The Government of Armenia has been implementing budgeting process reform with the ultimate focus on transformation from the line-item to programme budgeting, and improvement of the planning process through the utilization of tools such as the Medium
CHILD RIGHTS MONITORING
In the field of child rights monitoring, UNICEF is cooperating with the National Statistical Service (NSS) to contribute to the improvement of collection of reliable and disaggregated data and the analysis of evidence for decision making through introduction of DevInfo technology at the national, regional and community levels. Support to NSS in institutionalization of child poverty analysis within Integrated Living Standards Survey (ILCS) provides data for evidence based decision making.
COLLECTION OF RELIABLE AND DISAGREGATED DATA FOR EVIDENCE BASED DECISION-MAKING
Child poverty is a leading cause of exclusion and marginalization in Armenia; however it is not positioned highly on decision makers’ agenda. The analysis is used as the principal advocacy tool to ensure policy makers focus their attention on child poverty and improved budgeting for children. Using the child poverty analysis, UNICEF has been able to engage in a debate involving the parliament and agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on social protection coverage, effectiveness of social protection interventions, and equity of access for the most vulnerable population.
According to ILCS 2011 children continued to be the poorest among the poor. Some 4.7% of children (under 18) live below the extreme poverty line and 41.9 % below the poverty line. Thus, children are exposed to a higher risk of poverty than the population as a whole. Data for 2011 show also a difference in child poverty incidence by sex: 42.9% of girls were poor, vs. 41.1% of boys (all children 41.9%). There are differences in child poverty incidence by regions: 41.6% of children in urban areas were poor, vs. 42.5% of children in rural areas. The analysis also highlights incidence of poverty on specific categories of children (with disabilities; children living with one parent or with a low level of education; children in female headed households and in families with three or more children, etc) and provides evidence on the need to further focus attention on them. The child poverty analysis is being used for promoting improved budgeting for children and leveraging the debate among decision makers and donors on possible solutions for the reduction of child poverty.
The recent Demographic and Health Survey, that was also cosponsored by UNICEF revealed the main nutritional problems as stunting and chronic malnutrition among children. The MICS module on child discipline used during DHS identified that 42 percent of children experienced any physical punishment and 4 per cent experienced severe physical punishment.
MONITORING MDGS AND OTHER CHILD RELATED INDICATORS
UNICEF jointly with other UN agencies supports NSS in monitoring of MDGs using DevInfo technologies. ArmeniaInfo is expanded with the MDG indicators at national and regional levels, also with other socio-economic indicators. Capacity building for NSS and marzpetrans on use of ArmenaiInfo in all marzes will be completed by the end of 2013. All regional offices of NSS will be equipped by the relevant IT equipment and will have access to the www.armdevinfo.site
Drastic territorial inequality in Armenia relates to almost all aspects of social and economic development and especially public services provided to population. Responding to that challenge the Ministry of Territorial Administration (MTA) has developed a Concept of Territorial development which includes a series of actions aimed at addressing regional disparities. In line with this UNICEF jointly with UNDP supported the MTA in improving and update of the Community Database. The ArmeniaInfo database will be expanded with the Community Database by the end of 2013. The database will be used by the Government as a planning and monitoring tool of the regional action plans. UNICEF will support the MTA with the installation of ArmeniaInfo database at the community level data and will support in capacity development of marzpetarans` (provincial governors’ offices) relevant staff on use of the database for decision making.
In 2013 with support from the Swiss National Committee for UNICEF, UNICEF Country Office is planning to build capacities of regional gender commissions as well as support the Government in elaborating policy recommendations related to institutional capacities of Women’s Council functioning under the Office of the Prime Minister with the aim of transforming the Council into a national mechanism on gender equality. Under the second component of the programme, UNICEF is planning to strengthen its focus on gender issues in schools – in particular sensitizing children from school age about issues like gender violence, gender discrimination and stereotypes. An experimental research project is planned with the University of Zurich, in cooperation with the Communication Officer. UNICEF also provided technical support to the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues in drafting the Law on Domestic Violence. The draft laws, as well as the package of supporting legislative amendments (in the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code) have been submitted to the Government for approval.
COMMUNICATION FOR DEVELOPMENT
UNICEF has identified priority areas for which Communication for Development interventions will be critical in the coming years. These include immunization, gender equality, de-institutionalization and inclusion of children with disabilities. In 2012 UNICEF supported by the Regional Office developed a communication strategy on immunization in Armenia which has been shared with the Ministry of Health for review and approval. This year the Country Office also drafted a communication strategy on inclusion of children with disabilities the implementation of which will start soon after the baseline survey is completed. Both strategies aim at reaching attitude and behaviour change among selected participant groups and will be implemented until the end of the current programme cycle.
PUBLIC FINANCE MANAGEMENT
The Government of Armenia has been implementing budgeting process reform with the ultimate focus on transformation from the line-item to programme budgeting, and improvement of the planning process through the utilization of tools such as the Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEF). The GIZ-led project on Programme Budgeting is providing technical assistance mostly to the Ministry of Finance, while UNICEF is coordinating technical support provided to national partners in the area of PFM - Ministry of Education and Science (inclusive education and DRR); the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues (Integrated Social Services and alternative care services for children) and the Ministry of Health (Nutrition) - to strengthen technical capacities of the ministries’ staff required for the preparation of quality MTEF submissions and budgetary programmes.