Armenia: Presidential Elections in Armenia 2013 and their possible Consequences for the Country
The presidential elections in Armenia at the 18th of February 2012 took place in a semi-competitive environment. Ideology has been instrumental in the competition of party political programs. The FES-publication "Presidential Elections in Armenia 2013 and their possible Consequences for the Country", written by Boris Navasardian, analyses major developments and challenges during the presidential elections. The publication can be downloaded here.
Armenia: International Conference
The Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation in cooperation with the Centre for Political and Legal Studies ՙՙՙ “Concord” hosted the 12th international conference on European perspectives and regional challenges of the three states of the Southern Caucasus. Experts from the region’s countries as well as from Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, Russia and Turkey discussed recent developments in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and their relations to the neighbouring states - Russia, Turkey and the EU. It has been assessed that internal challenges and dynamics are increasingly important compared to external effects and impacts.
The election processes in all three countries illustrate the simultaneous presence of change on the one hand and continuity on the other hand. The elections thereby increasingly serve as a possibility to articulate social discontent with stagnating and backward-oriented policies and politics. New ways of communication and new channels of consolidating social movements are tested within society and create their own drives. Georgia’s parliamentary elections prove that qualitative change is possible.
In more detail the question of „What constitutes the Southern Caucasus as a region ?” has been discussed. Is it a remain of common history, is it defined by common geopolitical challenges or is it in fact a shared vision of the region’s future, in which multiple relations with Russia, Turkey, the EU (and Iran) are possible ?
The conference participants expressed their high expectations about a stronger role for the European Union and described the Vilnius-Summit of the EU-Eastern Partnership as a Litmus test, not only of the seriousness of an European alternative for the countries in the region but also of the sincerity of the Eastern Partnership to the EU.
Armenia: Monopolies in the Armenian Economy
On February 11 the Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation with the financial support of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung presented the study entitled ”Monopolies in Armenia” in Yerevan. The study aims at finding answers and solutions to a series of questions as well as problems related to the current situation of monopolies in Armenia. It can serve as a contribution to international expertise in the fight against monopolies as it identifies and illustrates how to ensure economic competition. Thereby the current market situation in Armenia is analyzed and a model of anti-monopoly “1+3” settlement is developed. The study can be downloaded here. ENG ARM
Georgia: Gender Equality: Our Common Responsibility
To finalize the project: "Gender Equality: Our Common Responsibility" a forum organized by the Young Socialists was held at the 16th of December. Inclusive of their own delegations from the central and regional offices, roughly 200 participants were attendant. Trade union representatives, the youth movements of political parties and NGOs, working on respective issues, have been invited. Within the forum an executive summary has been elaborated and recommendations concerning gender equality have been developed. These recommended propositions have been formulated accordingly to major topics at roundtables and discussions that were organized and held within the project’s framework.
Azerbaijan: Developing of public control in the field of communal service
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung supports as a pilot project the initiative of NGO Public Association Development of Society and Civil relations named “Development of a civil society of amplification of public control on sphere of communal (municipal) services”. The main objective of the project (in particular in the regions) utilities to ensure public control over activities of the enterprises and organizations, to attract more public attention to communal sector, to discuss the existing problems in this area, the restoration of violated rights of the people and the consumers of their rights cooperation between civil society organizations to carry out the communal service. As first was in the frame of Project conducted a survey to study the main problems in this field. In four regions of the country Ganja, Sirvan and Yevlakh and Baku were organized round tables dedicated to problem in this area and responsible for the structures, NGOs, municipalities with the participation of active citizens. On the round tables have been discussed and studied the situation in the field of communal a municipal services. As conclusion of project was published and disseminated the flyers with useful materials for consumer of a communal field.
Georgia: Justice and Equity in the University Education System
On November 14th 2012, the FES and the youth department of the Georgian Trade Union Confederation (Confederation of the Georgian unions) organized a conference within the project "Justice and Equity in the University Education System" in Tbilisi. The project included the analysis and monitoring of problems of the educational system on issues, such as access to higher education, quality of education at universities, tuition fees inter alia for developing improvement suggestions and recommendations. The project was completed nationwide, involving students and student organizations. During the conference, the results of the project and the best essays (an announced competition on the project topic as part of the project) of students from different universities of Georgia were presented.
Armenia: International Conference on European Integration
With the support of the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the International Center for Human Development (ICHD) organized the international conference “European Integration 2012 –Shared European Values: Non-Discrimination”. It was held in Yerevan, Armenia on November 27-28, 2012. The Conference aimed to strengthen the role of civil society and think tanks within the decision making processes in Armenia. It has become a genuine platform for consolidating Armenia’s progress towards integration with the European Union. The conference brought together over 130 representatives from governments and civil society organizations of Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, Germany, Romania, Belarus, Slovenia, and Bulgaria. Key European institutions such as the EU and CoE were represented as well as engaged in an open exchange of ideas and opinions with local and regional decision makers.
Armenia: "Citizens Guide to Labour Rights - Questions and Answers"
On 26 November the presentation of the manual "Citizens Guide to Labour Rights - Questions and Answers" was held. The manual was created by the work team of the APR Group with the support of the Friedrich–Ebert-Stiftung. The working team consisted of 3 lawyers who campaigned for workers' rights in several lawsuits. With the help of this manual, the average worker in Armenia can be informed about their rights and be able to defend themself. With the manual, the FES and APR Group had informed the principal objective of the Armenian workers in a perspicuous language of their labor rights. It can be downloaded here.
Georgia: Georgia after the parliamentary elections
With the parliamentary elections on 1 October 2012 for the first time in independent Georgia a change of power as a result of elections took place. The coalition "Georgian Dream" led by Bidzina Ivanishvili won the elections clearly (55 Percent) before the United National Movement of President Saakashvili (45 percent). This provides the opportunity to overcome the political tradition of monopoly on power of one political block and for a qualitative leap in the process of democratization. In his publication "Georgia after the parliamentary elections - a qualitative leap in the development of democracy?" Michael Weichert, FES Regional Director South Caucasus, analyses the major developments during the parliamentary elections and the challenges for the implementation of real politics of cohabitation. The publication in the German language can be downloaded here.
Georgia: Eastern Partnership and the components of social and economic policy in Georgia
On 27 November the Foundation of Strategic and International Studies presented the results of the study "Eastern Partnership and the component of social and economic policy in Georgia." The study included three main topics: small business, innovations and social dialogue and was conducted with the support of the FES. The following organizations have been working on the project: Georgian Foundation of Strategic and International Studies, European Studies Association for Innovative Development of Georgia, Woman and Business Association, Georgian Trade Unions Confederation and Georgian Employers Association.