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Public Council

Public Council

Date of entry: July 20, 2010

Member of AICESIS

Member of ILO

The Public Council of the Republic of Armenia (henceforth, PCA – the Public Council of Armenia) was established on 11 March 2009 by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Armenia.

Taking into consideration that activities of the PCA for 2009-2015 have earned approval of both the public and the RA President, and considering expedient operations of that institution as a permanently functioning body enjoying powers under law, it has been decided to include a provision on the PCA in the package of 2015-2016 constitutional amendments, enabling the RA National Assembly to approve a separate Law on Public Council of Armenia.

The Public Council of Armenia is competent to undertake expert evaluation of the Armenian laws and other normative Acts and to hold consultations and hearings with regard to those problems, laws and decisions, which have received much public attention, and to involve citizens and representatives of civic associations and mass media. As a depoliticized entity, the PCA is grounded to  the principle of pro bono participation of the citizens and civic associations and of the representatives of the Armenian Diaspora.

Objectives

The goals of the PCA are to:

 

 

 

 

 

Contacts

Institutional characteristics

Establishment
Date of creation
July 2008
Year operational
11 March 2009
Nature of the texts that create the ESC (Constitution, law, decree, etc.)
Presidential resolutions
Decree of the President of the Republic
Protocols
Mandate

Consultation and advisory

The main mission of the Public Council of Armenia is to be an entity that provides general public with leverage with regard to government policies, while enabling the Government to bring their actions in line with public expectations.
Composition

Bipartite plus (W, E and others)

Number of members : 36 members

Duration of the term: 4 years

Process of designating the members (election, nomination, by whom, etc.): Mixed- designation and nomination can happen either by the President of the Republic, or by the President of Public Council.

Membership structure: The PCA consists of 36 members and 12 committees by areas of activities (henceforth, sectoral committees). The RA President appoints 12 out of the 36 members, and thereafter, they are tasked to form 12 sectoral committees. At their sessions, the committees elect chairpersons who become next 12 members of the PCA. The remaining 12 members are elected by 24 members the PCA, through closed secret voting.

Trade unions, unions of businessmen and manufacturers, non-governmental organizations and associations youth and student organizations, mass media, union of veterans, scientific-educational unions, unions of consumers’ rights protection, religions organizations, Diaspora structures, local self-government bodies and other structures involved in respective areas can nominate representatives to serve in the committees.

At present, 1200 non-governmental organizations have delegated 2084 representatives to serve in the PCA committees. Regions of Armenia are represented by around 500 members.
Management organes

Presidium

General Assembly and Plenary

Secretariat

Operational Arrangement Permanent secretarait
Contacts
Administrative organization of the PCA: The administrative staff of the Public Council consists of 9 members- the head of staff, spokesperson, coordinator of international affairs, the president’s advisor, secretary and 4 coordinators each responsible for 3 out of the 12 committees of the Council.
Gender balance

Equal or More than 30%

Females represent 32.8% (683) of the total number of PCA committee members.
Reporting Institution

cabinet of president

Government

Parliament

Others

Public

Functioning

Who convenes the ESC

According to the Bylaws, the PCA has the following main functions and powers:

Conduct, on its own initiative or at the request of an interested state body, public expertise of the RA laws, draft laws and government decisions;
Within its frameworks, hold discussions and public hearings, develop recommendations both on current issues and on matters of strategic importance;
Discuss issues raised by the public at sessions of the PCA committees or PCA plenary sessions, submit conclusions and decisions to relevant government authorities and the public;
The PCA committees have the power to submit independently issues, conclusions and recommendations to the relevant government authorities. Within the frameworks of the PCA, 70 subcommittees (working groups) function to discuss certain issues.

Other

Affiliations: AICESIS

On July 7, 2010, in New York the Public Council joined the membership of the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions (AICESIS), by the presentation of the AICESIS presidium, and participated in the works of the General Assembly of that international organization.

Highlighting the important role of AICESIS, the PCA believes that the establishment of bilateral relations between member organizations not only will even more contribute to the works done by this institution, but also will highly contribute to the strengthening of the dialogue between governments and civil societies of the member countries.

