CENN – May 14, 2004 Daily Digest

Table of Contents:

1. We Welcome You to Become a Member of the “Caucasus Environment Society”
2. Bolnisi Public Environmental Information Centre
3. Kazakhstan Oil To Be Transported Through BTC MEP
4. 5 Armenian NGO To Receive $40,000 in Grants from World Band and SOROS
5. ATDA Launches New, State-of-the-Art Website
6. Covering Environmental Issues
7. An Israeli Expert in the Remote Village of Aygut
8. UNDP Launches the Community Week Advocacy Initiative with Events in
Remote Areas of Armenia
9. 23 Million Euros Needed for Upgrading Abovian Gas Storehouse
10. Armenian premier says Ukraine may join gas pipeline project
11. Yerevan invites Kyiv to Iran-Armenia pipeline tender
12. Romania and Armenia Foster Cooperation in Education and Science
13. Conference on Armenian Architecture in Brussels
14. Russia, Armenia and South Africa to Set up Diamond Venture
15. Russia and Armenia Consider Opportunities to Boost Cooperation
16. World Bank Corruption May Top $100 Bln


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On May 12, 2004 was held the meeting in the Public Environmental Information
Centre of Bolnisi in
the framework of the DAI — Development Alternatives, Inc. project Water
Resources Management
in the South Caucasus.

The final seminar was organized for the local activists from the different
NGOs about River Basin
Management. The River Ktsia Basin Counsil Statement project and the Training
Plan for the River
Ktsia Basin Counsil members were considered with the active support of DIA
officers. According to
the most optimistic evaluations the River Ktsia Basin Counsil will be
created before the end of this

Prepared By Malkhaz Inadze, CENN


Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag, May
12, 2004

Transportation of Kazakh oil will be realized via main export
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Jurists
and experts have already prepared relevant documents.

Final meeting with Kazakhstan side will be held in May 2004 and prepared
agreement, stated the President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Natig

Signing of bilateral agreement is due in Baku.


Source: ArmenPress, May 12 2004

Five Armenian non-governmental organizations will receive a total of $40,000
in grants from the
World Bank and the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) in 2004 as part
of World Bank’s
Small Grants Program. The relevant agreements were signed today. The program
was started six
years ago and two years ago the Soros Foundation joined it.

Naira Melkumian, a senior official of the World Bank Yerevan office, said
the main goal of the
program is to help resolve the most pressing problems of the vulnerable
segment of the population
“or at least to outline ways for their resolution.”

Larisa Alaverdian from the Armenian branch of the Soros Foundation said the
five organizations
were selected from a pool of 115 applicants. She said the Bank and the
Foundation would continue
to support the implementation of the program.

One of the organizations, Atur, of Assyrians, living in Armenia, will use
the grant for publication of
2,000 copies of a book in their mother tongue. The other organization,
called Millennium, will publish
a book of seven successful stories of Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan who
settled in Armenia’s
rural regions. The stories then will be used for shooting a documentary.




Armenian Tourism Development Agency /ATDA/
3 Nalbandian St., Yerevan 3675010, RA
Tel.: (+3741) 54 23 03, 54 23 06
Fax: (+3741) 54 47 92
Email: [email protected]

Date: May 12, 2004

Armenian Tourism Development Agency (ATDA) Launches New, State-of-the-Art

The Armenian Tourism Development Agency (ATDA) launched an impressive new
showcasing Armenia’s tourist attractions, cultural
treasures, national parks, art
galleries and all the resources necessary to make any trip to Armenia a
comfortable, pleasant and
memorable time for all.

ATDA’s and TIB’s /Technology into Business/ staff of professionals – with
indispensable funding
from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and
unparalleled technical
support from the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) – has created
a site that has merged
“high tech” interface with “high art” aesthetics, utilizing both ancient and
modern Armenian motifs.

>>From interactive maps of cultural landmarks to a comprehensive and easily
accessible database of
tour agents, hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and so much more, the ATDA
site has become the
web’s one- stop, on-line, Armenian tourism venue.

Much like ATDA’s now famous ARMENIAInformation Visitor Information Center,
at 3
Nalbandyan Street in the heart of Yerevan, the new ATDA website is a
virtual, full service concierge
facility and an expansive compendium of useful information and resources –
whether that be for
travelers and tourists or history lovers and the arts literati.

