as well as increased hate speech and smear campaigns against CSOs. The positive developments included adopting regulations for better transparency and competitiveness of state grant provision, a new possibility for CSOs to present in the court interests of persons with disabilities, increased threshold of the state-granted amount is subject to audit. The issues related to the unequal treatment of CSOs and businesses in terms of registration and taxation, regress in the practices of CSO engagement in decision-making, and insufficient protection of the right to privacy and personal data particularly in the digital platforms remained the same from the previous year.
The presentation was followed by a discussion in the working groups, which developed recommendations on the roadmap for improving civil society enabling environment in Armenia. The participants actively engaged in the dialogue on possible steps and directions of improvement of CSO environment in the areas of registration and operation, financial viability, participation ain decision-making, and state protection of CSOs and associated persons. The results of the discussions will be incorporated in the draft roadmap on CSO enabling environment improvement and presented to the relevant government agencies.
This event was organised within the framework of the Action “CSO Meter: A Compass to Conducive Environment and CSO Empowerment“, implemented with the financial support of the European Union.
The Project is implemented by the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law Stichting (ECNL) and its partners: Transparency International Anticorruption Center in Armenia; MG Consulting LLC in Azerbaijan; Civil Society Institute in Georgia; Promo-LEX Association in Moldova; and the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR).