On July 13 and 14 a preparatory partner meeting for LDA Armenia took place in Yerevan to discuss the establishment of an LDA in Armenia. The participants in the meeting were among others Region Rhône Alpes, Regional Administration of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Union of Communities of Armenia, Urban Foundation for sustainable development and CISP Italy. Furthermore Mr. Nersisyan mayor of Ijevan, Mr. Manukyan, Vice Mayor of Gyumri, Ministry of Territorial Administration in Armenia, Counterpart International and GIZ also participated in the meeting.
The future partners of the LDA decided that LDA Armenia will be hosted by Gyumri municipality with a satellite office in Ijevan. Gyumri is the second largest city in Armenia and was selected since it will provide a good basis to allow the LDA to work on a national level. Furthermore the vibrant civil society in Gyumri and the possibilities to improve the situation for cooperation between civil society and local authorities were stressed as important factors. In addition to this, Gyumri is also linked with Kutaisi which provides a strong basis for developing the cooperation with Kutaisi city and LDA Georgia, which is located in Kutaisi.
The LDA will work to improve local democracy and involvement of citizens and NGOs in the work of local authorities. It is important to ensure that the LDA is independent of the local authorities in Gyumri and to ensure that it can work on a national level. The LDA will aim to serve as a bridge between Europe and Armenia and will bring Armenian practice to Europe and European experience to Armenia – and at the same time operate as a link between Local Authorities and NGOs in Armenia. Finally the LDA will also work to ensure cross border cooperation in South Caucasus and will work to promote peace and understanding in the South Caucasus region.
The meeting confirmed Region Rhône Alpes as lead partner for the LDA, while Regional Administration of Friuli Venezia Giulia, CISP Italy, Union of Communities of Armenia, Ijevan and Gyumri will be partners of the LDA. There will be a further process during the coming months to involve more international partners and to select national and local Armenian NGOs to be partners of the LDA.
The partners at the meeting confirmed October 27 as the official day for the opening ceremony of LDA Armenia in Gyumri and will work to initiate the selection of a delegate and registration of the LDA as a Foundation before that date.
The LDA will be located in the right wing of the building (see photo) which hosts other public associations and NGOs in Gyumri.