Sections are thoughtfully organized with easy access navigation bars;
graphics and photos are vibrant
and compelling; maps are easy to read and truly interactive, providing
details on any given point in
Armenia with the click of the mouse.

Background information and helpful travel hints are available at every turn;
shopping and recreation
sites are explored side by side with cultural centers, museums, concert
halls and art galleries;
Armenia’s vast array of architectural monuments and sacred sites are finally
presented in such a way
that travel planning is almost as fun as the actual visit.

The site is also exceptional in that it provides a constantly updated
calendar of weekly events, which
is available online and can be e-mailed to you every week once you

The ATDA has really provided interested travelers and tourism industry
professionals – no matter
their point of origin – a place on the web to fulfill, as well as provide
for every type of Armenian
tourism and travel need.

Do not hesitate, go to now.

For more information on ATDA and its activities, please visit us at 3
Nalbandyan Street or contact at
(+3741) 542303/6.


Source: International Journalist’s Network, May 11, 2004

Covering Environmental Issues
May 17, 2004 – May 21, 2004

The Caucasus Media Institute (CMI) with support of the U.S. Embassy and the
UN Environmental
Program organizes workshop in Yerevan, Armenia. The workshop is aimed at
improving journalists’
coverage of environmental news. British and local specialists will conduct
the training in Armenian
and English for 12 journalists.

The CMI Web site:


Armenia Tree Project
Yerevan 375025, Aygestan 9th Str., #6
Tel./Fax (374 1) 569910
E-mail: [email protected]

Press Release
May 11, 2004

May 9, 2004 – Armenia Tree Project (ATP) and Satsil NGO organized a seminar
on potato growing
in Aygut Village, Gegharkounik Marz. The seminar was conducted by Mr. Gadi
Moses, an Israeli
expert in potato growing technologies representing ECOTEX Ltd. Mr. Moses
visited Armenia as a
guest of Satsil NGO in framework of an agricultural consulting assistance
project in the South
Caucasus conducted by the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture.

Since 2002 ATP has been implementing a Village Economic Development program
in the Getik
River valley where Aygut is situated. In this program of sustainable
mountainous development, ATP
partners with the villagers and with other international and local
organizations to combat the linked
problems of poverty and natural resource degradation. Among the contributors
to date are
USDA/MAP, World Food Program, Heifer International, Project Harmony, ORRAN,
Education Center, and Satsil.

The seminar started with an overview of potato growing techniques employed
by Aygut farmers,
most of who fled from Azerbaijan as refugees fifteen years ago. After
learning about the problems
villagers are currently facing in potato growing, Mr. Moses presented
practical solutions to them and
shared the Israeli farmers’ experience. The presentation lasted for over
three hours. “You have the
best soil in the world: with a bit of learning you could multiply your
yield”, Mr. Moses encouraged the
listeners. With consulting experience in almost 40 countries around the
world, Mr. Moses managed
to enter into a dialogue with the villagers and assess their problems in a
very practical way. The
topics covered at the seminar included fertilizers used in potato growing,
planting techniques (optimal
distance between seed nests, planting depth, density, etc.). The community
members were active in
asking questions, particularly addressing maximizing yield and problems
connected with different
species of potatoes.

For further information, please contact Karen Sarkavagyan at the Armenia
Tree Project
Phone: 569910, 553069
E-mail [email protected]

The Armenia Tree Project was founded in 1994 during Armenia’s darkest and
coldest years with the
vision of securing Armenia’s future by protecting Armenia’s environment.
Funded by contributions
from Diasporan Armenians, ATP has planted and rejuvenated over 500,000 trees
at more than 450
sites ranging from Gumri to Goris.


Source: ArmenPress, May 11, 2004

Today, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and the United Nations
Development Programme
(UNDP) officially started the Community Week advocacy initiative with two
major events in
Tavoush, one of the most remote regions of Armenia. The events were attended
by the Governor of
Tavoush, four deputy ministers from the Ministries of Territorial
Administration, Agriculture, Nature
Protection, Trade and Economic Development and the UN Resident
Coordinator/UNDP Resident
Representative. The events included the inauguration of the fully
rehabilitated secondary school in
Voskepar village and the creation of a Village Development Foundation in
Koty community.

