Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
May 17, 2006
U.S. Assistance to Armenia -- Fiscal Year 2006
U.S. assistance in Armenia in Fiscal Year 2006 will focus on improving the political process and assisting small- and medium-scale enterprise sector growth. Armenia has made progress in political and economic reform, and qualified to receive support from the Millennium Challenge Account; however, further reforms in the democratic, economic, social, and justice sectors are still needed. In March 2006, the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a compact with Armenia. This compact, totaling $235.65 million over a five year period will focus on rehabilitating regional infrastructure and improvements in the rural agriculture sector. Combating corruption remains a critical component of all U.S. Government assistance programs in Armenia. U.S. assistance programs also support increased regional stability by promoting interaction and cooperation between Armenia and its neighbors.
The estimated $76.5 million budgeted by all U.S. Government agencies for assistance programs in Armenia in Fiscal Year 2006 is allocated roughly as follows based on information available as of the date of this fact sheet:
Democracy programs in Armenia aim to increase citizen participation in public affairs, strengthen the rule of law, build the capacity of the National Assembly, create a more transparent and effective legal system, improve local and state governance, and support the development of independent media. U.S. assistance programs continue to support grassroots advocacy groups and initiatives that bring together local government officials and citizens to solve community problems; strengthen the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs); and educate citizens about their rights. In preparation for the 2007 parliamentary elections, U.S. assistance will work on improving the electoral process through supporting the development of accurate voter lists, strengthening political parties, fostering voter participation and education, collaborating with international and domestic election observers and training journalists on how best to cover the elections. Assistance will also include election adjudication training for judges and training for lawyers and proxies on election law violations and how to redress them.
Small grant-making programs administered by the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan and the Eurasia Foundation support the work of NGOs to foster civil society, enhance local government accountability, and support local media. Journalists, editors, and managers of media outlets are trained on business management, fact-based journalism, and investigative journalism. Training and exchange programs reach out to the next generation of Armenian leaders and give them first-hand experience with the day-to-day functioning of a market-based democracy. Since 1993, the U.S. has funded the travel of 4,627 Armenian citizens to the U.S. on academic and professional exchange programs in fields such as management, social service provision, and NGO development.
Broadening the base of economic growth through job creation and private sector development is the primary goal of U.S. economic assistance programs. The goal of these programs is to increase access to credit for entrepreneurs, develop markets for agribusinesses, improve the business environment, tax system performance, and budget management, strengthen central bank supervision, and boost progress in promising sectors, such as information technology. U.S. advisors support a budget training center with equipment, training materials, and technical advice.
The Caucasus Agricultural Development Initiative (CADI), the successor to the Marketing Assistance Program, continues to provide targeted and sustained technical, financial, and marketing assistance to small and medium-sized agribusinesses and farmer-marketing associations. After years of new product development and efforts to raise the quality and quantity of existing agricultural products, Armenians are now realizing significant marketing gains for their agricultural products. CADI is continuing and expanding the U.S. government’s support to the Armenian State Agricultural University to assist in the transition to western-style agricultural education. In the past year, CADI has increased its provision of direct assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture and other GOAM institutions and worked to develop programs in food safety and animal health, farm credit, and agricultural statistics among others.
U.S. funded social reform programs administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are helping to strengthen Armenia’s new social protection agencies and systems, including the design and implementation of legal and administrative systems for managing macro-level social insurance programs and improving the delivery of assistance to vulnerable populations and social services for all citizens. The introduction of the social security card is improving the quality of social services, simplifying procedures for eligibility and claims processing and reducing corruption.
U.S.-supported health programs are improving the environment for primary healthcare implementation and preparing family medicine providers as well as promoting a variety of quality insurance programs and healthcare financing mechanisms to achieve greater transparency and accountability in the healthcare sector. Given continuing economic hardships and immediate healthcare needs, U.S. assistance is strengthening the quality of medical services and providing mobile medical teams to ensure primary healthcare services are available to vulnerable populations living in remote communities. USAID places special emphasis on improving reproductive health and maternal-child services, especially in rural healthcare facilities.
Security and law enforcement assistance programs aim to improve stability in Armenia and in the region, as well as to enhance Armenia’s current support of the Global War on Terrorism. To promote interoperability with U.S. and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, the Foreign Military Financing and International Military Education and Training programs provide professional military education, establish peacekeeping capabilities, and modernize military communications. The U.S. Government also provides nonproliferation assistance for Armenia, including funding for joint research activities through the multilateral International Science and Technology Center in Moscow’s Science Centers and Bio-Chem Redirect Programs to engage scientists in transparent, sustainable, cooperative civilian research projects. U.S. funding also provides nonproliferation assistance to the Civilian Research and Development Foundation. The U.S. continues to fund safety improvements at the Metsamor nuclear reactor and support regulation of Armenia’s nuclear sector.
U.S. Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance (EXBS) program continues to work with Armenian export control officials, customs, and border guards to improve their prevention capabilities against weapons proliferation and other illicit trafficking. A variety of U.S. programs provide assistance to reform Armenia’s law enforcement and judicial sectors. These programs have helped to establish computer classrooms for law enforcement training, provide expertise for modern curricula at law enforcement academies, support a state-of-the-art forensics lab, and provide technical assistance to judges and lawyers to help address corruption and establish an independent judiciary. The U.S. is also providing upgrades to the law enforcement computer infrastructure in order to connect regional police precincts with central offices. In addition, assistance programs support the government and NGOs in Armenia to help address trafficking in persons.
Donated humanitarian commodities valued at approximately $12 million -- including medicines, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies, school equipment and supplies, clothing, and food -- are shipped and distributed to the neediest Armenians in the country's rural towns and villages. The United States has supported a medical outpatient clinic in the city of Alaverdi since October 2001. Under a new humanitarian initiative, the Department of State will complete six Small Reconstruction Projects (SRP) in Armenia. These projects improve conditions in beneficiary institutions such as schools, clinics, orphanages, and homes for the elderly. In addition, the U.S. Government will provide food-aid commodities to be distributed to vulnerable groups through the World Food Program's relief operations. USDA executes a program to install or repair village water wells in selected villages to provide drinking water for domestic and livestock use and for crop irrigation. One hundred and ten communities benefited from this program through FY 2006.
Humanitarian demining programs help communities in conflict border regions by recovering valuable lands that can be used for agricultural development and public use. The recently completed Earthquake Zone Recovery Program provided assistance for housing compensation/rehabilitation and other economic and social programs in the Shirak and Lori regions and the surrounding areas. This program has housed roughly 6,500 people through the use of vouchers and housing grants by the end of 2005, and the Government of Armenia is continuing a similar program to house remaining populations in temporary housing.
Currently, the Peace Corps has approximately 90 volunteers in Armenia who work in English language education, community and business development, community health education, and environmental education.