Completed Projects

Inception Phase of the Project: Strengthening the Climate Adaptation Capacities in the South Caucasus

Feb 2018



Regional co-operation for sustainable development in the mountain regions of the Caucasus has a long and complex history, dating back to the elaboration of the Mountain Convention in 2000. While inter-governmental processes were suspended in 2009, key actors reunited in 2012 to continue regional collaboration. In 2012-2013, with financial and technical support from UN Environment (UNEP) and the University of Geneva (UniGE), a process to work towards the establishment of a regional scientific network was initiated; similar to those in the Carpathians and the Alps.

In July 2014, representatives of scientific institutions from the six Caucasus countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, the Russian Federation and Turkey) formally created the Scientific Network for the Caucasus Mountain Region (SNC-mt). The founding members signalled their commitment to promote research collaboration through targeted activities, exchange of knowledge and best practices across borders, and strengthening the connections between scientists, practitioners and decision makers.

SNC-mt Activities

Since 2014, with support from the Caucasus Network for Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions (Sustainable Caucasus), UN Environment, University of Geneva and others, SNC-mt has implemented a number of activities including: an online knowledge exchange platform at; organisation of the first Caucasus Mountain Forum (November 2016); the launch of a regional Summer School (September 2016); formulation of a regional research agenda; and establishment of a pilot regional spatial data infrastructure. SNC-mt has successfully mobilized financial and technical assistance from a wide range of partner organizations, including the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC) under the SCOPES Programme, and the Austrian Development Co-operation’s APPEAR Programme.

The Project

Through February-August 2018 SNC-mt, through its Coordination Unit (Sustainable Caucasus), implemented the Inception Phase for the project “Strengthening the Climate Adaptation Capacities in the South Caucasus” with financial support from the Swiss Co-operation Office-South Caucasus. The overarching goal of the project was:

Reducing the population’s vulnerabilities towards climate-induced hazards and fostering regional co-operation on adaptation challenges in the Caucasus.

The project sought to mobilize SNC-mt's transnational and cross-sectoral expertise in order to help consolidate and mainstream activities of the Swiss Cooperation Office in South Caucasus and furthermore, to embed hazard mapping in the larger context of disaster risk reduction (DRR), which is a core feature of sustainable mountain development under Agenda 2030. The inception phace of the project had six core components:

Project Components:

Component 1: Hazard Mapping and Disaster Risk Reduction University Courses

During the Inception Phase, the features that will support the academic sector of the Caucasus to improve natural hazards assessment and mapping were analysed. This included mapping of relevant bachelor and masters programmes in leading universities of the South Caucasus countries and selection of the best possible and most cost-effective institutional framework that will help to introduce EU and Swiss natural hazards assessment and mapping experience into higher education institutions for the implementation phase.

Component 2: Further development of spatial data infrastructure and regional knowledge generation

The current pilot project ( developed by SNC-mt and its partners under the SCOPES project was further enhanced. The component included: improvement of data geoprocessing capacities; gap analyses of spatial data availability and infrastructure and institutional arrangements; capacity building of key local actors related to countries’ involvement in international and regional flagship initiatives through the Group on Earth Observation (GEO); as well as exploring opportunities for establishment of GEO System of Systems (GEOSS) for the Caucasus.

Component 3: Regional training, exchange and capacity building of young scholars

During the Inception Phase a manual for the Regional Summer Schools for young scholars (master and PhD students) was elaborated, which was modelled after the Abastumani Summer School organized in September 2016.

Component 4: Caucasus Mountain Forum

During the Inception Phase a manual for Caucasus Mountain Forum was elaborated, that was modelled after the Caucasusu Mountain Forum 2016 held in Tbilisi and hosted by Tbilisi State University and Ilia State University.

Component 5: SNC-mt capacity building and networking

Support to the continued development and maintenance of the online co-operation platform, including its resources section, thematic groups and online discussions. Another activity under this component was support for strengthening of SNC-mt international visibility through elaboration of the SNC-mt Communications' Strategy.

Component 6: Enhancing the dialogue and cooperation with targeted stakeholder groups

This Component was focused on the identification of the gaps and weaknesses in co-operation and dialogue between development sector scientists and practitioners in the Caucasus.