In the framework of UNDP’s Community Development Project, the secondary
school in Voskepar
has been fully renovated, including installation of a new heating system.
The Armenian Social
Investment Fund (ASIF) and the Governor’s office have provided the school
with new furniture and
materials and the local community has provided a seven percent in-kind
contribution to the project.

In Koty village, UNDP’s Agricultural and Rural Development Coordination
Unit, together with the
Ministry of Agriculture, have facilitated the development of a Koty
Community Strategy
Development Plan for 2004-2008. A working group representing all main social
groups in the local
population has worked to develop a comprehensive plan aimed at addressing
various problems in the
community. To ensure the successful implementation of the Plan, Koty is
establishing a Community
Development Foundation. The Foundation will be formed by donations from
community members,
former Koty villagers and international organizations.

According to Ms. Grande: “UNDP is committed to supporting communities
throughout the country.
We recognize that the country’s strength is its communities and that through
partnerships we can and
should help communities help themselves. The inauguration of Voskepar school
and the launching of
the Koty Village Development Foundation are wonderful events to mark the
beginning of Community
Week, an advocacy initiative of UNDP Armenia and the Ministry of Territorial
Administration aimed
at raising public awareness about ongoing legislative and other reforms
affecting communities and
contributing to discussions on community-related issues.”

Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration, Mr. Vache Terteryan, noted:
“The Government of
Armenia has adopted an approach to delegate more authority to our
communities in order to make
them more viable in the long run. Currently, most of the communities are in
need of considerable
assistance especially in terms of quality and accessibility of social and
health services and education.
In this respect, we are grateful for UNDP’s attention and ongoing support to
our efforts aimed at
community development, and we are confident that our successful cooperation
will continue in

Background: UNDP cooperation to date in the area of community and rural
development in Tavoush
region amounts around USD 750,000. Three schools and eight primary
healthcare facilities have
been rehabilitated by UNDP. In addition, UNDP supports the Tavoush Farmers
Association, which
provides technical support and various services to approximately 1,000 rural
households in seven


Source: ArmenPress, May 13, 2004

A 23 million euros worth project for upgrading an underground natural gas
storehouse in the town of
Abovian, some 20 off the capital Yerevan, developed by HayRusGazArd company,
the sole supplier
of Russian gas to Armenia, was praised highly by the European Bank for
Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD) and participants of a round table, held on the sidelines
of a ministerial meeting
of INOGATE program.

Edward Nersisian, head of HayRusGazArd’s department for external relations,
told Armenpress the
underground storehouse is of key importance for Armenia in terms of its safe
gas supply and energy
independence and “is no less important than the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline
the construction of which
is supposed to start later this year.

The upgraded storehouse will be able to store some 200 million cubic meters
of gas, while today it
can contain only 80 million. In case of securing the necessary funds the
upgrading will be over in 2-3
years. Nersisian said a mobile station for quick repair of breaks on the
pipeline is expected to come
to Armenia as part of INOGATE’s 2004 program.


Source: Era, Kiev, May 11,2004

Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan is paying a visit to Ukraine. He
met his Ukrainian
counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych, today. In particular, the parties noted that
both countries had
tremendous potential for developing bilateral trade.

The Armenian prime minister also stated that Ukraine could take part in
bidding for the construction
of a gas pipeline to Iran. He noted, however, that a technical and economic
feasibility study of the
project was still being prepared, so details of the possible participation
of Ukrainian companies in
building the pipeline had not been discussed yet.


Source: Interfax, May 12, 2004

Armenia is inviting Ukraine to bid in a tender for the building of an
Iran-Armenia gas pipeline,
Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan announced at a joint press
conference with his
Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich on Tuesday in the Ukrainian capital.

Margaryan said this was one of the main topics discussed by the
Armenian-Ukrainian commission for
trade and economic relations on Tuesday.

He noted that his country and Iran are engaged in technical consultations,
after which will be
discussions of financial details and then the announcement of the
construction tender.

“We are confident Ukraine will take part in it,” Margaryan said.

As reported earlier, a final agreement on building the gas pipeline is
expected to be signed in late
May during a visit to Yerevan by Irani Oil and Gas Minister Bijan Zanganeh.