During the mutual visits, bilateral agreements were signed with the ESCs of Greece, Russia, China, Portugal and Brazil.

In 2011, the Public Council of Armenia signed trilateral collaboration agreement with Economic and Social Council of Ukraine and the Civic Chamber of Russia.

Main technical areas of competencies

Sustainable development

The PCA discussed, elaborated and submitted to the consideration of the RA state authorities the document on the “Need for Development of Cooperation in the RA Agricultural Sector”. The conclusions of the paper were incorporated in the RA Strategy of Sustainable Agricultural Development for 2010-2020 adopted by the Government of Armenia.

Labour Law reform

The PCA, in response to the request of the Trade Unions of Armenia, discussed provisions regarding the trade unions stipulated in the Draft Law on “Making Amendments and Restatements to the RA Labor Code”. With the participation of representatives of trade unions, a representative of RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, as well as the Chairman of the relevant Standing Committee of the RA National Assembly, the PCA held discussions on the Draft Law and submitted recommendations, which were partially accepted.

Productivity and competitivity

Establishment of the National Partnership Network (PCA Committee on Entrepreneurial Activities and Consumers’Affairs). The Government adopted a decision regarding this recommendation on the establishment of the National Partnership Foundation, jointly with the “National Partnership” NGO.

Fundamental principles and rights at work

Recommendations sent to the National Assembly to create draft laws regarding the trade unions that will protect workers’ rights and will create favorable conditions for further evolution of trade unions

Employment policy and labour market regulation

The PCA discussed the issue of making relevant amendments in the RA Labor Code related to payment of disability benefits to employees, who became disabled during employment. A working group was formed in the PCA framework: a relevant written statement addressed to the RA President was developed.

Recommendations sent to the Government and the President regarding the new law about the Mandatory Funded Pensions.

Active circles of the society, particularly intellectuals and young employees engaged in the IT sector raised a number of problematic issues concerning the RA Law on Funded Pensions. With the participation of interested stakeholders, the PCA held discussions, formed a working group assigned to develop and submit comments and recommendations, which were considered in the amended version of the RA Law on Funded Pensions later adopted by the RA National Assembly, thereby considerably mitigating the social tension among the public.

Education

Package of recommendations sent to the Government regarding the Public Education: The Public Council of Armenia, on its initiative and the demand of the society, held many discussions on issues related to the education sector of Armenia: the PCA developed a package of recommendations (“Several Issues on the Organization of Educational Process”) and submitted it to the RA President during a meeting. A part of recommendations (general education administration system, a school structure) included in the package were accepted by the RA Ministry of Education.

Environment Policy

Various Recommendations sent to the Government on Environmental and Urban issues: • Some layers of the Armenian civil society, in particular, the great mass of active youth and environmentalists raised numerous issues regarding urban development of Yerevan (inadmissibility of demolishment of Mashtots Park, future destiny of “Moscow” summer Cinema Theater, etc). In close collaboration with the above-mentioned groups, the PCA applied to different state structures and due to joint efforts reached positive results.

Financial and Economic Policies

Recommendations about the effective exploitation of inner recourses in the economy

Recommendation regarding the implementation of economic mobilization policy

Fiscal and Taxation Policies

Recommendation was made to simplify the taxation legislature for small and medium enterprises
Stimulating export of goods, Simplification of taxation legislature for the small and medium enterprises. Based on the recommendations of PCA the government began to subsidize up to 3% of the expenditure for the goods to be exported from the country. As a result of Government subsidizing the charges on export products, export grew by 8-10% yearly.

Infrastructure Networks, Transport, and Energy Policies

- Package of recommendations sent to the Government regarding the Public Transport of the capital City of Armenia.

- Recommendations about the perspectives of Armenian Civic Aviation

- Within its frameworks, the PCA discussed issues related to energy system of Armenia, in particular issues regarding renewable energy development. Recommendations were elaborated and submitted to the consideration of the RA Government.

- The PCA raised the issue of efficient use of water resources, in particular passing of semi-closed water use systems from streaming fish breeding systems in Ararat Valley. The issue was submitted to the consideration of the RA President: it received positive response. Currently, the solution of the issue is in progress.

