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SDC at a Glance






The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is Switzerland’s international cooperation agency within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). In operating with other federal offices concerned, SDC is responsible for the overall coordination of development activities and cooperation with Eastern Europe, as well as for the humanitarian aid delivered by the Swiss Confederation.

The goal of development cooperation is that of reducing poverty. It is meant to foster economic self-reliance and state autonomy, to contribute to the improvement of production conditions, to help in finding solutions to environmental problems, and to provide better access to education and basic healthcare services.

  • Swiss Cooperation with Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) supports democratic and market economy reforms in partner countries of Southeast Europe and the former Soviet Union. The main concerns in providing this transition assistance are the building of democratic institutions, the reform of health and social services, and the improvement of the environment. Since 2008, Switzerland has been providing a so-called Enlargement Contributionto the new EU Member States so as to help reduce the social and economic disparities within the enlarged EU.
  • Regional Cooperation steers SDC’s bilateral cooperation with countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In reducing the number of its priority countries from the previous 17 to 12, and the number of its special programmes from 7 to 6, SDC continues its geographic concentration of activities. At the end of 2009, SDC withdrew from Ecuador. The programmes being conducted in India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Peru, and North Korea will, by 2012, either be terminated or given a new focus. The regional development banks are also considered as key partners in the domain of regional cooperation.

  • Global Cooperation is primarily active in the multilateral domain, cooperating with the organizations of the UN system and with the World Bank. By fostering global programmes in the domain of climate change, food security, water and migration, global cooperation makes its contribution to tackling global challenges. 

  • Humanitarian Aid aims at saving lives and alleviating suffering. Direct relief is provided in the wake of natural disasters and in the context of armed conflicts, while humanitarian partner organizations can be the recipients of both manpower and financial support. The core domains of intervention are prevention, emergency aid and survival assistance, reconstruction, and advocacy for the causes of forgotten humanitarian crises. Swiss humanitarian aid is active in 9 regions.

  Swiss Development Cooperation South Caucasus 

ADC at a Glance


Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) supports countries in Africa, Asia, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe in their sustainable development. The Foreign Ministry of Austria (FMEIA) plans ADC strategies and programmes. The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of ADC, implements these together with public institutions, non-governmental organisations and enterprises.

In its cooperation with South Caucasus countries Armenia and Georgia, the Austrian Development Agency concentrates on agriculture and forestry to generate income, create jobs and raise local content. Austria’s engagement is primarily aimed at poverty reduction in the border regions between the two countries, where a major theme is also conflict prevention; the others are good governance and decentralization.

The motivation behind reform efforts in the countries of South Caucasus is the prospect of closer cooperation with the EU. The majority of the population is still struggling with severe poverty and high unemployment. Population groups in this multi-lingual and multi-ethnic region are frequently mutually distrustful and harbour deep-seated prejudices against each other. General problems that need addressing are poor infrastructure, untapped potential in industrial sectors, extremely small-scale agriculture, barriers in transport and business and industry, corruption and political and territorial conflicts. 

Austrian Development Agency

LATEST NEWS
New Beekeeper Info Links Launched
22/05/2020
On the May 20th, 4,400 beekeepers registered in the new GBU database received an SMS notification from the Georgian Beekeepers Union (GBU) on how to treat Varroa, the most common bee disease in Georgia. The GBU will continue informing its members through phone Facebook. And their new official webpage is now online: www.geobeekeepers.ge. Created in 2018, the GBU is an umbrella association uniting ten beekeeping associations and three commercial beekeeping companies.  
Beekeepers Union Keeps Bees Moving
21/05/2020
The Georgian Beekeepers Union (GBU) successfully advocated for permits to be issued for beekeepers allowing them to continue work during the curfew. The Government of Georgia declared the nationwide curfew on March 30th, 2020 to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 virus, prohibiting any movement from 9:00 PM to 06:00 AM. This posed a serious problem for beekeepers who rely on transhumance predominantly at night. In Georgia, bee transhumance allows for beekeepers to place hives at different altitudes to capture the flowering of different plants. Starting from late Spring, Georgian beekeepers start to move apiaries to get different types of honey including Acacia,Chestnut, Alpine, Linden. The transhumance of bees significantly increases their honey productivity. On April 4th, the GBU sent an official letter to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia (MEPA) asking for the issuing of permission/passes for beekeepers including the guidance it developed for beekeepers during the Covid-19 outbreak. ‘We asked the Minister to mediate with the appropriate agencies to issue special permits, so that beekeepers may access their apiaries and work there, transport beekeeping apiaries for transhumance on pre-determined routes within the curfew conditions.’ – Avksenti Papava, the Director of the GBU. Up to eight hundred beekeepers have already used permits, who are now able to visit apiaries and carry out vital seasonal treatment and maintenance.  Bees are transported at night where possible, because they do not leave a hive during night, which the permit makes possible. ‘I have my apiaries located in the different regions for getting various types of honey. I was very happy to hear about special permit for beekeepers, as it is very active season in beekeeping. I am able to freely move to the locations and do not worry about time limitations’ – Kakhaber Zirakasvili, a beekeeper. Guidance and contact information on getting permits and the Covid-19 recommendations have been shared by the GBU on its facebook page. The Georgian Beekeepers Union (www.geobeekeepers.ge) is an umbrella association uniting ten beekeeping associations and three commercial beekeeping companies with more than four thousand Georgian beekeepers. It was established to represent their interests and to promote the health and development of the honey sector in Georgia with the facilitation of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) project the Mercy Corps Georgia implemented Alliances Caucasus Programme (ALCP).
Kindness is Contagious
19/05/2020
In the midst of anxiety under the COVID-19, some people rise to the occasion when faced with adversity and it is uplifting to hear stories about them. As for many others it has been difficult times for the client businesses of the programme, but they have continued to help people most affected by the current crisis over the past two weeks.   Ten dairy enterprises with the Georgian Milk Mark www.georgianmilk.ge provided cheese for the medical staff of hospitals in the frontline of battling the virus as well as people under quarantine and locals in the lockdown areas in the different regions of Georgia, who have limited access to the markets. ‘It is now important to show support to each other. I was very happy to see reactions from people, who were very surprised and thankful. I think those GMM enterprises set very good example for others.’ – A GMM cheese distributor.   The Georgian Beekeepers Union (www.geobeekeepers.ge), uniting ten beekeeping associations and three commercial beekeeping companies supplied 1.2 tonnes of honey for further distribution among medical staff and vulnerable groups. The Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking group’s (programme facilitated honey aggregator and exporter company) forty-one rooms hotel-complex is being used as a quarantine zone, the company also supplied food to locals over seventy in two regions of Georgia within a social project ‘Care for Each Other’ initiated after the virus outbreak and is now offering online sales and a free home delivery of its products (wine, compotes, jams, including, honey); the company’s webpage Old Kakheti went online to improve online sales. These are a few examples and continuation of the kindness acts that started a month ago.
LATEST PUBLICATIONS
Covid-19 Guidance for Beekeepers
A Pragmatic Approach to Assessing System Change
FAO Bee Disease Guide