Cooperation between Austria and the South Caucasus started as early as 1988 with relief measures after the Spitak earthquake in Armenia.
Better conditions of life
Austrian engagement in the South Caucasus took a new direction in 2011. In its cooperation with Armenia and Georgia, the Austrian Development Agency concentrates on agriculture and forestry to generate income, create jobs and raise local content. The Austrian commitment is primarily aimed at poverty reduction in the border regions between the two countries, where there is also a need for action in the areas of conflict prevention and good governance.
The motivation behind reform efforts in the countries of the 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. The population groups in this multilingual and multi-ethnic region often face each other with mutual distrust and have deeply rooted prejudices against each other. General problems that need to be addressed are poor infrastructure, untapped potential in industrial sectors, extremely small-scale agriculture, barriers in transport and trade, corruption as well as political and territorial conflicts.