CENN Daily Digest- 04/15/2004

Table of Contents:
1. Construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline is Under Way
2. Work in $130 mln Realized in Azerbaijan Section of BTC
3. Fate of City Water
4. Number of Tourists Visiting Azerbaijan Dramatically Increases
5. Earth Day Website Honors Planet with Free
6. Iran Views Construction of Gas Pipeline Through Armenia and Ukraine
to Europe as Important
7. International Treaty on Planet Genetic Resources to Enter into Force
in June
8. Call for Papers; Submission Deadline June 1 for Wetlands 2004
9. Training Courses for Development Practitioners in Central Asia and
the former Soviet Union


Source: International News Agency Batuminews, April 7, 2004

Construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is under way in
two sectors: on the 248-193 km. at the border with Turkey, and 0-193 km.
at the Georgian border with Azerbaijan.

A source at BTC project operator British Petroleum (BP) informs of the
involvement of `Punch Lloyd’, an Indian company, used to carry out more
extensive pipeline construction works.

The same source provides information that a 170-km stretch in the
Akhaltsikhe region of the pipeline corridor was cleaned. Pipes have been
installed at a length of 158 km. BP reports that the work is ongoing, on
schedule, and should be completely finished by the end of the year.


Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag,
April 13, 2004

$130 mln has been already spent for Azerbaijan section of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline up to now.

The sum approximately makes up 40% of the funds envisaged for
implementation of these works. These expenses connected with lying of
pipeline and construction of two pumping stations in Sangachal and
Yevlakh region.

It should be reminded that about 200 local companies and organizations
were attracted to construction of Azerbaijan pipe run.


Source: The Messenger, April 15, 2004

Sakrebulo to announce decision on water management

After considering the issue for over one year, Tbilisi Sakrebulo is
scheduled to make a decision in the coming days regarding the management
of Tbiltskalkanali (Tbilisi Water Management) by the French company
Generale des Eaux (CGE) that has already won the World Bank tender to
manage the utility for ten years. In addition, the World Bank has
allotted a USD 25 million grant on renewal of the water infrastructure
in the capital. If approved by the Georgian government, the French
company will monitor how the grant is spent.

A delegation from the Tbilisi Sakrebulo visited France in early April to
familiarize itself with the activities of this company. The delegation
reported on Tuesday that it was satisfied with the company’s expertise,
adding that it is confident that Generale des Eaux will do its best to
mage the project.

According to Sakrebulo Head Zaza Begashvili, who was a member of the
delegation, the “French company does not plan to raise the tariff on
water consumption.” He also claims that if the French company receives
management rights the Tbilisi budget has the potential to save the GEL
15 million annually which it spends on Tbiltskalkanali.

Mr. Begashvili said the government demands that the French company meet
a number of conditions after assuming management. Specifically it should
supply the capital’s population with 24-hour water and maintain the
minimal tariff on water consumption. If the Sakrebulo approves the
tender awarded to CGE in Georgia, the company will be obligated to
repait the capital’s water infrastructure, including, first of all,
changing the water pipes.

Now Begashvili and other officials explain that the French company will
not privatize Tbiltskalkanali and the company will remain the property
of the government. The Labor Party has repeatedly protested the
management Tbiltskalkanali by the French company. “We have nothing
against The French company but our position is that the country’s
strategic entities should not be in the hands of foreigners,” stated the
Labor party spokesperson Gela Danelia. He adds Tbiltskalkanali “will
face the same fate as the companies in the energy sector.’ He is
confident that there are Georgian companies capable of successfully
managing Tbiltskanali and have the professional experience to do it. The
party plans to step up its protest if the city government gives the
French the green light.

CGE was officially selected in September 2002 as the winning bidder by
the tender commission after an international tender organized by the
government of Tbilisi with the support of the World Bank, informs
Jean-Patrice Poirier Director for South East Europe, Caucasus, and
Central Asia Veolia Water. However, on July 27, 2003 of this year, the
Sakrebulo halted all measures aimed at transferring Tbiltskalkanali and
announced moratorium on the issue until it could be thoroughly studied.

