In April and May of 2018, a series of peaceful demonstrations dubbed “the velvet revolution” led to a change in political power in Armenia. Recent elections have solidified the political transition and demonstrated confidence in the new Government to deliver on promises of reform. Despite macroeconomic progress and structural reforms implemented, growth has been weak and unevenly distributed in the country.
Although the country has made significant progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in areas such as maternal and child health, access to safe and reliable water supply, and improved sanitation in urban areas, more effort is needed to reduce poverty and food insecurity.
Food insecurity affects 16 percent of the population in Armenia and is primarily an issue of access, which is exacerbated by poverty, gender inequalities and geographical factors. Malnutrition is a concern, evidenced by high rates of stunting for children under 5, while overweight and anaemia are also prevalent, particularly among women of reproductive age. Lack of data is a major challenge to addressing malnutrition in Armenia and more effort is needed to expand the evidence base in support of nutrition-sensitive and targeted activities.
Armenia is an upper (1) middle-income country with a population of 3 million people; it is landlocked and a net importer of food. In May 2018, a new government (2) came to power, proclaiming the launch of wide-ranging reforms meant to increase transparency and accountability in public governance, reduce corruption and improve the rule of law, gender equality and human rights.3 Armenia hopes to promote economic development and expand into a more service-based economy, focusing efforts on modernization and information technology and reducing gender inequalities in the economic and technology spheres.
Food insecurity affects 16 percent of the population, with higher prevalence among large and poor households and households headed by unemployed people (affecting men and women equally, with pensioners at a slightly higher risk).(3)
Also, food insecurity is primarily an issue of access to nutritious food, particularly a lack of financial means, the low profitability of agricultural production, gender and economic inequalities, limited job opportunities and poor awareness of and education on nutrition. In addition, malnutrition is an issue in Armenia, manifesting in a double burden of stunting and overweight, particularly among children under 5.(4)
- World Bank. New country classifications by income level: 2018–2019 (https://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/new-countryclassifications-income-level-2018-2019).
- Although at the time of writing (January 2019), the new Government is still incomplete, 30 of 132 newly elected parliament members are women.
- WFP, United Nations Children’s Fund and the National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia. 2016. Armenia Comprehensive Food Security, Vulnerability and Nutrition Analysis, revised December 2017. Available at https://docs.wfp.org/api/documents/WFP-0000020456/download/.
- National Strategic Review of Food Security and Nutrition in Armenia. January 2018. Available at https://www.un.am/up/library/NSR_ExSum_2018-01-11-ENG.pdf