Case Study: Armenia

Introduction

The government of Armenia started a process to nationalize the migration-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through IOM’s project “Monitoring Progress in Achieving Migration Targets of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. During this project, migration and development issues in Armenia were examined in the context of the SDGs and relevant targets were prioritized. Following this, a set of proxy indicators were developed to measure progress against these targets. Finally, a migration data mapping exercise was undertaken and steps were taken to improve national migration data collection and usage.

Methodology

  1. SDG prioritization: Prioritizing SDG migration targets according to national objectives.
  2. Migration data mapping: Mapping migration data to SDG monitoring needs and conducting a gap analysis.
  3. Indicator development: Developing proxy indicators to measure progress towards prioritized targets.
  4. Indicator monitoring and evaluation: Setting up appropriate data systems and processes to operationalize the indicators, to ensure necessary migration data is captured and reporting of the indicators can begin.

The project was led by the Armenian Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia (ArmStat), given its strong focus on migration data and its overall objectives to develop and monitor SDG indicators on migration. The exercise overall included wide consultation of migration stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, academia and the public, and engaged almost 100 people through direct consultation and/or workshops in the first two stages.

Prioritization

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Armenia workshop for SDG prioritization

A workshop was held in November 2016 to discuss which SDG targets should be prioritized. This was done through discussions with participants from government, civil society, academia and more. Stakeholders critically examined SDG targets in relation to migration and development issues in Armenia. Five targets were chosen as the most relevant. Following this, a validation workshop was held to discuss the targets further. During discussions, sub-themes under some of the targets were identified that were particular priorities for Armenia. For example, labour migration and return migration were identified as important components for Armenia under target 10.7. 

Following both workshops, the prioritized targets were adapted to make them more relevant to an Armenian context. Below is a list of the prioritized targets and their adapted formulations (pending final government approval as of July 2018).

Migration Data Mapping

In parallel, a migration data mapping exercise took place. This reviewed national migration data sources, including statistical and administrative data sources, to evaluate data availability across migration topics. The mapping exercise examined migration data capturing, storing, processing, sharing, dissemination and publishing. To do this, 19 interviews were conducted across government agencies and other organizations. The ministries of Education and Science, Labour and Social Affairs, Diaspora, Healthcare, Foreign Affairs, Economic Development and Investments, the State Employment Agency and State Migration Service were interviewed, as well as the Central Bank of Armenia, three departments of the police service and various international organizations.

The mapping exercise revealed that while much valuable migration data was collected by different bodies in Armenia, national migration statistics could be made more robust and there was incomplete data captured on a number of specific topics. For example, there was a need for more reliable statistics on emigration and immigration in different labour market sectors, as well as increased data capture on other topics, including for example return and reintegration, diaspora engagement, remittance utilization and migrant rights. The mapping exercise identified a series of specific migration data challenges and corresponding actionable recommendations. For example, to derive the greatest possible benefit from the human capital of the Armenian diaspora, there is a need to improve data collection regarding the education, skills and knowledge of Armenians abroad. One recommendation was to extend existing data collection on Armenians studying through government programs abroad to include information on their professional activities after graduation. Several of the recommendations were adopted, including some on changes to be made to the national Integrated Living Conditions Survey (ILCS). In this way, the data mapping helped identify where migration data was lacking, and helped strengthen the capacity of ArmStat on migration data.

Developing Indicators

Proxy national indicators were developed for the five prioritized targets. These targets were developed based on existing Armenian migration data capacities and required no additional resources or data capture. Some indicators include selected data from non-government actors. Overall these include a mix of input and outcome indicators, and of existing international indicators and some newly developed national methodologies.


Migration and Education

Target 4.B. By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries.

Proposed national target: By 2020, substantially expand the number of scholarships available to Armenian citizens for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries, and work towards linking migrants' education to labour markets.

Labour Migration

Target 8.8. Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.

Proposed national target: Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, focusing on migrant workers abroad, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.

Migration Governance

Target 10.7. Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.