As Mr. Poirier explained to the Messenger by e-mail last fall, the
`contract is a partnership in which no once can force anything on anyone
but each party must agree. The first decision maker is clearly the
government of Tbilisi and one the representative body of Sakrebulo has
decided then the World Bank must agree.’

The French company clarifies that the tender did not foresee
privatization rather a public private partnership in which CGE would own
nearly nothing the public assets remaining the property of Tbilisi
government. `The present managers and employees are good but they lack
means and experience. We shall operate the local water company
transferring our know-how, technology and modern management procedures,’
says the regional director.

On the contrary CGE management explains that they have proposed an
operator tariff to the Tbilisi government to compensate the water
company for the new operation, the investments and improvements
forecasted. The Tbilisi government should decide on the consumer’s
tariff and then pay or receive the difference.’ We understand that they
are forecasting very progressive increases of domestic tariffs,’ adds

CGE explained last fall that they would invest USD 8 million directly
with the local company and an additional USD 25 million would be
supplied by the World Bank to the city government.

“No matter who manages the water company tomorrow, a lot of must be done
as the system as suffered due to alack of maintenance and lack of
investments over a long time,’ notes Mr. Poirier, `and if we are
invited, we shall first of all improve the efficiency of the Water
System as currently there are huge amounts of water lost. Quality and
quantity of service shall be also improved for the benefit of the
population. Then we shall organize the investments on equipment and
infrastructure so as to achieve real results in improvements of the
system, in accordance with the contract.’

Aside from the discussion over French management of Tbiltskalkanali the
company recently signed a contract with Telasi on bill unification and
already from April 400, 000 Tbilisi citizens received a new format of
bills combining both Telasi electricity bills and municipal water bills.

According to Iusa Tsartsidze, the head of Tbiltskalkanali Supervisory
Board, this gives the company a chance to improve collections on water
consumption and save money previously spent on bill collectors. The
company will pay Telasi two tetri for each dual invoice. Tsartsidze
thinks, ‘This deal is profitable for his company.’


Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag,
April 15, 2004

The number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan increased 10-fold over passed
two years, representative of the head department of the Ministry of
Youth, Sports and Tourism of Azerbaijan Khanoglan Gulaliyev said.

According to the State Stats Committee, the number of foreign citizens
who visited Azerbaijan in 2003 totaled 1 million 66 thousand 299 people.
Of them, 25 thousand 543 came on a traveler’s visa against officially
registered 2294 in 2002 of total 793 thousand 345.

However, these stats are based on travel agencies’ information. The
figure would massively increase if calculations were made in accordance
with World Tourism Organization’s standards.

`Entrepreneurs arriving in Azerbaijan on a business mission must be
registered in the section `business tourism’ as well as athletes must be
included into the `sport tourism”, added Khanoglan Gulaliyev.


Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag,
April 13, 2004

A free gift to honor Mother Earth on Earth Day 2004 entitles any person
to receive an exceptional email every few days that contains short,
inspiring, earth-connecting quotes and comments from people in our
society’s past and present. To help people more fully celebrate this
Earth Day. People improve the nature-detached environmental and
psychological mentality we have used for the past century because it has
shown that it is not able to do the job we need to do.

“The nature-connected quotes show that people and their mentality are
part of Earth and nature,’ says Dr. Mike Cohen, director of Project
NatureConnect. When nature and its renewing powers are absent in the
environment of the human mind, even our best thinking leads us to behave
in ways that abuse Earth’s natural systems in our body and psyche as
well as in the environment. With nature’s absence, we lose its ability
to help our thinking produce the social and environmental balance we
seek, a balance common to healthy natural systems and nature-connected

“Over 99% of our thinking is disconnected from and out of tune with
nature and its regenerative ways,” states the proclamation. That, it
says, is the point source of personal dysfunctions such as stress,
depression and cancer as well environmental dysfunctions such as global
warming, oceanic dead zones and war.

The proclamation urges the counseling, education and environmental
communities to become more effective by using readily available sensory
tools that emotionally reattach our mentality to nature for we do not
fight for what we don’t love.

