3.2 Overall description of the system
The authorities responsible for cultural policy in the Republic of Armenia are at two levels – state (regional ones included) and local authorities; each has a definite role in the implementation of cultural policy.
According to Article 88.1 of the Constitution, state policy in the field of culture is implemented by the government, and the corresponding departments of marzpetarans (regional administrations) implement the regional policy of the government and coordinate the activities of regional services of the executive bodies.
The National Assembly passes laws concerning the cultural area and ratifies the state budget where there is a separate part on the state financing of the cultural field. There is a Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs operating in the Parliament, which passes opinions on the draft laws of the cultural sector.
The government ensures the implementation of the state cultural policy, for the purpose of drawing additional financial means for the preservation, promotion and development of culture. It also establishes a cultural development foundation and ratifies its statute and defines by law, for some levelsof the population (preschool children, schoolchildren, students, pensioners, disabled people and compulsory duty servicemen), the benefits of using the paid services of cultural organisations; and implements other powers defined by law.
The state competent authority in the cultural field is the Ministry of Culture. The main functions of the ministry are as follows:
In association with the Minister of Culture, councils on cultural policy and planning for art forms (cinematography, dramatic art, classical music, folk music, book-publishing) function mainly in an advisory capacity.
According to the Law on Cultural Legislation Principles (2002), the marzpetaran (bodies for ensuring the implementation of state programmes and programmes on cooperation between the local self-government and the government) ensure the cultural state policy in the marz areas. At present, the subdivisions responsible for culture in the structure of marzpetarans are affiliated with the directorates on education, youth and sports affairs, thus complicating the implementation of cultural policy. In order to solve this problem, in 2007 the government launched the Programme on Cultural Development in Marzes, to separate the culture departments and to specify their functions.
The head of the community ensures the implementation of the state cultural policy in the community area.
The Law on Local Self-Government (2002) authorises Armenia's cities and 10 Marzes to regulate the activities of cultural establishments that are under their jurisdiction.
The biggest funds of state significance are the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund and the Social Investments' Fund, which makes large investments in the cultural area. The Social Investments' Fund renovates cultural organisations that are under community jurisdiction, while the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund assists cultural and social programmes. Every two years, the "One Nation, One Culture" Fund organises the Pan Armenian Cultural Festival, as well as assists different cultural activities.
The activities of all the agencies and national authorities dealing with cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and social solidarity are coordinated by the Coordination Council Adjunct to the President and by the Directorate on National Minorities and Religion of the government and by the Culture Ministry.