On 8th October 2020, the United Nations Development Programme’s Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe/Central Asia held an online regional focus group discussion, moderated by Bureau for Policy & Programme Support, NY. The discussion aimed to leverage the expertise of economic advisors in UNDP’s Country Offices to influence a green recovery from COVID-19 and to support climate-sensitive development planning.
The event was organized within the UNDP’s COVID-19 crisis response to help decision-makers look beyond recovery towards 2030, making choices and managing complexity and uncertainty in four main areas: governance, social protection, green economy, and digital disruption. In this context, three discussion topics were formulated under which countries’ representatives had interventions to present the current status and visions on respective issues. Particularly, all the questions for discussion were grouped under the following topics:
Mihaela Stojkoska, the Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Armenia, briefed on the response to COVID-19 of the Armenian Government, particularly on close cooperation of UNDP in Armenia with the Government, responsible state bodies and ministries, as well as on UNDP led “Socio-Economic Impact Assessment Study” and support delivered to the Republic of Armenia in the form of medical equipment and supplies. Mrs. Stojkoska also spoke about “COVID-19 Socio-Economic Response and Recovery Plan”, developed collectively by the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Armenia in consultation with the Government, civil society and international partners, that outlines the UN Armenia’s vision of an inclusive approach to effectively mitigate the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, to save lives, protect people and communities, while building back better and greener.
Artak Baghdasaryan, “EU4Climate” EU-UNDP regional project Task Lead, presented country’s Nationally Determined Contribution revision status under the “EU4Climate” EU-UNDP project. Mr. Baghdasaryan provided details on UNDP’s support delivered through assisting climate change mitigation and adaptation policy development and harmonization them with the EU’s Green Deal framework. Reflecting on the assessments that finance and sectoral ministries need to inform the green recovery decision-making process, Artak Baghdasaryan spoke about climate finance budgeting and expenditure tracking system, being developed within “EU4Climate” project. The system will allow policy makers to assess the effectiveness of current climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, to reveal the value for money and seek better policies against available resources.
Afterwards, Diana Harutyunyan, UNDP Climate Change Programme Coordinator, and Georgi Arzumanyan, UNDP SGR Portfolio Programme Policy Adviser, briefed on UNDP Armenia’s staff capacity building measures, advocacy and support extended to the Government for the ‘greening’ recovery and development planning through various initiatives. One of the priorities as outlined in “COVID-19 Socio-Economic Response and Recovery Plan” is “More Green Growth” to protect the natural environment and ecosystems and address climate change. The priority will promote green and equitable recovery as a key concept that entails investments towards green and circular economic development, including green energy solutions, investments and technical assistance in green food systems and infrastructure.
The regional focus group discussion served an effective platform to build basis of leveraging the expertise of economic advisors in UNDP’s Country Offices towards green recovery from COVID-19 and climate-sensitive development planning. The event outlined a plan for UNDP to empower its in-house economic advisors to leverage NDC processes as a critical tool for influencing green recovery strategies and future national development plans.