Others

- Focusing on the issue of amnesty, which was discussed by general public and mass media, the Public Council organized mass discussions of the issue. As a result, recommendations were made and the groups eligible for amnesty were identified. Those recommendations were submitted to the Armenian President and most of them were incorporated in his recommendation presented to the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia with regard to declaring an amnesty.

- Another issue that aroused public concern in the country was that of content of the Armenian TV programs. Numerous non-governmental organizations and individual citizens expressed their deep discontent over the current quality of the TV programs. The Public Council set up a working group engaging professionals from that field. In conformity with the principle of freedom of speech, the working group came up with a Charter that lays down the ethical principles that the TV broadcasters in the Republic of Armenia should comply with in their operation. Almost all TV companies signed the Charter. At present the representatives of TV companies established a monitoring group within the framework of the Charter that will further clarify the application of the norms outlined in the Charter.

Agriculture

Like many other newly independent States, Armenia is faced with numerous problems in the field of agriculture. Having discussed the issues in that area, the Public Council reached a conclusion that the best scenario for the solution of those problems is promotion of agricultural cooperatives in Armenia. Taking into account also the relevant experience existing in the world, the Public Council launched the cooperative movement and will see to it that the movement will further evolve in Armenia. A package of recommendations made by the Council was approved by the Armenian Government and was incorporated in the Strategic Program for agriculture, which was drawn up by the Government.

Legal Affairs

- In 2010, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia applied to the PCA seeking its conclusion on making amendments to the RA Law on “Transplantation of Human Organs and/or Tissues”. After comprehensive discussion of the issue at the PCA Committee on Health Care and Social Affairs, with the involvement of leading specialists, the PCA submitted its conclusion to the RA Constitutional Court.

- The RA Government requested the PCA to discuss and submit its standpoint on the RA Draft Law on Legal Regime of the State of Emergency. The PCA discussed the issued and conducted expertise. PCA’s recommendations were partially accepted by the RA Government.

Social Affairs

- The PCA discussed the issue of “Approving the Family Year” and addressed its respective decision to the President and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia. Recommendations were accepted and the issue of financing “Family Year” events was included in 2012 State Budget.

Civil Society

- Strategy concept of development of civil society organizations in Armenia, created by the Committee on Civil Society Development of Public Council of Armenia.

- The respective committee of the PCA conduced expertise of the draft law on making amendments in the RA Law on Non-Governmental Organization and submitted its comments and recommendations to the RA Ministry of Justice. At first, the recommendations were not accepted, however, after an international expertise, the majority of the PCA committee’s recommendations were considered and accepted by the RA National Assembly.

- The PCA developed the “Strategy Concept of Development of Civil Society Organizations in the RA”, which was submitted for discussion of non-governmental organizations and large layers of the public; the paper was also submitted to the RA public authorities in the form of a draft. Thereafter, the Concept was published in the form of a booklet. The full text of the Concept is available at PCA’s website: www.publiccouncil.am

International affairs

In 2009, the RA President sought PCA’s opinion regarding pre-signed protocols “On the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Turkey” and “On Development of bilateral relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Turkey”. The issue was discussions by all PCA committees, results were summarized at the PCA plenary session and a relevant decision was submitted to the RA President.

Sub-committees/working groups

Productivity and competitivity

Committee on Entrepreneurial Activities and Consumers’ Affairs

Education and Vocational Training

Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport

Gender equality and anti-discrimination

Committee on Demographic and Gender Affairs

Health and Medical Policy / Social Security and social protection

Committee on Health Care and Social Affairs

Environment Policy / Sustainable development

Committee on Agriculture and Environment

Financial and Economic Policies

Committee on Financial-Economic and Budgetary Affairs

Civil Society

Committee on Civil Society Development

International / Regional affairs

Committee on Religion, Diaspora and International Integration Affairs

Others (please specify the list)

Committee on Defense, National Security and Internal Affairs

Social Affairs

Committee on National Minority Affairs

Legal Affairs

Committee on State and Legal Affairs

Governance / Public Administration

Committee on Territorial Administration and Local-Self Government