Swedish support to people affected by the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh
Armenia has received more than 100 000 refugees as a result of Azerbaijan’s military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Sweden is supporting the humanitarian response and Armenia’s refugee reception through targeted humanitarian support, extensive core support to humanitarian organisations and long-term reform support.
Azerbaijan launched a military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh on 19 September. After one day of fighting, the region’s de facto government agreed to disarm its military forces and subsequently disband all state bodies as of 1 January 2024. The conflict triggered large flows of refugees to neighbouring Armenia, which received more than 100 000 people over the course of one week. The humanitarian needs of those who have fled are immense. Armenian authorities are working to meet those needs, in close cooperation with the UN and other international and local actors.
Targeted support to Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia
To assist those affected, Sweden has allocated almost SEK 35 million to targeted initiatives in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has received SEK 15 million, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) SEK 15 million, the Action Against Hunger organisation almost SEK 2.5 million and Save the Children Sweden SEK 2.5 million.
Sweden also contributes to civil support through the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) within the framework of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In addition, the EU has contributed more than EUR 10 million in humanitarian assistance.
Swedish core support enables humanitarian organisations to adapt
Sweden is one of the leading donor countries of core support to several humanitarian organisations that have started or scaled up their activities in Armenia at short notice as a result of the developments. These include the UNHCR, the ICRC, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP). Sweden’s extensive flexible core support enables organisations to quickly adapt their operations to new needs.
Sweden’s long-term support to Armenia
Sweden has had bilateral reform cooperation with Armenia since 2019. This cooperation is guided by the strategy for Sweden’s reform cooperation with Eastern Europe for 2021–2027 and is intended to help Armenia develop closer ties to the EU through support to areas such as democracy, human rights, gender equality, the rule of law, inclusive economic development and the environment and climate. Sweden’s bilateral support to Armenia has increased in recent years and amounted to SEK 76 million in 2022.
Sweden also supports Armenia through initiatives within 1) the strategy for Sweden’s development cooperation which ran in 2018–2022 as regards efforts on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, 2) the strategy for sustainable peace which ran in 2017–2022 and 3) the strategy for support via Swedish civil society organisations.
In an earlier version of this article, it was reported that Sweden has allocated almost SEK 32.5 million to targeted initiatives in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. In the updated version, SEK 2.5 million to Save the Children has been added to the targeted support. This means that in total, SEK 35 million has been allocated to targeted initiatives.