To honor Earth Day 2004, Project NatureConnect has contributed
nature-reconnecting tools to leaders and students. Their use enables
people to think using the same organic communication process that we
share, as part of nature, with the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms.
As with them, without creating pollution or garbage, the process helps
our thinking sustain optimums of life, diversity and peace in natural
systems around and within us.


Source: PanARMENIAN.Net, April 14, 2004

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi stated the project of
construction of a gas pipeline through Armenia and Ukraine in direction
of Europe as important. He expressed the opinion during the meeting with
RA FM Vardan Oskanian, who is on a formal visit in Iran at present. The
Iranian minister positively assessed the development of the regional
cooperation stating that its bilateral nature consolidates the community
of interests and gives rise to regional and international relationships,
Iran.ru reports.


Source: ArmeniaNow

The Ministry of Agriculture plans to release a damage report next week,
but already it is expected that this will be another poor year
especially for Armenian apricots. Apricot crops were below average the
past three years due to a harsh winter and floods.

Grapes, nuts, tomatoes and most fruits are expected to suffer from the
April frostbite that came after a late-March tease of unusually warm

The head of Plants Cultivation Department of the Ministry of Agriculture
Garnik Petrosyan, says that in addition to damage in the fertile Ararat
valley, trees have also suffered in Vayots Dzor, Kotayk, Aragatsotn and
Lori regions.

Vardan Aghajanyan has a 170-square meter greenhouse, where nothing is
green now. He took a $3,500 bank loan to finance his tomato crop.

`I would have had tomatoes in the beginning of May and I could have sold
them for 250-500 drams (about 45-90 cents per kilogram) and that was to
be my income,’ Aghajanyan says. `Each plant would have provided me with
a one-dollar profit, but nothing is left.’ Petrosyan says the government
should find a way to compensate.

`Taking into account the fact that apricot crops have been damaged for
three years and the fact that people who grow apricots could be using
lands for other purposes, we think the government must free them from
paying land tax,’ says Petrosyan.

But farmers such as Hayk Barseghyan of the Dasht village of Armavir
region are not thinking about tax, so much as lost crops.

We ran out of firewood. We burnt everything we had,’ he says, referring
to efforts to warm the trees with smoke. `We covered our greenhouses
with cellophane two times. We used all clothes and rags we had:
blankets, carpets. We covered greenhouses with everything we could find
but everything was in vain as we couldn’t save them.’

Hayk’s mother, 65-year-old Nunufar Barseghyan sits, crying, under a
flowered apricot tree, which has been frostbitten.

`I’ve been living in this village for 46 years but I never saw something
like this. How could temperature fall from +27, +30 to – 11 in April?
This was God’s punishment,’ she says.

With difficulty she opens the door of a greenhouse, where she planted
seedlings of cucumber and gord. Plants are dead with their tops hung
down onto gray ground. One candle is placed next to every cultured

`During the whole night we were lighting candles,’ Nunufur says. `Can
you imagine how many boxes of candles we lit? We wanted to keep warmth
in such a way but everything was in vain.’

They lost about $350. Hayk says they took money from the bank and left
gold as a deposit. The land is their only source of income.

And their fate is shared by most of the 800-900 villagers of Dasht.
About 60 percent of the 153-hectare area is given to gardening.


Source: IUCN, April 14, 2004

The conservation and sustainable use of `plant genetic resources for
food and agriculture’ (or `PGRFA’) has long been recognized to be a very
critical part of our global heritage – the key to the future of human
life on earth. Efforts to ensure the continued vitality of PGRFA were
enormously strengthened on 31 March by the announcement that eleven
European countries, as well as Egypt and the EU (as a member
organization) have all ratified the International Treaty on PGRFA. This
brings the total ratifications to 48, which is more than enough to
trigger the 90 day process leading to the Treaty’s entry into force on
29 June 2004. IUCN’s Environmental Law Program, through its
Environmental Policy and Law series, is finalizing a Guide to the
Treaty, which will provide assistance to country parties in implementing
their obligations under this instrument


Invitation to Submit an Abstract or Attend: Staff of federal, state,
local governments, not for profit organizations, birders, watershed
councils, land trusts, landowners, all others welcome.

