The major and most important development that took place in the sphere of the LG reform during the reporting period was the decision to launch the process of community consolidation in spring 2015.
In January-February 2015 there were various publications in the media, including interviews of representatives of the MTAES announcing the upcoming launch of the local referenda and community consolidation process.
On February 9th 2015, Armen Yeritsyan, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations met USAID/Armenia Director Karen Hilliard, Head of USAID/Armenia’s Democracy, Health and Social Reform Office, Alison McFarland, USAID Program Managers Arev Movsisyan and Bella Markarian, as well as CFOA Chairman Vahan Movsisyan and CELoG CoP David Tumanyan. During the meeting, the objectives and activities of the CELoG project were introduced to the Minister and the issue of the consolidation of communities was discussed.
On March 19th 2015, the Government of Armenia adopted three decisions to hold local referenda on community consolidation in three pilot community beams (Tatev, Dilijan and Tumanyan). The Government has appointed May 17th as the date for the local referenda on consolidation in all three beams (in 22 communities).
This decision has accelerated some of the processes for both the government and the CELoG project. Soon after the Government Decision appointing May 17 as the date for local referenda in three community beams, representatives of the MTAES started visits to the target communities to advocate for consolidation.
In order to contribute to effective public participation in local government and ensure informed participation of community members in the local referenda, CELoG staff had to make several rearrangements and adjustments in the project implementation plan. Namely, the visits to target community beams were moved to April since there is a strong necessity to conduct explanatory activities in the three target community beams.