YEREVAN-- On March 15, 2016 a conference was held at Yerevan State University, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s independence and entitled, “State systems of social security since independence”. YSU’s Faculty of Sociology and the Armenian Association of Social Workers collaborated to organize the conference.
The conference focused on the 25 years’ experience of creation and reform of the country’s social protection system. Speakers focused on positive achievements and the current situation, issues and trends of the social protection system. In addition, state security systems and strengthened cooperation among institutions and experts in the field were priority topics of the conference.
YSU Rector Aram Simonyan noted that both state and society can only sustainably exist through the creation of a system of social protection that symbiotically protects both parties. “All that is being accomplished today, even in the narrow capabilities of the system as it stands, can only be welcomed. Over the past years the system and services have shown that, despite our many difficulties and challenges, the state social security system is starting to operate more effectively,” Mr. Simonyan said.
RA Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Artem Asatryan pointed out that the system has traditionally stressed poverty reduction through monetary handouts, and focused on solving problems related to unemployment and emigration. “Today, one of the most crucial problems is understanding the needs of vulnerable groups of society so that adequate social services can be provided,” he said. Minister Asatryan stressed that poverty cannot be overcome by providing exclusively monetary transfers, because such solutions are short-term and do not address the underlying issues that contribute to the existence of poverty.
During the conference, thematic presentations were made by representatives of the RA National Assembly and government agencies, the academic sphere, non-governmental and international organizations, social policy development experts, and social workers and case managers involved in direct service provision.
Experts from the field discussed the role of state social services within society and opportunities for civil society participation in reform processes and service provision. Experts also addressed the specific issues that face various vulnerable population groups. All participants contributed to a balanced and nuanced discussion of the state social protection system in independent Armenia, and agreed upon the necessity for more comprehensive and needs-based service provision for the benefit of both state and society.
The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of RA - Mr. Artem Asatryan.
The Yerevan State University Rector - Mr. Aram Simonyan.