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Cooperation Strategy

  • Cooperation Strategy South Caucasus 2013–2016
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Southern Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan)

Website of the Cooperation Office (SDC) South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan): www.swiss-cooperation.admin.ch/southerncaucasus/


Switzerland's involvement in the South Caucasus is aimed at the needs and priorities of the three partner states in the region, and concentrates on the following thematic focal points: Economic development and employment, good governance and public services, as well as human security and protection. A total of almost CHF 110 million is to be allocated for the implementation of various projects by the end of 2016.

The South Caucasus is plagued by various unresolved territorial conflicts in Georgia (Abkhazia, South Ossetia), as well as between Armenia and Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh). The region is also of considerable geopolitical importance in view of its position as an energy transport corridor from the East to the West. Last but not least, the tense security situation also poses a great obstacle to sustainable economic growth and social well-being in the three South Caucasus countries. In particular, the living conditions of rural populations, internally displaced persons and refugees are often very precarious. None of the three countries are considered to be democratic or "free" in the Western European sense.

In addition to humanitarian aid, the SDC also provides extensive technical assistance with the aim of taking concrete measures to support the ongoing political, economic and social transition in the three former Soviet republics. The new 2013-2016 Swiss cooperation strategy for the South Caucasus has been developed together by the SDC, FDFA Directorate of Political Affairs and SECO (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs), and is being implemented in a complementary and coordinated way.

Switzerland's approach to offering support is needs-oriented and based on cooperation. Great value is placed on the sustainability of the assistance provided. Where possible, the needs of both men and women are also taken equally into account. A peaceful and prosperous South Caucasus is also in Switzerland's best interest.

Swiss International Cooperation 2011
mill. CHF
mill. CHF
mill. CHF
Cooperation with Eastern Europe and CIS 8.98 10.38 10.23
Humanitarian aid 6.05 4.79 4.63
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
Economic Cooperation and Development 3.46 3.50 4.92
Total SDC/SECO 18.49 18.67 19.78
Other Federal Offices
FDFA Human Security Division and Directorate of International Law 0.28 0.50 1.17
Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) 0.02
Federal Office for Migration (FOM) 0.35 0.14
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) 0.05
Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) 0.01
Total other Federal Offices 0.31 0.85 1.36
Cantons and municipalities 0.03 0.03 ..
Total 18.83 19.55 21.14
SDC figures excluding program contributions to Swiss NGOs
.. = figures not available | – = nil or amount < 5'000 CHF

Economic development and employment
Economic growth for the well-being of all
The SDC promotes rural economic development in the three South Caucasus countries with the aim of securing a higher and more stable income for poor farming households. In concrete terms, subsistence farmers are integrated into existing or newly-developing agricultural value-added chains, providing them with access to markets, credit, vocational training and agricultural consultancy services.

The SDC also supports communities in Georgia and the breakaway region of Abkhazia affected by conflict or natural disaster with tailor-made projects to build houses and reconstruct community facilities such as kindergartens and schools. Grants for the self-employed or for small and medium-sized businesses help to improve living conditions for these vulnerable communities, as well as their long-term integration into society.

In Azerbaijan, SECO contributes to improving general conditions for small and medium-sized businesses as well as to developing the financial sector. In addition, the transparency and accountability of public financial management is also being strengthened.

Good governance and public services
Rule of law for the people
Together with the respective central governments, the SDC aims to support the local and regional authorities in Armenia and Georgia in providing these citizen-oriented services and in creating the general conditions necessary for sustainable economic growth in the region. In addition, the SDC endeavours to strengthen capacity to deal with natural disasters within the Armenian and Georgian authorities and amongst the local population.

To improve rule of law in the three South Caucasus countries, the FDFA Human Security Division is financing projects in a variety of fields such as electoral assistance, gender equality and human security in its broadest sense. SECO is promoting sustainable economic growth and economic governance in Azerbaijan, as well as supporting projects to build decentralised facilities for efficient water supplies.

Conflict transformation and advocacy
Human security and protection
The FDFA Directorate of Political Affairs is intensifying its efforts to find peaceful solutions to the various conflicts in the region. This is being carried out through high-level diplomatic initiatives as well as through targeted support for confidence-building measures. Switzerland's chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2014 can play an important role in facilitating these efforts.

Switzerland also continues to run humanitarian programmes providing assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons together with its international partner organisations, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). By the end of 2016, the SDC Humanitarian Aid department will no longer be operational in the South Caucasus.

History of cooperation
From disaster relief to holistic development cooperation
The SDC's involvement in the South Caucasus dates back to the devastating earthquakes in northern Armenia in 1988. Since then, the SDC's work in the region has been continually expanded and intensified. In 1999, the SDC and SECO opened a regional cooperation office in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, and Switzerland now has an embassy in each of the three South Caucasus capitals. Swiss support in the South Caucasus is exemplified above all by its holistic and complementary approach in providing technical and financial support on the one hand, as well as humanitarian aid and the promotion of peace on the other.

Background Information South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan)

Facts and figures


Surface area


Annual population growth rate (since 1990)

Life expectancy at birth women / men

Adult illiteracy rate: women / men

Gross Domestic Product GDP per capita

Percentage of population with less than 2 USD per day




76.9 /69.9

0.3 /0.2






73.6 /67.8

0.3 /0.2






77.2 /70.8

0.6 /0.3





Source: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2013


Local SDC contact address:

South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) (Tbilisi)

Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus - Branch Office Armenia
Melik-Adamyan 2/1
Yerevan 0010 - Armenia
Phone (+374 10) 52 40 88 / (+374 10) 52 98 60
Fax (+374 10) 52 98 61
Email yerevan@sdc.net

Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus - Branch Office Azerbaijan
Boyuk Qala Str. 9, Old City
AZ-1004 Baku - Azerbaijan
Phone +994 12 437 38 55
Fax +994 12 437 38 56
Email baku@sdc.net

Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus
Embassy of Switzerland
Radiani Street 12
0179 Tbilisi - Georgia
Phone +995 32 225 36 82/3

Phone +995 32 225 20 47
Fax +995 32 225 36 84
Email tbilisi@sdc.net
Website www.swiss-cooperation.admin.ch/southerncaucasus/

Additional Information and Documents

Here, you will find more publications, links, documents and articles about Swiss development cooperation and humanitarian aid in this country.