The long-term objective of Swiss cooperation in the South Caucasus is to contribute to a peaceful transition towards democracy and inclusive economic development in the region. In 2017, Switzerland kicked off its new Cooperation Strategy for the South Caucasus covering the period of 2017-2020.

The three countries of the South Caucasus, and former members of the Soviet Union, are in the midst of a challenging transition period taking place in a region marked by conflicts that are hampering prosperity and stability. The transformation to democratic systems and market economies in the Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia requires further reforms, and authorities and societies that are open for change.

In 2017, Switzerland introduced its 4-year Strategy for the continuous support to the South Caucasus region. Within this Strategy, Switzerland will continue to assist the three countries in addressing remaining transition gaps in areas where Switzerland can make a meaningful contribution to economic and social development.

The current Swiss Cooperation Strategy 2017-2020 was jointly developed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Directorate of Political Affairs (DPA) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), together with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER).

The Swiss Cooperation Strategy 2017-2020 defines the two priority themes to which several Swiss government entities contribute each with their core competence: (i) Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Development and (ii) Effective Democratic Institutions, Human Safety and Security.

The Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Development is the main and largest domain in terms of funding. It focuses on market development for agricultural value chains with a stronger emphasis on enhancing vocational skills, improving the framework conditions for the financial and private sectors, and exloring opportunities for cross-border initiatives.

The Effective Democratic Institutions, Human Safety and Security domain complements the first one by supporting the governance framework necessary for economic development. Within this domain, support is focused on protection, confidence and peace building through mediation, facilitation and political dialogue.

The Small Projects and the Regional Art and Culture Programme remain to be the non-core programmes that complements Swiss cooperation.

Swiss cooperation is aligned with the reform priorities of the three governments. Within the current strategy, Switzerland will pursue more than ever an overall regional development goal. Switzerland works with a range of partners, authorities at all state levels, civil society organisations, the private sector and multilateral organisations.