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 25 – 36 of 52

DRC: Rebuilding Returnees’ Housing and Livelihoods in Ergneti (Shida Kartli)

16.10.2013 - 30.06.2015

Tailor-made housing solutions, needs-based livelihood support and repairs of small-scale infrastructure are instrumental for supporting stable return and reintegration of the war affected families to Ergneti village. As the Government of Georgia is not in a position to financially support the return process, it places a high importance on SDC’s efforts in this direction. The given intervention constitutes one of the strategic priorities of the “Swiss Cooperation Strategy South Caucasus 2013-2016” as it comes under the Human Security and Protection (HSP) domain.

Strengthening the prevention and preparedness systems

01.08.2013 - 15.11.2016

SDC has a long standing cooperation with the Georgian Government (GoG) in the field of DRR on local, regional and central levels. The new government is showing more commitment in addressing DRR and climate change issues. With the current project, disaster management efforts of GoG are supported through the introduction of methodologies of risk mapping and cost benefit analysis (prevention) and rolling out of the certified vocational training for municipal fire fighter and rescuer (preparedness).

Fostering Regional and Local Development in Georgia

15.12.2012 - 15.12.2017

The strengthening of local and regional governance Systems through capacity building, mobilization of local human resources and better coordination of public Investments is expected to improve inclusive development of rural regions of Georgia. This will contribute to the transition from the inherited highly centralized Soviet administration to a decentralized System and to reduce the significant economic divide between the urban and rural population.

Regional Art and Culture Programme in the South Caucasus

01.10.2012 - 31.10.2017

The present project promotes contemporary arts as an open and interactive platform that can display new perspectives and social mechanisms to the audience, and that can support and stimulate South Caucasian artists. It will be implemented by Georgian and international organizations and focuses on contemporary dance and experimental arts; small grants; arts for marginalised communities; and capacity building of arts and culture institutions.

Rural Economic Development in the Southern Regions of Georgia

01.05.2012 - 31.10.2017

The Rural Economic Development Programme aims at contributing to inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the regions of Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli in the South of Georgia. It will support relevant market actors in the potato and dairy value chains to get access to investment funds and to adopt efficient production, storage and processing technologies, thereby reducing production costs, increasing capacities and eventually getting better access to profitable markets. All this shall result in higher incomes and improved living conditions for men and women.

Object 25 – 36 of 52