South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan)

Switzerland's involvement in the South Caucasus is aimed at the needs and priorities of its three partner states in the region. It focuses on making economic development inclusive and sustainable, improving the efficiency of democratic institutions and human security.

Map of the South Caucasus region

The South Caucasus continues to face various unresolved territorial conflicts such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, and between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. While the region is of strategic geopolitical significance due to its importance for energy transports to Europe, persistent conflicts affect people’s safety and are an obstacle to the economic and social development of the countries in question. Thanks to its long-standing experience in the South Caucasus, Switzerland is seen as a trustworthy partner to support these former Soviet countries in their political transition. It fosters greater cooperation between them on common interests that are not politically sensitive such as trading in agricultural products and climate change adaptation.

Inclusive and sustainable economic development

Developing the agricultural sector in the region is a priority in order to sustain an income for the rural population. In practice, this involves integrating small-scale subsistence farms in the agricultural value chains, which allows farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises to sell their products on national and regional markets. It also enables them to access financial services to take out a loan, attend professional training courses to update their knowledge and get customised support.

Agriculture and food security
Basic education and vocational skills development

Private Sector Development and financial services

Effective democratic institutions, human safety and security

Inclusive and sustainable economic development requires functioning democratic institutions, respect for human rights and a secure environment. That is why Switzerland aims to improve the efficiency of governmental institutions. It focuses in particular on building capacities at the local administrative level so that they can provide good-quality services, and at the national level in terms of better management of public finances. Switzerland also engages in conflict resolution by promoting dialogue between the parties in question. In addition, it is involved in natural disaster risk reduction along with adaptation to climate change with a focus on the sustainable development of rural and mountain regions.

Moreover, with its engagement for arts and culture, Switzerland supports the creation of opportunities for artists from the three countries to exchange and to contribute to the discussion on the future of the region.

State and Economic Reforms
Fragility and violence impede poverty reduction

Disaster risk reduction, emergency relief, reconstruction and protection

Organisation and partners

Switzerland’s involvement in the South Caucasus dates back to the relief aid it provided during the devastating earthquake in northern Armenia in 1988. In 1999, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) opened a regional cooperation office in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. While Swiss Humanitarian Aid ended its activities in 2016, Swiss efforts focusing on cooperation and peacebuilding activities in the region will continue. The 2017-2020 cooperation strategy is implemented jointly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the FDFA's Human Security Division (HSD) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Switzerland’s key partners in the South Caucasus:

 

  • Development partners (GIZ, ADA)
  • Local and international NGOs
  • Multilateral organisations e.g. UNDP, European Investment Bank, Bretton Woods institutions
  • Civil society organisations
  • Private sector

 

 

Current projects

Object 13 – 24 of 52

Livestock Development expanding from South to North in the South Caucasus

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2020

Livestock farming is the main economic activity for most poor households in rural areas of Armenia and Georgia. Through better access to services, inputs and markets, as well as effective management of natural resources, farmers in Armenia are expected to substantially improve their livelihood. Strengthening regional links and access to regional markets of animal and animal products will also make the livestock sector more profitable and increase its competitiveness, hereby contributing to higher incomes and employment for farmers in rural Armenia and Georgia.


Strengthening the Climate Adaptation Capacities in the South Caucasus

10.11.2017 - 14.11.2023

The project will (i) facilitate the development of multi-hazard mapping and risk assessment methodology enabling 1.7 million inhabitants’ reduced exposure towards climate-induced hazards in Georgia; (ii) contribute to the safer livelihoods and infrastructure of 373’800 residents in ten municipalities by developing response and preparedness plans; and (iii) foster evidence-based policymaking and advocacy on climate adaptation, natural hazards and mountain development in the South Caucasus.


Regional Arts and Culture Project in the South Caucasus

Dancers on a stage in colorful dresses throw clothes in the air.

01.10.2017 - 30.09.2021

By providing a platform for the development of contemporary art, the Regional Arts and Culture Project promotes intercultural dialogues and exchanges in the South Caucasus. Implemented in collaboration with partners based in Georgia and networks in Armenia and Azerbaijan, the project aims at supporting visual arts (documentary film and photography), building up professional capacities, engaging civil society, and boosting local art scenes with a small grants’ fund.


Allocation of SDC Funding to ICRC Operations in 2016

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2016

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to ICRC operations allows the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to respond proactively and to provide immediate protection and assistance for people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence.


Market Opportunities for Livelihood Improvement in Kakheti, Georgia

01.12.2015 - 28.02.2019

Livestock farming is the main economic activity for the majority of poor households in the Kakheti region of Georgia. Through better access to markets, services and inputs for the dairy and meat value chains, target farmers will substantially improve their income. By the end of the project phase 27’000 households will have benefitted directly from improved access to markets, services, inputs, a more conducive operating environment and better protection from natural disasters. 


Regional Rapid Response Teams for a strengthened decentralized Rescue System in Armenia (phase II)

01.03.2015 - 30.11.2016

Since 2013, SDC has been making important contributions to the build-up of decentralized rescue teams in Armenia to be deployed in case of earthquakes and other natural or man-made disasters. Taking into account the country's high risk profile, a further upscale of the existing capacities to the level of "medium rescue" according to the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) is deemed necessary in order to better reach out to trapped victims. The training and equipment of two additional regional teams is a core piece of the intervention


First Allocation of SDC Funding to ICRC Operations in 2015

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2015

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to ICRC operations allows the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to respond proactively and to provide immediate protection and assistance for people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence.


Regional and Municipal Infrastructure Development in Georgia

10.04.2014 - 30.06.2021

The project will increase human and institutional capacities of all municipalities in Georgia (except the capital city Tbilisi). lt will enable them to perform independently the core three functions for decentralised delivery of basic infrastructure services, i. e. Project Cycle Management, Financial Management and Asset Management. Such a decentralized System will enable the Government to better respond to population needs at local level.


First Allocation of SDC Funding to ICRC Operations in 2014 Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2014

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to ICRC operations allows the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to respond proactively and to provide immediate protection and assistance for people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence.
 


First Allocation of SDC Funding (Europe and Mediterranean Region Division) to UNHCR Operations in 2014

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2014

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to UNHCR operations allows the UN Refugee Agency to respond proactively and to provide immediate protection and assistance to refugees and internally displaced people in life-threatening situations and underfunded emergencies.


Facilitating Access to Animal Resources and Markets in Agdam, Agcabadi, Barda, Beylaqan and Tartar districts of Azerbaijan (FARMS)

07.11.2013 - 31.10.2016

The project will contribute to the transition towards a free market system in target communities in central Azerbaijan through a sustainable increase of incomes of male and female farmers in animal husbandry using a market development approach. The central part of Azerbaijan has a good potential for inclusive growth in agriculture. However, lack of proper markets, services and knowledge prevent poor farmers to gain better incomes.


DRR awareness raising and prevention in rural regions

01.11.2013 - 30.04.2015

Armenia‘s capacities on locat level are insufficient for an appropriate disaster management. The vulnerability of the peopte can be substantially reduced when they are weil informed and motivated towards a culture of prevention and resilience, This requires collection, compilation and dissemination of knowiedge on hazards, vulnerabitities and capacities. The project‘s focus is on the elaboration of a consolidated methodology on Community Based Disaster Risk Assessment, capacity building of locat authorities and on the coordination between bocal, regional and national stakeholders for further DRR actions.

Object 13 – 24 of 52