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Armenia: On a fast track to greater transparency

Armenia has made satisfactory progress in implementing the EITI Standard. The country has used the EITI as a platform for dialogue and a catalyst for mining sector reform.

Since joining the EITI in 2017, the Government of Armenia has focused on bringing greater transparency and accountability to the mining sector. It has shown strong commitment to the EITI principles and the EITI Standard, to achieve this outcome from its first Validation.

“I would like to congratulate the Government of Armenia and all EITI stakeholders for achieving satisfactory progress on implementing the EITI Standard,” said Helen Clark, the EITI Board Chair. “On behalf of the Board, I encourage the country to continue along the path of reform and to maintain progress towards the systematic disclosure of mining information.”

Embedding implementation into national priorities

In its decision, the EITI Board welcomed the country’s efforts to go beyond the EITI Standard and to ensure that EITI activities continuously reflect national priorities.

Armenia EITI has worked closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the EITI process is integrated into the broader reform agenda and forms part of the country’s priorities. For example, responsible mining has been defined as a national priority and a working group on responsible mining has been established. The working group has defined the multi-stakeholder group’s approach to responsible mining and agreed a work plan for responsible mining activities that is currently being implemented.

Additionally, Armenia EITI stakeholders have contributed to environmental discussion through the comprehensive disclosure of information about the transfers of revenue to communities affected by mining. They have also supported amendments to legislation aimed at improving the management of environmental payments.

Opening up the mining sector

The mining sector is an essential contributor to the Armenian economy. Copper is one of the main metals mined in Armenia and accounts for over one-fifth of the country’s exports. Publishing information on the sector is therefore an important step towards broader transparency efforts. 

Armenia’s first EITI Report was published in January 2019, with most information publicly available on its online reporting portal. Establishment of the portal was an important milestone and allows citizens to monitor and analyse data on the mining sector. The portal allows users to download information in open data format and presents visualisations of key data points.  Armenia has also improved accessibility of mining sector information by publicly disclosing mining contracts and the beneficial owners of mining companies.

Tigran Avinyan, MSG Chair and Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia has stated:

“The Government of Armenia is fully committed to implementing the good governance principles required by EITI, which are key for ensuring mining sector reform. In relation to this, the Multi-stakeholder Group will work to maintain what has already been achieved in Armenia, while also focusing on increasing EITI impact, building on systematic disclosures and integrating the issues of public concern into the MSG’s national agenda.”

 

Screenshot of online portal

Data on employment from Armenia’s online portal. Source:  https://reports.eiti.am/hy/

Continuing to pursue reform and address corruption

After the so-called ‘Velvet Revolution’ in 2018, the Government of Armenia worked towards systemic change aimed at curbing corruption, strengthening the rule of law and attracting foreign investment.

The early outcomes of this approach are already apparent. In 2019, Armenia was ranked 77th out of 180 countries on the Corruption Perception Index, a substantial improvement from its 105th place in the previous year. Improvements in the governance of the mining sector enacted through its work with the EITI form part of this broader reform agenda.

Satisfactory progress in EITI implementation

The efforts to embed implementation in national priorities, open up the mining sector and pursue reform were recognised by the Board in concluding that Armenia achieved satisfactory progress in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard.

In addition, Armenia’s progress in requirements on the work plan, legal framework, comprehensiveness and economic contribution were acknowledged. The Board also stressed the need for further work related to ensuring continued stakeholder engagement and robustness of the EITI process.

Armenia’s progress in EITI implementation will be re-Validated in three years, on 9 July 2023. Progress in addressing Requirement 2.5 on beneficial ownership will be assessed in January 2021.