Switzerland and Austria celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations with Georgia

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Local news, 22.06.2022

On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Switzerland and Georgia, as well as Austria and Georgia, Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia, H. E. Heidi Grau and Ambassador of Austria to Georgia, H. E. Thomas Muehlmann, the Regional Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in the South Caucasus, Danielle Meuwly and the Head of the Coordination Office for Technical Cooperation of the Austrian Embassy, Alexander Karner visited the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Ajara regions and met with some beneficiaries of the Alliances Caucasus Programme (ALCP).

the two ambassadors pose behind a planted tree
The Swiss and Austrian Ambassadors plant a tree in the Alpine Garden in Ajara, Georgia ©Embassy of Switzerland in Georgia

On June 22nd, in the Goderdzi Alpine Garden, an important tourist destination in the mountainous Ajara and a testimony of biodiversity and cultural richness of the region, the delegation was joined by the Minister of Finance and Economy of Ajara AR, Zaza Shavadze and the Mayor of Khulo, Vakhtang Beridze for a Tree Planting Ceremony to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations of Switzerland and Austria with Georgia.

H.E. Heidi Grau noted the excellent results achieved by the project in creating job and income opportunities for the rural population, notably by supporting the production of Jara honey, and was pleased to announce that “Switzerland is engaging in a new phase of the ALCP project, together with Austria and joined by Sweden, until 2026, with a total budget of USD 6.5 million. This will allow to further facilitate production in beekeeping, dairy and meat, wild botanicals and silk, as well as support the development of the Goderdzi Botanical Garden, for the benefit of women and men living in mountainous regions.”

the local official hands over a certificate of appreciation
Switzerland and Georgia celebrate the 30th Anniversary of diplomatic relations ©Embassy of Switzerland in Georgia

Austrian Ambassador H.E. Thomas Muehlmann underlined, that support in further development of the wool sector, as well as support in uniting the voices of beekeepers through support to their professional union created new opportunities of development for the rural population. “Support to rural and local development is a key aim of the new framework strategy of Austria with Georgia. We believe, that with joint efforts European countries will bring more experience and novelties to Georgia, which will trigger further development of the country”.

The delegation visited the Georgian Milk Mark dairy enterprise ‘Natural Produktsia Ltd’ in Dioknisi Village, Khulo, which emphasizes sustainable export in the dairy sector and honey processing factory, and Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking (KTW) ‘Agro Keda Ltd’, which creates high quality brand honey for domestic and export markets.

The ALCP, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Austrian Development and Cooperation, was implemented by Mercy Corps Georgia from 2017 to 2022, working to improve the livelihoods of rural households, men and women in the Lesser Caucasus mountain range. Since 2017, with a budget of about USD 8 million, the project interventions in the livestock, dairy, wool and honey value chains have generated USD 21 million of additional income for the beneficiaries.