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Democracy and Governance

The key governance challenge in Armenia is the lack of genuine checks and balances, which leads to serious deficits in the consistent application of the rule of law and citizens’ meaningful participation in political processes. Citizens have low levels of trust in governance institutions and NGOs alike. Civil society is atomized, heavily donor dependent, and not widely seen as representative of the public’s interest. The media suffer from limited resources and lack diversity of viewpoints and professionalism. Governance is based on the consensus of elite groups, leaving little room for civic input to legislative processes and policy formation. Across all sectors, laws and regulations are often well-developed but poorly implemented.

Targeting reform areas where there is political will – decentralization, accountability and transparency, and social sector – USAID works with the government and civil society to develop and reinforce a set of competencies and practices that improve citizen-government interaction and lead to more effective policymaking and implementation. Assistance to the government focuses on ensuring more open and responsive policymaking and reform implementation which deliver tangible results for citizens. At the same time, USAID builds civil society’s capacity to engage more productively in policymaking and reform implementation, and to help create opportunities that will advance the country’s democratic reform both at the local and national levels. USAID also promotes citizens’ access to independent and quality news sources.

CURRENT PROGRAM

The Civil Society and Local Government Support Program (CSLGSP) works to increase the level of informed and organized civic activism at the local and national levels. The program also promotes more participatory, decentralized, accountable governance that leads to a more democratic society. Through an integrated approach, the CSLGSP creates synergies among civil society organizations, government counterparts, businesses, and other donors.  ‡‡‡

Support to the Armenian National Assembly Program (SANAP) provides technical assistance and works with committees and staff in the Armenian Parliament to improve internal legislative procedures, support institutional checks and balances through enhanced accountability and responsiveness, and ensure better public outreach.  ‡‡‡  

The Election Monitoring Program has monitored the Parliamentary Elections 2012 and Presidential Elections 2013 and provided unbiased, non-partisan and objective reports to the election administration on voting processes, voters’ lists and the political atmosphere. The program also educates first-time voters through mock elections and monitors elected bodies’ activities after elections.  ‡‡‡  

Last updated: August 11, 2014

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