The Media Center held a discussion on the conflict of interest in public services and current problems. The speakers included: Sona Ayvazyan, Deputy Director at Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center; Mikayel Hovhannisyan, Project Coordinator at the Eurasia Partnership Foundation; Naira Arakelyan, Head of Armavir Development Center; and Anahit Gevorgyan, Head of Women’s Community Council of Martuni.
The Engaging Civil Society in Monitoring Conflict of Interest Policies project is a two-year project funded by the European Union. It is an international project that is being implemented by a consortium of organizations from Armenia, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine and is led by Transparency International Moldova. The project was launched in July 2013 and will last until July 2015.
“Surveys, new legislative framework, public awareness campaigns: these are the directions included in our project… Regulating conflict of interest is an anti-corruption preventive means. As long as the sector remains non-regulated, it is impossible to fight corruption,” Ayvazyan said.
“The society in Armenia is too small. Horizontal ties operate rather actively and, as a result, the risk of conflict of interest is much greater in our country than in countries with a bigger society,” Hovhannisyan said.
In November 2013-March 2014 EPF has conducted a survey in a number of Armenian state institutions to identify the perceptions and level of understanding of Conflict of Interest policies among public servants. The survey was conducted in the seven Armenian ministries with participation of 134 public servants.
“The survey shows many have a distorted and wrong idea about the conflict of interest and their behavior model in case a conflict of interest contradicts the normal model,” Hovhannisyan said.
Naira Arakelyan said the Armavir Development Center held seminars and surveys in ten communities in Armavir Region.
“Half of the respondents answered the conflict of interest does not have corruption risks and only 16 percent answered it has risks. Communities should have a preventive policy for conflict of interest.
Arshaluys Mghdesyan, Editor-Coordinator