The actual construction is slated to begin late this year and be completed
sometime in 2006.

According to documents signed earlier, the Iran-Armenia pipeline will run
141 kilometers, 100 km in
Iran and 41 km in Armenia. The project price tag is estimated at $120
million. Plans are for Armenia
to receive 700 million cubic meters of gas per year via the pipeline
initially, up to 1.5 billion cubic
meters later on. Armenia will pay for the Irani gas with electricity at 3
kilowatt/hours per cubic meter
of gas.

Building this pipeline has been a discussion subject since 1992. Aside from
the main project players,
Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, China and some European Union countries have
shown interest. The
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced its
readiness to be part
of the project financing.


Source: ArmenPress, May 11, 2004

An Armenian delegation headed by minister of education and science was in
Romania recently.
Education and science ministry press services reported that the visit aimed
to discuss cooperation
projects with Romanian education and scientific research ministry to ensure
implementation of a 1999
agreement between Armenian and Romanian governments.

During the working meetings the sides discussed ways of fostering
cooperation. Particularly it was
proposed to open a department of Armenian Studies at Bucharest State
University and a department
of Rumanian studies at the Yerevan Linguistic University.

Further it was arranged to foster student and research exchange program.
Romanian government
took the responsibility to support the Armenian school in Bucharest. The
sides signed a
memorandum that they will later develop into an agreement.



REF: PR/04/05/011

Assembly of Armenians of Europe
Rue de Treves 10, 1050 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 647 08 01
Fax: +32 2 647 02 00

Brussels, 13/05/04 – On May 7th 2004 at the CIVA (Centre International pour
la Ville,
l’Architecture et le paysage) in Brussels, the Assembly of Armenians of
Europe organized a
conference dedicated to Armenian Medieval Architecture. Mr. Bernard Coulie
(orientalist, rector of
the Catholic University of Louvain,), Mr. Sarkis Shahinian (co-chairman of
the Swiss Armenian
Association, researcher at the EFP, Zuirch) and Mr. Patrick Donabedian (PhD
in the history of fine
arts and fellow worker at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France)
contributed to the conference, to
which architects, members of the cultural units of the European Commission
as well as students and
professors were invited. The idea behind inviting the latter group was to
introduce European
specialists and academics to Armenian cultural heritage, emphasize its role
in world heritage and
reveal the unknown traditions of Armenian Architecture.

At the opening of the conference Mr. Bernard Coulie expressed his
condolences to the Belgian
Armenian Community on the occasion
of the decease of Arbak Mkhitarian, famous Egyptologist,
armenologist-orientalist and active
member of the Armenian community.

Mr. Bernard Coulie gave the audience insights into Armenian history, culture
and Christianity, which
became the integral part of the Armenian identity, while Mr. Sarkis
Shahinian presented in detail the
architecture of Armenian Churches in the Middle Ages and revealed the
connection between the
Armenian pagan and Medial Christian cultures, as well as presented a glance
to Modern Armenian
architecture, in particular the urbanism of Yerevan, capital of the Republic
of Armenia.

Mr. Patrick Donabedian elaborated on the subject of ‘khatchkars’, cross
stones, in which the
Armenian valley is abundant. This conference came to highlight the fact that
the majority of those
Armenian monuments concerned are in the territory of Turkey and are in
danger of disappearance.
Moreover, none of the mentioned monuments are under the protection of

The conference was followed by the photo exhibition on Armenia by the French
Wojtek Buss. It was in Armenia that Wojtek Buss discovered his vocation of
photographer and
some years later he returned there in order to realize his dream. His book
publish in Paris in 1998
was entitled “Armenia, Splendour of a secret country”. His wonderful photos
of Armenian
monasteries, churches and landscapes bear witness to the love, mysticism and
courage of Armenians.


Source: RusData Dialine – BizEkon News, May 12, 2004

Russia, Armenia and South Africa are negotiating to set up a joint venture
to mine and polish

Russia, Armenia and South Africa are negotiating to set up a joint venture
to mine and cut diamonds.

