Armenia set for a comprehensive Labor and Social Protection Strategy in 2022
UNICEF supports the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to develop Armenia’s first comprehensive labor and social protection strategy
The Armenian Government Program for 2021-2026 stipulates that state policy on labor and social protection will be implemented on the basis of a strategic document that responds to the issues in this field. However, Armenia does not have and has never had a comprehensive strategy, although some attempts of development were made in the past. In 2021, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs launched a thorough process of review and development, with the support of UNICEF, aiming to engage a wide range of stakeholders in consultation and development.
“There are different strategic plans and programmes in the field, such as for persons with disabilities, on child protection, for the elderly and other vulnerable groups, but so far there is no unified vision of how Armenia sees the field of labor and social protection, especially after the two crises of COVID-19 and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The development of that vision is very important, in terms of where the country is going, what goals we have in this field, how these goals will be acted upon through defined and interconnected programmes,” says Armenuhi Hovakimyan, UNICEF Social Policy Specialist.
Adviser to the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Viktoria Aydinyan notes that this strategy will be unprecedented, creating an opportunity for proper planning of both human and financial resources, and decision making on what services should be provided to citizens in the next five to ten years.
“We expect that this will be a unique strategy at the level of the Government of Armenia with corresponding performance indicators and a budgetary framework. The most important thing is that this strategy will provide the overall vision of the Ministry, and at the same time, a basis for cross-sectoral, thematic sub-strategies to be developed."
“We expect that this will be a unique strategy at the level of the Government of Armenia with corresponding performance indicators and a budgetary framework. The most important thing is that this strategy will provide the overall vision of the Ministry, and at the same time, a basis for cross-sectoral, thematic sub-strategies to be developed. By the end of 2022, we will have a detailed picture of the whole system,” shared Victoria Aydinyan.
As a first step in the process, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and UNICEF developed the terms of reference for technical and expert support, based on which, UNICEF selected a consortium of research companies through a competitive process. In parallel, and in order to make the strategy development process as transparent, systematic, and participatory as possible, a series of meetings was held with the Ministry and other stakeholders in the field, international organizations and civil society representatives. Partners were introduced to the strategy development process and timeline, links to other strategic documents, as well as principles for stakeholder engagement.
In addition to technical expertise and costing for the strategy, UNICEF also seeks to bring international best practices and methodologies to the table. UNICEF also coordinates the UN support to the strategy and its eventual implementation through the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, working to ensure close collaboration with other key stakeholders, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
“While the content is driven and will be approved by the Ministry, UNICEF will try to ensure that it takes into account international best practices. This is one of the most modern approaches to child-sensitive social protection nowadays that accurately defines the risks and vulnerabilities at different stages of a person’s life.”
“While the content is driven and will be approved by the Ministry, UNICEF will try to ensure that it takes into account international best practices. For example, that the strategy follows the life cycle approach, from childhood to old age. This is one of the most modern approaches to child-sensitive social protection nowadays that accurately defines the risks and vulnerabilities at different stages of a person’s life. This allows the social protection system to respond to these vulnerabilities and risks in a targeted way,” explained Armenuhi Hovakimyan. “The strategy should also be in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, international conventions and obligations, as well as comply with the principles of inclusion or gender sensitivity. And most importantly, it must enable a rapid and targeted response to shocks and crises.”
Although the strategy development process was officially launched in November 2021, a lot of work has already been accomplished.
“By its mandate, the Ministry covers a wide range of areas, among which, social protection, social security, labor and employment, gender, demography, and so on. Which means that we are uniquely positioned to service citizens from birth to even post-mortem. Right now, we are in the process of defining the priorities and goals for both the general life-cycle, but also for each period in life,” noted Victoria Aydinyan. “The human being will be at the core of this strategy, and our aim will be on the development of human capital in Armenia, through the comprehensive list of services and programmes that reach each individual.”
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and UNICEF plan to have the first draft in March 2022 based on which then the costing plan will be developed. When both documents are ready, the strategy will be presented for public review through various platforms before it is submitted to the Government for review and approval.
This spring make sure to follow Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to learn about the timeline of public discussions in Yerevan and the regions of Armenia to attend and contribute!
UNICEF support for the strategy development process was made possible in the framework of the “Making Finance Work for Transformative Change in Armenia: Unlocking Finance for Armenia-2030” joint UN programme, funded by the Joint Sustainable Development Goals Fund.