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 1 – 11 of 11

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Improving farm productivity in Georgia through dual vocational education and training

Three people in a greenhouse.

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022

Agriculture is Georgia's most important sector. However, farming remains uncompetitive as farmers' skills are out of step with the job market and technological developments. Switzerland is continuing to support vocational education and training to improve productivity, farm income and the employment situation for students of agriculture.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Georgia
Vocational training
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Agricultural services & market
Rural development
EDUCATION
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, FISHING
OTHER MULTISECTOR
Vocational training
Agricultural services
Rural development

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022


CHF 6'352'000



A more inclusive job market for women in the South Caucasus

A women reads information

01.11.2017 - 31.07.2021

In the three countries of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), many women face job market discrimination. In the absence of policy to create equal opportunities and jobs for women in the formal economy, women work unprotected in the informal sector. The Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus project seeks to promote women's economic empowerment to facilitate their equal access to employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
South Caucasus
Gender
Vocational training
Women’s equality organisations and institutions
Vocational training
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
EDUCATION
Women's equality organisations and institutions
Vocational training

01.11.2017 - 31.07.2021


CHF 3'400'000



Higher Income in the South Caucasus Thanks to Competitive Agricultural Products

A man in a protective suit holding a honeycomb full of bees on the roof of a high-rise building.

01.04.2017 - 31.03.2021

Livestock farming is an important source of income for a large part of the rural population in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. But many farmers live from subsistence farming and produce just enough food for their own needs. The aims of the project are to strengthen smallholder farms and to provide them with access to markets. This way, farmers can sell their honey, meat, cheese and wool products, and sustainably increase their incomes.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
South Caucasus
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural development
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, FISHING
Agricultural development

01.04.2017 - 31.03.2021


CHF 5'100'000



Supporting livestock traceability in the South Caucasus

The image shows a close-up of a calf with an identification tag in its right ear.

15.06.2016 - 30.11.2020

Identifying where animals have come from and recording information about their health is essential in modern agriculture to prevent the spread of diseases and stop products from diseased animals reaching the market. A system to ensure traceability will help to improve the incomes of farmers in the South Caucasus by increasing both herd productivity and the producers’ access to markets.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
South Caucasus
Agriculture & food security
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
OTHER MULTISECTOR
Rural development

15.06.2016 - 30.11.2020


CHF 5'935'000



Livestock Development in the South of Armenia

Armenian Farmer with his calf

01.09.2014 - 31.08.2020

In the provinces of Syunik and Vayots Dzor in southern Armenia, the agricultural sector mostly comprises subsistence farming where farmers are barely able to support their households. This project aims to help farmers increase their milk and meat production, and thus their incomes, by supporting local veterinary services (to improve animal health), facilitating access to milk and meat markets, and promoting the sharing of know-how among farmers.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Armenia
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
SME development
Agricultural development
OTHER MULTISECTOR
INDUSTRY
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, FISHING
Rural development
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development
Agricultural development

01.09.2014 - 31.08.2020


CHF 10'000'000



Improvement of the local self-governance system Armenia

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

Switzerland continues to support the national reform on territorial consolidation and decentralization which has been strongly confirmed by the new Government. On one hand, necessary framework conditions will be developed to finalize the amalgamation process. On the other hand, the municipalities will be capacitated to provide efficient and quality administrative services to their citizens and to incentivize local development. Citizen participation will be emphasized to render local authorities more accountable and local development more inclusive.


Fostering Regional and Local Development in Georgia

07.12.2017 - 31.12.2021

Thanks to this project 23 municipalities in 4 regions of Georgia (over 900’000 inhabitants) are able to support citizens and local businesses in setting up economic development initiatives. This in turn will generate additional employment and attract investment to rural areas.


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.


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.

Object 1 – 11 of 11

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