This Operation has been modified and extended as per Budget Revision 11 (see below).
Armenia continues to achieve progress in human and economic development despite the closure of borders with two of its neighbours and the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. This progress is reflected through the Government’s growing capacity in poverty reduction and strengthening the social welfare system, maintaining economic growth and improving the business environment; these factors are enhanced by significant remittances from abroad. Yet, 34 per cent of the population live in poverty and food assistance to the most vulnerable is critical during this period of transition and until Government social safety net schemes are expanded and strengthened.
Official data show that in 2005 the average calorie intake among the very poor or food-insecure was 34 percent of the national minimum daily energy requirement. The Government’s efforts to combat poverty, the overall economic growth and higher incomes and remittances all resulted in lower levels of poverty - from 56 percent of the population in 2002 to 34 percent at present. WFP initiated discussions with the Government and cooperating partners towards end-2006 to prepare a smooth handing over of activities to the government, thus allowing sufficient time to consider related plans and budgets. WFP intends to implement an 18-month PRRO, which represents the last phase of its intervention in Armenia.
The activities under the proposed PRRO will include a planned gradual handover, to ensure uninterrupted support to vulnerable groups.. The planning of this PRRO is based on the ODC support mission on exit and handover in early 2007. The mission found a growing Government technical and financial capacity in addressing poverty reduction, along with the presence of other programmes in the country initiated by development partners such as the World Bank. The handover plan envisages a gradual phase-out of WFP’s relief food assistance, in tandem with increased Government budget in the existing Family Poverty Benefit programme . The Government has already adopted and budgeted a strategy for phasing out from food for work (FFW) through a public cash-for-work scheme.
WFP will work to connect its FFW support with other ongoing infrastructure development projects in order to invest where gaps are the most acute, particularly in remote rural communities. WFP will focus its food for education (FFE) programmes under this operation in areas where there is commitment and resources as part of a strategy to handover the activity to local ownership. This PRRO continues to contribute to the country’s commitments under Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7, and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). Along with Strategic Objectives 2 and 4, the PRRO will work toward strategic objective 5 prioritizing capacity building at the local governance level.