October 19-20, 2004. Hilton Kansas City Airport, Kansas City, Missouri


Field Seminar in the Central Flyway:
Wetlands in Living Landscapes
October 21-22, 2004, Great Bend, Kansas (Quivera National Wildlife
Refuge, Cheyenne Bottoms)

The Association of State Wetland Managers invites you to submit a paper
to present at the National Symposium: Wetlands 2004: Protecting Wetlands
of International Significance to be held on October 19-20, 2004 at the
Hilton Kansas City Airport, Kansas City, Missouri. An optional field
seminar will also be held to Great Bend Kansas on October 21 and 22. The
deadline to submit abstracts is June 1, 2004.

National Symposium Goals: This symposium and field seminar (optional)
will be held along the Central Flyway to help build the capacity of
states, local governments, federal agencies, and others to help monitor,
assess, protect and restore wetlands of international significance.
These wetlands include some of the nation’s most vulnerable wetlands
including Prairie Potholes, playas, bogs, and coastal salt marshes. They
include Ramsar sites, wetland-related national wildlife refuges,
wetlands in national parks, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve sites,
North American Waterfowl Management Plan sites, National Estuarine
Research Reserves, and other wetlands.

The symposium will primarily focus on the protection and restoration of
wetlands of international significance in the U.S. However, a portion of
the program will be devoted to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. A
major emphasis of the symposium will be to develop improved cooperation
between wetland and bird protection groups. A broad host of other issues
will be addressed as well.

Call for Paper Topics: Please see call for papers announcement at the
ASWM web site at
for a
compressive list of topics and abstract submission guidance.

Abstract Submission:
Please e-mail abstracts in Word, Word Perfect, ASCII, or rich text
format to Sharon at [email protected] by June 1, 2004. Please include
the abstract title, author name(s), affiliation, street and e-mail
address, and phone number with your abstract. If more than one author
is listed, please indicate the person who will be presenting the paper.
Please be sure to include a contact person with address, phone, and
e-mail information. Also, please clearly indicate which “topic” listed
above, your abstract best fits. You will be notified by June 15 if your
abstract is accepted.

Please visit the ASWM conference web site for updates and registration
information at

If you have any questions, please e-mail [email protected] or
Sharon Weaver at 518-872-1804.


Developing Partnerships, 15-17 June 2004, (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)

Participatory M & E, September 2004, (Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan)

INTRAC’s open training program has been running for more than 10 years
at locations in the UK, Europe and Africa, and now is becoming available
at venues in Central Asia, building on our experience of running a
Central Asian civil society strengthening program.

INTRAC Training Offers: A dynamic arena for reflection on issues faced
by practitioners; a rich cross-cultural exchange of experiences; focus
on regional-specific needs; an introduction to models and practical
tools for use in the workplace

Who Are The Courses For? These are primarily aimed at those based in
Central Asia and the FSU.

Participants comprise of staff from international and national NGOs,
donor organizations, support organizations and civil society umbrella

Method of Learning: Our training is participatory and uses a variety of
methods based on action learning principles such as case studies, role
play and peer support. This is complemented by presentations on
relevant theoretical frameworks and emergent thinking and trends,
delivered by a range of international consultants, providing
participants with the opportunity to locate their experiences within the
wider body of thought.

Course Fees, Language & Duration: These courses are run as either 3-day
or 5-day workshops. Fees for participants range from $490 to $700,
excluding the cost of travel and accommodation. Training is delivered
in both English and Russian.

To apply for these courses or to find out more about Intrac’s Open
Training Program in Central Asia, please contact:

Lola Umatalieva, Program Assistant, INTRAC Central Asia Program,
Regional Office, 107 Kievskaya (3rd Floor)
Bishkek 720001, Kyrgyz Republic
Tel: + 996 312 611402
Fax: + 996 312 611277
Email: [email protected]

Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)

Tel: ++995 32 92 39 46
Fax: ++995 32 92 39 47
E-mail: [email protected]