As of July 11, 2014, 3985 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are registered at the RA Ministry of Justice. Margarita Hakobyan believes these organizations are to have a considerable impact on public and political processes.
“We must ensure high quality and meaningful participation,” said Hakobyan. “It is the main role of the civil society. Recently we have had a more active, mature and successful civil society. However, out of these 3000 organizations only some manage to have an impact besides providing services.”
The speakers included Armen Ghalumyan, Civic Development and Partnership Foundation, Margarita Hakobyan, Oxfam Armenia, Elinar Vardanyan, National Assembly, Standing Committee of Human Rights Protection and Public Issues, Armen Alaverdyan, Unison NGO, Norayr Balayan, head of the Legal Department at the RA Ministry of Justice and Armen Harutyunyan, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture.
In Armenia, the Civil Society Day has been observed on September 19 for six years.
“The main aim of this day is to raise awareness about civil society among Armenians, integrating this idea into their daily life,” noted Armen Ghalumyan.
“Evidently, non-governmental organizations have operated more efficiently recently,” said Elinar Vardanyan. “And now we have the benefits.”
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights Protection and Public Issues actively cooperates with NGOs, which generally facilitates the legislative activities, including the drafting and adoption of various laws.
Armen Alaverdyan believes NGOs must be independent, transparent and open to cooperation. With respect to disability issues, he mentioned that they have had an efficient cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues, Ministry of Emergency, as well as Yerevan City Council. However, cooperation with some administrative bodies is not always efficient since “there are cases of cooperation, especially in some regions which are more formal in nature.”
As for current laws on NGOs and laws that are now being drafted, Norayr Balayan noted that the Ministry has proposed a new concept for institutional development of civil society.
Armen Harutyunyan assured that their ministry actively cooperates with the public, adding that “Constructive proposals are accepted and presented when developing both legislative and concept documents and policy.”