2nd Annual Conference on Rural Development in Armenia Held

American University of Armenia
Diana Manukyan
Public Relations Office
Tel: (37410) 512 522
Fax: (37410) 512 523
E-mail: [email protected]

Community Development and Performance Budgeting Projects United Nations
Development Programme Armenia
Zara Amatuni
Communications Associate
14 Petros Adamyan Str., Yerevan 0010, Armenia
Tel: (37410) 566073
Fax: (37410) 543811
E-mail: [email protected]

2nd Annual Conference on Rural Development in Armenia Held

July 11, 2008. On July 10, 2008, the Second Annual Conference on Rural
Development in Armenia was convened at the Business Center of American
University of Armenia (AUA). The conference was organized jointly by the AUA
Turpanjian Rural Development Program and United Nations Armenia Country
Office. The event was opened by AUA President Dr. Haroutune Armenian and
Ms. Consuelo Vidal, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative.
The keynote speaker this year was Dr. Nerses Yeritsyan, RA Minister of

The objective of this year’s event was to discuss some of the challenges
faced by development programs and initiatives implemented in Armenian rural
communities and to discuss the existing problems and opportunities in rural
communities. The panel presenters spoke on educational and health issues at
the community level and canvassed the legal aspects such as the approaches
and challenges in current legislation, community property management in
rural areas, and agricultural trade of the European Union with developing

In her welcoming remarks, Ms. Consuelo Vidal stressed the importance of
directing joint efforts towards the reduction of regional disparities as a
major prerequisite to overall country’s development. She noted, "The
potential of rural Armenia is immense, and I would like all of us today to
concentrate on identifying how each one of our institutions can support the
unleashing of its potential."

Minister Nerses Yeritsyan talked about the importance of rural development
and the need to increase agricultural output and for the application of new
technologies. He explained that it is crucial to change the thinking of
rural citizens in order to give them an impetus for locally-based economic
activity. "It is not only agriculture that needs boosting up in Armenian
communities," said Dr. Yeritsyan, adding that the work of the Armenian
Government will be aimed at labor diversification in Armenian villages along
with paving the way to vocational education development, organization of
organic farming and modern service delivery.

AUA President Armenian welcomed attendees and talked about the successes of
the AUA Turpanjian Rural Development Program, which works to improve the
lives of poorer families in Armenia through the development of economic
opportunities and education. The Program develops economic opportunities in
rural areas by supporting individual entrepreneurs in the development of
businesses. The Program trained more than 250 new rural businessmen in its
first full year of operation in the villages of the Shirak and Tavush Marzes
and in Nagorno Karabagh and has plans to fund 150 businesses through loans
and grants by the end of 2008.