Switzerland, through its Cooperation Office in the South Caucasus with the regional office in Tbilisi, will implement the regional Cooperation Programme in the course of four years, 2022-2025. The focus of the Swiss engagement will be on four key areas: 1) promoting civic engagement and cooperation in the region, 2) strengthening democracy and public institutions, 3) improving economic development and creation of decent jobs, and 4) strengthening climate resilience and sustainable resource management. Gender equality and good governance will be considered in all relevant projects.
Switzerland is currently supporting more than 20 projects most of which kicked off within the framework of the previous Swiss Cooperation Strategy 2017-2021. At the end of 2021, as a result of Swiss-funded projects, more than 150’000 beneficiaries received additional incomes from agriculture, which amounted to about USD 34 million. Digital infrastructure was created in 63 municipalities, making digital public services available for about 1.5 million residents. Important analytical work on gender impact assessments and gender pay gap was undertaken to promote gender equality, for example.
The new Cooperation Programme 2022-2025 will build on past achievements and continue to make an effective contribution to the country's development pathways by initiating new projects in priority areas. In Georgia, Switzerland will continue strengthening the country’s economy by providing support to the agriculture sector, focusing on rural SMEs, women’s economic development in rural areas and vocational education and training related to agriculture. Governance, including migration, and local economic development will remain key areas of Swiss intervention. The Programme will also continue to pursue better climate adaptation and natural resource management focusing on forestry. Apart from these thematic focuses, Switzerland will further engage in conflict prevention, peace promotion, and strengthen human rights. It will also finance small initiatives by local NGOs on topics such as gender equality, environment and climate change, inclusiveness and digitalization. Moreover, Switzerland will support the local Georgian art scene by financing cultural projects, as part of a regional art and culture program. The overall budget for Georgia amounts to CHF 34 million.
Swiss engagement in the South Caucasus dates back to 1988 and has expanded ever since through strong bilateral interventions in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The regional Cooperation Office in Tbilisi was opened in 1996. The overall Swiss investment in development cooperation in the region has so far amounted to CHF 200 million.