21 December, Yerevan, Armenia – Today the UN Resident Coordinator in Armenia, Shombi Sharp met with the newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ara Ayvazyan. Deputy Minister Artak Apitonyan, other representatives of the Ministry and the Heads of UNHCR, UNDP, UNICEF and IOM also participated in the meeting.
The introductory meeting provided an opportunity to discuss with Minister Ayvazyan ongoing and future priorities of cooperation between the UN and Government, ranging from addressing the humanitarian and socio-economic impacts of overlapping challenges caused by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and COVID-19, to plans for the launch of a new five-year UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2021-2025 from next month.
In particular, Mr. Sharp presented UN Armenia efforts to support people from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone who were displaced to Armenia.
“From the early days of the renewed fighting, UN Armenia quickly put in place a structure of working groups under the Resident Coordinator’s Office, with support from UNHCR, to coordinate humanitarian efforts of UN agencies and partners for those forced to flee their homes and arriving in Armenia. In close partnership with Government and municipalities, the UN has provided support across a range of critical needs for those displaced and host communities, including shelter and non-food items, protection, food security and nutrition, health, early recovery, child protection, education, cash support,” said Mr. Sharp.
Since mid-October, the UN Country Team Agencies and partners have responded to the crisis with the distribution of tens of thousands of non-food items, such as bedding, towels, hygiene supplies, medical kits, school supplies and household items, in addition to hundreds of metric tons of food assistance and even energy needs, to thousands of displaced people and the communities they are hosted in. Mr. Sharp added that a new UN and partners’ multi-sector Response Plan addressing updated humanitarian, early recovery and host community needs will be launched in early January.
The UN Armenia Country Team also shared details on the ongoing UN Armenia COVID-19 Response and Recovery plan, launched in September with an overall target budget of USD 33 million including partner support. The Heads of UN Agencies informed the Minister on results achieved, as well as planned initiatives to support vulnerable people and communities in Armenia’s fight against COVID-19.
The sides also discussed the new UN Armenia new Cooperation Framework (CF) for 2021-2025, which sets out priority areas guiding UN support in Armenia for the next five years. Based on both Government priorities and widely surveyed citizen aspirations, the CF will focus on achieving Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals in the Armenian context.
On behalf of all UN Country Team Agencies, Mr. Sharp reaffirmed UN Armenia’s commitment to support the Armenian Government and people in building back better with resilience through the double crises, along a new path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.