Switzerland approves CHF 960’000 in aid for resilience and economic recovery of border communities in Armenia
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC has approved CHF 960’000 in aid for Armenia to improve border communities' resilience towards crisis situations. Partnering with the World Food Programme (WFP) for implementation, Switzerland provides immediate humanitarian and long-term economic support to Gegharkunik, Vayots Dzor and Syunik with the “Resilience and Economic Recovery of Border Communities in Armenia – REBCA” project.
Armenia’s recent progress with its socio-economic reform agenda has been challenged by external factors such as COVID-19, military conflict in 2020, and international external economic shocks particularly from the war in Ukraine.
Furthermore, due to the military escalations in September 2022, six Armenian communities in the areas bordering Azerbaijan in Gegharkunik, Syunik and Vayots Dzor regions (totaling 133 settlements and 133,165 people) are directly affected, including in terms of economic livelihood and food security.
The 12-month REBCA humanitarian project will protect and reestablish the livelihoods of people living in border areas in Armenia and provide economic means to improve resilience towards crisis situations. The project targets 15 conflict-affected border settlements of Vardenis (Gegharkunik), Sisian (Syunik), and Jermuk (Vayots Dzor) enlarged communities by directly responding to the needs of more than 1000 households.
The Swiss-funded REBCA project is jointly designed and implemented by the WFP with the involvement of the World Vision Armenia (WVA), the Child Development Foundation (CDF) and the Strategic Development Agency (SDA), each responsible for specific interventions in the required fields of expertise. The project will be also supported by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia (MLSA), the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of the Republic of Armenia (MTAI), and local authorities of the selected target regions.
An important feature of the project is the combination of immediate humanitarian response with efforts towards long-term economic recovery and growth. In collaboration with its subcontractors, WFP will deliver cash assistance, social work support, resource and capacity development of local communities, support in agricultural activities, and promotion of (self-)employment.
On November 28, 2022, the Ambassador of Switzerland in Armenia H.E. Lukas Rosenkranz and the Officer in Charge of WFP Armenia Nanna Skau launched the project with a signing ceremony between the SDC and the WFP related to the project contract. During the event, opening remarks were delivered by the Ambassador Rosenkranz, xthe Deputy Regional Director of Swiss Cooperation for the South Caucasus Werner Thut, Ms. Skau, and the Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Tatevik Stepanyan. The event was attended by representatives of , partner local and international organizations, the Armenian government, and the civil society.
REBCA project translates principles and objectives of Switzerland’s foreign policy and development cooperation into action. With its Swiss Cooperation Programme for the South Caucasus 2022 – 2025, Switzerland supports the transition of Armenia towards a market economy and inclusive economic development. REBCA is another expression of a longstanding tradition of Swiss humanitarian assistance to Armenia in time of need, which started with the Spitak earthquake of 1988.
Additionally, the REBCA intervention feeds into the Team Europe Initiative "Together for Syunik" launched early November 2022 by the EU Delegation and five EU member states, the European Investment Bank and Switzerland as an external partner.