Proposed national target: Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies and laws, focusing on strengthening management of labour outmigration, return migration, and national asylum processes, as well as improving capacity to strengthen national migration governance in the future

Diaspora Engagement

Target 17.16. Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries.

Proposed national target. Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals, focusing on engaging the diaspora to support national development through knowledge and skills transfer, remittances and financial investment.

Migration Data

Target 17.18. By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data, disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.

Proposed national target. Enhance capacity-building support to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data, disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts, and improve data systems and processes to support proactive, sensitive and intelligent policy across topics in national migration management.

Metadata for Selected Proxy Indicator in Armenia

Indicator

% of returned migrants who undertook paid work during the last 7 days.

Definitions

Participating in paid work as defined by specification in the ILCS as below.

Goal and target addressed

10.7, also 8.8

Unit of measurement

% of total returned migrants

Relevant international standards (if any)

-

Data source(s)

Integrated Living Conditions Survey (ILCS)

Methodology

ArmStat will take a count of those who respond to the question in Section B: ‘Since January 1, 20xx, has [NAME] migrated to another Marz or another country within 3 and more months?’ with

‘2. Yes, migrated and returned after absence less than 3 months’; and
‘3. Yes, migrated and returned after 3-12 months absence’.
 

Of those who responded ‘Yes” to 2 or 3 above, ArmStat will collate their answer to the question in Section D: ‘Did you have any paid work or profitable job (own business) during the last 7 days, even if you worked only for one hour (include the work in a farm, family enterprise)?’

 

ArmStat will report the % of those who responded ‘Yes’ to the above question in Section D as a percentage of those who are returned migrants as per the question in Section B.

 

In addition to this, ArmStat will detail the following disaggregation points during reporting.

Periodicity of measurement

Annual

Disaggregation

For all, disaggregate by:

Gender
Which Marz or country they returned from
Reason for return
 

For those who respond ‘Yes’ to the Section D question, disaggregate by answers to:

‘The main type of economic activity in your workplace or business’
‘What is your employment status?’
‘At your work/ activity you work: 1. Full time 2. Part time 3. Overtime’
 

For those who respond ‘No’ to the Section D question, disaggregate by answers to:

‘Please record the reason why you didn’t work during the last 7 days.’
 

Data points for all of the above are included in the ILCS.

Lead actor involved /other actor: ArmStat

Comments:

Given that all of the above disaggregation points are already collected by the ILCS, this indicator is an opportunity to go beyond the percentage figure, allowing stakeholders to learn more about employment issues facing returned migrants.

Note that this will include those returning from both internal and international migration.

For reference: ILCS Questionnaire 2015, available from www.armstat.am/file/doc/99501303.pdf.

Selected Proxy Indicators

SDG Target

Selected indicators developed

4.B

Number of scholarships awarded to Armenian nationals for enrolment in higher education abroad, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, including for exchange.

 

Data sources: Records from RA Ministry of Education and Science (MoES), Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU)

10.7

% of returned migrants who undertook paid work during the last 7 days.

 

Data sources: Armenian Integrated Living Conditions Survey (ILCS)

 

Proportion of individual asylum applications granted.

 

Data sources: State Migration Service (SMS) asylum seekers registration electronic database.

17.16

Number of development initiatives where Armenian nationals abroad are included as active partners.

 

Data sources: Records from various bodies, including SMS, Ministry of Diaspora, Armenian Development Agency (ADA), AGBU, major national universities

17.18

Proportion of SDG indicators produced at the national level with migration disaggregation.

 

Data source: National-level SDG data (as established by the SDG Council or other relevant body)

Conclusion

Throughout this project, the 2030 Agenda offered a conceptual framework for Armenia to identify key national migration and development issues, and to effectively monitor them. The prioritized targets reflect a range of issues, from labour rights to diaspora engagement and return migrant reintegration, showing the diversity of the SDGs’ migration and development scope. The project also succeeded in strengthening National Statistical Offices’ capacities to enhance migration data collection and management, with a view not only to monitor migration progress in the context of the 2030 Agenda, but also to improve national migration data in the long term. 

Photo credit: IOM Armenia 2016 (Photo: Matevosyan)