In the past few years, the issue of refugee integration has become an important challenge and policy priority in Armenia, affecting the refugees themselves, the local authorities and other state actors that host refugees and asylum seekers in their communities. The long-term stay of the refugees present in the country requires proper addressing of the integration-related challenges at the local and national level and of the humanitarian needs they are facing.

Armenia and the European Union are increasing their political and economic co-operation. A new Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, replacing the 1996 Partnership and Co-operation Agreement, marked the beginning of the EU-Armenia Visa Dialogue, which should eventually result in mutual visa-free travel. Although a formal start date of the Visa Dialogue has not yet been announced, it is timely to organize an information exchange with representatives of those Eastern Partnership countries that have already successfully concluded such Dialogue in the past in order to learn from their respective experiences.

On 17 December 2018, during the Award Ceremony of the annual journalism contest «Suitcase» 9 journalists were awarded for their journalistic excellence on migration issues. On the initiative of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) office in Armenia, the Award was a collaboration of ICMPD office in Armenia, UNHCR office in Armenia and RepatArmenia Foundation. The winners featured fact-based and impartial reporting on the complexity of migration, its challenges and opportunities.

The last media trip for 2018, organised by ICMPD in Armenia from 5-7 October, included Vayots Dzor and Syunik regions. The journalists from Public Radio, womennet.am, Haykakan Zhamanak, Golos Armenii, Ararat News, factor.am and vesti.am visited Goris and Kapan towns, as well as Gomk, Khndzorut, Bartsravan, Sharnukh and Uzhanis border villages.

Marmashen, Kaps, Amasia, Horom, Panik and Arevshat villages of Shirak region are the target of the media trip organized on 25 and 26 August by ICMPD in Armenia. For many years, Shirak region has been featured as the poorest region of Armenia in its economic indicators, according to the official statistical data. In 2016, the level of poverty was the highest in the country - 45.5%. The elder of Marmashen community, Karen Arshakyan, told the journalists that the migration level is also quite high and the process of community amalgamation significantly improved the economic situation in the communities. Since last year autumn Marmashen village also bеcame an amalgamated community joined by 15 other villages. It is early to discuss the results, said the community elder, however, we can state, that due to the consolidated budget of 15 villages more tasks can be solved – covering the roads with asphalt, implementing water-supply system and street lighting, etc.. Thanks to the availability of such infrastructure, economic life in the village will become more active and the quality of the roads will make possible the export of the local agricultural products to Gyumri city market. This opinion is shared by the majority of the community elders.

On 21 of June ICMPD in Armenia welcomed two experts from the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Moldova, Mr. Petru Turcan and Ms. Olesea Cotoman to briefe the representatives from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice and the State Migration Service on the implementation of a Visa Dialogue and Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP). Successful and failed experiences on negotiating, implementing, monitoring and communication on VLAP were presented.

On 9th of July, the 5th Steering Group Meeting of MIBMA project took place devoted to the overview of results achieved in the first half and plans for the second half of 2018. Progress was registered on the implementation of the Migration National Action Plan and Integration Action Plan, increasing capacities of border control detachment staff and equipping of Shirak Airport and Bavra Border Crossing Point with new equipment. The initial capacity building steps in preparing for a Visa Liberalisation Dialogue that looks likely to start in the near future. Some challenges were also registered, with support to a Visa Liberalisation Dialogue still largely on hold due to political factors.

From 4 to 6 June 2018, ICMPD in Armenia conducted a three day inter-agency workshop on joint risk analysis and management. Two customs and border police experts from Latvia share experience with ten of their Armenian counterparts from NSS Border Troops, State Revenue Committee and Secretariat of the National Security Council. The objective of the workshop was to present EU standards and good practice on collaboration between border services and explore ways to improve inter-agency co-operation in Armenia.

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Contacts

ICMPD Headquarters  

Gonzagagasse 1
1010 Vienna, Austria
Tel: +43 1 504 4677 0
Fax +43 1 504 4677 2375

ICMPD in Armenia 

26/1 Vazgen Sargsyan Street
Erebuni Plaza Business Centre, office 711
Yerevan 0010, Republic of Armenia
Tel: +374 10 520388

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