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Fostering Stakeholder Engagement in Law- and Policy-Making Armenia’s Energy Sector

On 13 September 2018 in Yerevan, Armenia, the Energy Charter Secretariat together with the Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources of the Republic of Armenia and the EU Delegation to Armenia convened a communication workshop on developing a code of good practices for stakeholder consultations and inter-ministerial coordination. 

Considering constructive commentary from several societal actors throughout the legislative process is an essential ingredient for creating more accountable, open and transparent governance. It also fosters a less risky and more predictable legal and regulatory environment for attracting investments in the energy sector, including in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, which are two areas the Government of Armenia has previously considered as priorities for development. 

In some respects, Armenia already has a forward-thinking culture when it comes to stakeholder participation in the policymaking process. Recent events have propelled a sense of civic engagement among citizens who consider themselves co-creators of the country they live in. A more specific example is an online digital platform, designed for public commentary on draft policies that has already registered nearly 20 000 people since its creation last year. Furthermore, as a member of the international Open Government Partnership initiative, Armenia strives for fulfilling its commitments.

However, there is still more that can be done to improve stakeholder consultation in Armenia. For instance, one recommendation is for the Ministry to coordinate regular sessions to discuss designated topics as opposed to Ministry officials relying on excerpts of external expertise. This could be in the form of setting up an advisory-group constituting a balanced representation of public institutions, experts, NGOs and the business community. Another recommendation is to include stakeholders in the process of drafting of new policies and legislation from the beginning. The final outcome of EU4Energy technical assistance is the proposed Code of good practice for stakeholders communication and consultation in the energy sector of Armenia.

EU4Energy, an EU-funded technical assistance programme designed to help improve the rules and regulations governing the energy sectors of Eastern Partnership countries on the basis of best practices in the EU. Through this cooperation programme, the Energy Charter Secretariat also works closely with Azerbaijan and Belarus.