EITI Armenia History
The mining sector is the fastest growing part of the Republic of Armenia’s economy. Copper, molybdenum, and gold reserves of the Republic of Armenia far exceed those of other countries in the region. In view of the importance of the mining sector to the economy of the Republic of Armenia, transparency and accountability are of particular importance and urgency.
By having an effective and transparent management of natural resources the country can reach economic outcomes that will help ensure economic growth and reduce poverty. At the same time, in democratic countries, governments have a responsibility to guarantee the accountability and transparency of the decisions and implemented policies. The Republic of Armenia is aiming to attract more foreign investments particularly in the mining sector, and access to reliable information for public sector and business circles is a precondition for it.
The idea to join the EITI came within the framework of the Open Government Partnership, to which Armenia had joined in 2011 aiming at the implementation of certain commitments to promote transparency in public administration, new technologies, civil society participation, fight against corruption.
Armenia began the process of becoming an EITI member in July 2015, when the Prime Minister formally stated the intention to become a country member.
The EITI MSG of the Republic of Armenia comprises fifteen members, as follows:
- Six representatives from the Government of the Republic of Armenia;
- Four representatives from mining companies, and
- Five representatives from civil society (including one from academia).
Tigran Khachatryan, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia, is the Chair of the EITI MSG.
The EITI in Armenia creates a platform for the government, companies and civil society to hold a dialogue on financial accountability in the extractive industries.
On June 27, 2016, the first meeting of the Armenian EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group took place. The composition of the EITI MSG of the Republic of Armenia was approved per RA Prime Minister Decree 1104-A on Establishing Multi-Stakeholder Group for Accession of the Republic of Armenia in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and Approving Its Composition of November 24, 2016 (in Armenian only). On 26 December 26 2016, the MSG adopted by consensus the ToR of the EITI MSG of the Republic of Armenia, and its 2017-2018 EITI Work Plan. By letter dated 28 December 2016, the Government formally submitted its application for candidate status.
Armenia’s EITI candidature application was approved on 9 March 2017 at the EITI board meeting in Bogota. The decision noted the following deadlines:
The EITI admits the Republic of Armenia as an EITI candidate country on 9 March 2017. In accordance with the EITI Standard, the Republic of Armenia is required to publish its first EITI Report within 18 months of becoming a candidate (i.e. by 9 September 2018). Armenia is required to publish an annual activity report for 2017 by 1 July 2018. Validation will commence within two and a half years of becoming a candidate (i.e. by 9 September 2019). In accordance with the work plan submitted by the MSG, the EITI Board expects Armenia to publish a beneficial ownership roadmap by 1 January 2018.
Armenian EITI MSG by January 1, 2018, approved, published and presented to the EITI international secretariat the roadmap for the disclosrue of the beneficial owners of metal ore mining companies, which was developed by international and local consultants, in collaboration with the MSG, the EITI secretariat, the state authorities and other stakeholders. The roadmap was preceded by the implementation of the Legal Review on Beneficial Ownership in Armenia. The roadmap was presented at the session of the Anti-Corruption Council of Armenia held on March 22, with the aim of informing and further formulating it to the government decision. Then the roadmap was transformed into the Protocol Decision N12 of the RA Government "On Approval of the List of Measures Required for Disclosure of Beneficial Owners of Metal Ore Mining Companies of Armenia", dated March 29, and inter-agency working group was set up in order to develop draft legal acts (Decree 297-A of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, dated March 27, 2018 "On Establishing of inter-agency working group).
During MSG meeting on held on March 27, 2018, it was decided that taking into account that time required for the development of the EITI report was insufficient to perform good quality work and to publish the EITI report in line with the EITI standard and the MSG requirements, to apply to the EITI international board for an extension request of 2.5 months.
During the EITI board meeting in Berlin on June 27-30 a decision was made to satisfy Armenia's request and to postpone publication of the 2018 EITI report up to 9 March 2019. In particular, the EITI board has decided:
Armenia is eligible for an extension and the reporting deadline is extended to 9 March 2019. If the outstanding EITI Report is not published by 9 March 2019, Armenia will be suspended. The suspension will not be lifted until requirement 4.8 is met. If the suspension is in effect for more than one year the EITI Board will delist Armenia.
At the EITI Global Conference in Paris on June 17-19, 2019, Armenia received the EITI Chair's Award, which was announced by EITI Chair Fredrik Reinfeldt at the opening of the Conference. "A newcomer to the EITI that has begun with innovation and high pace. By fostering cooperation between government, businesses, and civil society, the EITI has helped to introduce a new culture of multi-stakeholder dialogue on natural resource governance. Following the path of systematic disclosures, Armenia EITI has established an e-reporting platform, which also serves as a data portal”, said Chair of the EITI.
On 9 July 2020, the EITI Board, as a result of 1st validation assessment of Armenia agreed that Armenia has made satisfactory progress in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard, stating that:
“Following the conclusion of Armenia’s Validation, the EITI Board agrees that Armenia has made satisfactory progress overall in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard. The Board commends the Government of Armenia and the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) for the exemplary progress in implementing the EITI Standard and for the country’s efforts to expand the scope of EITI reporting to issues of national concern.”
In that regard, Helen Clark, the EITI Board Chair said: “I would like to congratulate the Government of Armenia and all EITI stakeholders for achieving satisfactory progress on implementing the EITI Standard. On behalf of the Board, I encourage the country to continue along the path of reform and to maintain progress towards the systematic disclosure of mining information.”
In the article published on eiti.org quotes Tigran Avinyan, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia and MSG Chair: “The Government of Armenia is fully committed to implementing the good governance principles required by EITI, which are key for ensuring mining sector reform. In relation to this, the Multi-stakeholder Group will work to maintain what has already been achieved in Armenia, while also focusing on increasing EITI impact, building on systematic disclosures and integrating the issues of public concern into the MSG’s national agenda.”
The Board has determined that Armenia will be re-Validated in three years, i.e. on 9 July 2023.
According to the requirement 8.3.b of the 2016 EITI Standard where Validation verifies that a country has made satisfactory progress on all of the requirements, the EITI Board will designate that country as EITI compliant. According to the Validation assessment Armenia recorded Satisfactory progress on 20 requirements and Beyond Satisfactory progress on 4 requirements.
Thus, as of July 9, 2020 Armenia is the 9th country among the 53 EITI member countries to be granted the status of a country with satisfactory progress.