YEREVAN, JANUARY 30, ARTSAKHPRESS. The newly-launched Resilient Syunik Team Europe Initiative will have big positive impact on the socio-economic sectors of the province and will help it become resilient, Governor of Syunik Robert Ghukasyan told ARMENPRESS.
Governor Ghukasyan believes that by launching this initiative the European Union is also showing that it opposes Azerbaijan’s menacing aspirations towards Syunik.
“This program will have a rather big impact on the province’s socio-economic sectors. The development of small and medium enterprises is especially highlighted, and the Austrian Development Agency’s program directed for the restoration of small municipal infrastructures is also highly important,” Ghukasyan said.
Two grant contracts were signed. The first one is the “R2D Syunik: Recovery, Resilience, and Development for Syunik ’’project, co-funded by the European Union and the Austrian Development Cooperation and implemented by the Austrian Development Agency. The EUR 11 ml project aims to enhance competitiveness of MSMEs and to support rehabilitation of sustainable small-scale community infrastructure in Syunik. Governor Ghukasyan described it as an “extremely important” project which will have a very big impact in a short period of time. “The kind of problems which this project is aimed to solve is prevalent in Syunik, especially in small village settlements. I am sure that the project will have big and positive impact on the province,” Governor Ghukasyan said.
Thus, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will be provided with both financial and advisory support. Furthermore, the restoration of infrastructures will encompass all settlements. According to the Governor, the funds will be entirely sufficient for solving the infrastructure problems especially in small communities. Drinking and irrigation water supply pipelines will be restored. Roads could also be restored. The program will be directed for solving the most urgent problems, the Governor said.
Resilient Syunik Team Europe Initiative has an initial approximate five-year budget of €51 million. It is a flexible mechanism, which can be further expanded and is open for EU Member States to join with new initiatives to promote the development of the Syunik region.
The “R2D Syunik: Recovery, Resilience, and Development for Syunik’’ project will be launched in the end of January. While the second project, the “Partnerships for Syunik. Enhanced Community-based Social Services’’, co-funded by the European Union and implemented by People in Need, Caritas Armenia and Winnet Armenia, will be launched in the beginning of February.
The Governor believes that the joint undertaking of the European Union, the European Investment Bank and EU Member states Austria, France, Germany, Poland and Sweden, with Switzerland also having joined as an external partner, will greatly contribute to making Syunik more resilient. “Before the latest events, especially the border communities had numerous problems, and the present situation exacerbated the problems. And it is highly important to implement urgent projects to create a positive environment. The border settlements will be prioritized in the implementation of the project. This will be a rather big signal for the people, especially when the European Union is implementing it. This will mean a lot to our residents. If we swiftly implement projects it would mean that there must be development in every corner of Armenia’s sovereign territory, and this is a very powerful signal for the people,” Governor Ghukasyan said.
Governor Ghukasyan said that this initiative of the EU will also help to strengthen Syunik in terms of security, because success is possible through developing the sectors he mentioned.
Furthermore, Governor Ghukasyan believes that by choosing his province for the initiative the EU is also sending a message to Azeri leader Ilham Aliyev against his territorial ambitions.
“There’ve been numerous statements made by the EU leadership, leaders of EU member states, who have expressed their stance in a clear and targeted manner, stating that they are against Azerbaijan’s actions. And certainly, with this step they are showing their stance specifically regarding the aspirations of the Azerbaijani side,” the Governor said.