Mr. Arsen Stepanyan, Bridge for CSOs” Project Manager believes that the two major projects funded by the European Union in Armenia: Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” and “Bridge for CSOs” projects complement each other. According to him, it is necessary to have a comprehensive approach in three directions for the development of non-governmental organizations. “One is the overall effective management skills of the organization, financial, human resources, communication management etc. The second part is the public relations of the organizations, Which supposes the mobilization of the society both in the volunteer as well as in the interested public sector in the issue effective representation with the public administration body. And the third is the quality and targeted management of the services,” Mr. Stepanyan said and added that the European Union has a great influence on this issue. “In our case, the Armenian Lawyers’ Association and partners are trying to support the public relations of the organizations and the development of mechanisms for dialogue with the state. And the role of the ” Bridge for CSOs” project the approach to providing quality services, including through the Diaspora partners. These two factors are important together. When you come to a dialogue with government agencies, to be a reliable and efficient organization, you should be able to provide effective, good quality services, and to be a reliable organization. It is here that these two programs complement each other and are able to provide the best possible result,” Mr. Arsen Stepanyan, Bridge for CSOs,” the Project Manager said.
The training on the new NGO Law was held today in the office of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) in Yerevan in the framework of cooperation of the two projects. These courses are conducted through the efforts of the Armenian Lawyers’ Association, within the framework of the EU-funded “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project. The speaker is ALA Head Mr. Karen Zadoyan.
Karen Zadoyan started the course with new regulations on the creation of NGOs, touched upon the issues of governance bodies and the elaboration of the statute, talked about the opportunity to be engaged in direct entrepreneurial activities, problems and challenges.
“Provisions on direct engagement in entrepreneurial activities by organizations are innovations in the new NGO Law. Previously, the organizations had to meet these needs by creating or participating in economic organizations.” Karen Zadoyan told the participants of the training that the field of entrepreneurial activities is not practically regulated right now. “Small non-governmental organizations with a turnover of not more than 58 million 350 thousand AMD can freely engage in direct entrepreneurial activity. But certain risks may arise for large non-governmental organizations,” said the speaker.
He touched upon the accountability of NGOs, informing that in case of public funding, NGOs will be required to submit a report to the state. “For example, in case where any organization has used public funds and has not submitted reports in the prescribed manner and terms, in this case, the State Authorized Body, which currently is the State revenue Committee, will inform the NGO about this violation and propose a reasonable period of time to eliminate the violation, that is to submit the report. If the NGO fails to eliminate the violation and submit the report, in that case the SRC is entitled to file a suit to the court with the request to suspend the activities of the NGO, this means that the State Authorized Body has serious control mechanisms,” Mr. Zadoyan said.
The ALA President also informed that according to the new Law, the charters of almost all non-governmental organizations operating in Armenia contradict to the requirements of the legal act. So organizations will have to change their statutes. The deadline is 4 February, 2018.
In this regard, the Armenian Lawyers’ Association will provide free assistance to NGOs within the framework of the “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project.
We also talked about the effectiveness of the training and the problems facing NGOs in the meeting with the members of the NGOs that participated in the training.
The “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project is implemented with the financial support of the European Union by the “Armenian Lawyers’ Association” NGO in cooperation with its partners; Agora Central Europe o.p.s (an NGO from the Czech Republic), Armenian Center for Democratic Education-CIVITAS, “International Center for Human Development” Public Organization, SME Cooperation Association and Union of Communities of Armenia.