Creating trust and confidence between communities affected by conflicts is a key EU objective in the South Caucasus. Since 2010, the Confidence Building Early Response Mechanism (COBERM) has supported youth camps, professional training, research, healthcare services and business development projects to help overcome divisions and create opportunities for dialogue and peace.
Supporting civil society is a critical part of EU efforts to find a long-term solution to frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus. Through COBERM, the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcsP) helps build confidence within and across communities divided by conflict in Abkhazia and South Ossetia by financing "people-centred" grassroots activities. Since its launch in 2010, COBERM has invested EUR 9.3 million in 137 peace-focused small projects in a wide number of areas such as healthcare, agriculture, youth, gender equality and establishing professional ties across conflict divides.
Over 45,000 Georgian, Abkhaz and South Ossetian young people benefitted from joint academic and cultural activities including sports programmes and summer camps as a way to build confidence, understanding and tolerance and overcome stereotypes. More recently, a unique "Youth Peace Express" took 20 young Georgian and Ossetians to Europe in spring 2014. Other COBERM projects facilitated access to timely medical care across the Administrative Border Line by transporting over 400 patients to free medical treatment in various medical facilities. Abkhaz children were hosted by local host families during their stay as a way to build confidence. In the area of agriculture, COBERM helped link multi-ethnic farming communities to jointly improve crop production and animal husbandry practices while also providing capacity building in legal and technical areas to small business owners of different ethnicities living in Abkhazia.
COBERM is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).