Since the Government of Armenia launched a national anticorruption strategy in 2003, new amendments to laws on taxation, customs procedures, financial disclosure, procurement, lobbying, education and healthcare have been adopted by the National Assembly. Despite these changes, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, corruption in Armenia hasn’t improved: Armenia takes the 109th place among 180 countries with an index of 2.9 (vs. 3.0 in 2003 and 2007). The study demonstrates Armenia has made little if any progress in the fight against corruption, and identifies the misuse of public funds and nepotism as major obstacles to the country’s economic and political development.
With funding from the United Nations Democracy Endowment Fund (UNDEF), Eurasia Partnership Foundation’s partner the Union of Armenian Government Employees (UAGE) launched a project entitled Monitoring of Civil Servant Recruitment and Attestation Processes. The goal of the project is to reduce the risk of corruption in the civil service through increased civil society participation in the work of the government. The project is implemented in close partnership with the Civil Service Council.
Working with four local NGOs, UAGE monitored about 170 recruitment and attestation events for senior and chief civil servants at the Civil Service Council and three Armenian government ministries. The team developed a questionnaire and monitoring manual in order to oversee the work of Commission.
As a part of the project, UAGE also conducted a survey of 136 applicants to civil servant positions. Only 50,7 % of respondents answered that corruption is “unacceptable”; others believe that it could be “partly justifiable” and 7,4% avow that corruption is “surely justifiable.” Participants of the survey underlined there are many corruption cases each of them face to different extent. Based on the survey, UAGE published a list of recommendations, including: make civil servant appointments public; allocate independent specialists to develop testing passports; in case of a tie score, call for an additional examination round; make testing computer-based; prohibit the use of mobile phones and other equipment during testing; and create special conditions for monitoring in examination rooms.
A workshop devoted to the findings, as well as case study analysis conducted by UAGE, was conducted in Yerevan where representatives of Armenian Government, Civil Service Council and other decision making organizations were represented. A preliminary agreement to take recommendations into consideration was reached. Results and recommendations were disseminated to a wide stakeholder community and the general public through two TV discussions and published reports.
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