The venture will offer the full range of services – from mining proper
through to the marketing of
finished jewelry articles. Armenia is sixth in the world in terms of diamond
polishing. In 2003, its
cutting factories turned out about USD 250 million worth of polished stones.
Experts have recently
been forecasting increased demand for and rising prices of diamonds. In
Russia, the first auction this
year to sell diamonds weighing from 10.8 carats up on the domestic market,
to be held May 18, has
already received bids from 50 Russian processing plants. Novye Izvestia
recalls that Botswana tops
the world’s diamond production league – 32% of all diamonds valued at USD
2.3 billion. It is
followed by Russia, with 22% of world output worth USD 1.6 billion. Third is
Canada, followed by
South Africa and Angola. Russia and South Africa are the main suppliers of
gem-quality diamonds.


Source: ITAR-TASS News Agency, May 11, 2004

Russia and Armenia consider opportunities to boost cooperation, Russian
Foreign Ministry
spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said on Tuesday.

Two-way trade increased by almost 35 percent last year. At the present time,
Moscow and Yerevan
exchange views regarding the prospects for implementing the property-
against-debt agreement, as
well as interaction in the sphere of energy and investments, Yakovenko said.

The parties attach an important significance to the solution of transport
problems, in particular by
resuming the railroad service between Russia and Armenia through Georgia.

Special attention is paid to the coordination of efforts aimed at
normalizing the situation in the
Caucasus, and the opening of the potential of multi-lateral cooperation,
including within the
framework of the Caucasian Four.”

This includes the prevention of new conflicts and the settlement of old ones
such as in Nagrony
Karabakh, Yakovenko said.

He said interaction within the frameworks of the Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS), the
Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and Eurasian Economic
Community where
Armenia received the status of observer, was an important sphere of
cooperation between the two

“Russia and Armenia are resolved to make task-oriented moves in the fight
against terrorism,” the
diplomat said, adding that “the political interaction in the sphere of
anti-terrorist fight is strengthened
by effective practical cooperation between secret services.”


Corrupt use of World Bank (news – web sites) funds may exceed $100 billion
and while the
institution has moved to combat the problem, more

Sen. Richard Lugar (news, bio, voting record), an Indiana Republican,
charged “in its starkest terms,
corruption has cost the lives of uncounted individuals contending with
poverty and disease.”

He commended World Bank President James Wolfensohn for bringing greater
attention to the issue,
but said, “Corruption remains a serious problem.”

Lugar opened a hearing on corruption at the multilateral development banks,
the first public
examination in an ongoing Senate investigation.

He cited experts who calculated that between $26 billion and $130 billion of
the money lent by the
World Bank for development projects since 1946 has been misused. In 2003,
the bank distributed
$18.5 billion in developing countries.

Jeffrey Winters, an associate professor at Northwestern University, said his
research suggested
corruption wasted about $100 billion of World Bank funds, and when other
multilateral development
banks are included, the total rises to about $200 billion.

Damian Milverton, a bank spokesman, later disputed the $100 billion
estimate, insisting it had “no
basis in fact.”

“We completely reject the figure offered by one of the panelists as an
estimate of funding from the
World Bank that might have been misused,” Milverton told Reuters.

Winters testified that the World Bank’s anti-corruption effort was having
“minimal effects” and the
banks should all focus on supervising and auditing their lending.

“The lion’s share of the theft of development funds occurs in the
implementation of projects and the
use of loan funds by client governments,” he said.

Like other United Nations (news – web sites) agencies, World Bank rules
prevent staff from
testifying in public so Wolfensohn was not at the hearing. But senior bank
officials on Monday
privately briefed lawmakers on its anti-corruption efforts, a bank spokesman

Carole Brookins, the U.S. executive director on the World Bank board,
defended the bank saying it
was leading efforts to fight corruption, but acknowledged, “there is more
that could be done to
strengthen the system.”

More than 180 companies and individuals have been blacklisted from doing
business with the World
Bank and their names and penalties posted on the bank’s public Web site.

Between July 2003 and March 2004, it said it referred 18 cases of fraud or
corruption to national
justice authorities based on investigations by its anti-corruption unit.

Specific bank projects under review by the committee include the Yacyreta
dam on the
Argentina-Paraguay border, the Lesotho Highlands Water Project and projects
in Cambodia.

Hector Morales, acting U.S. executive director to the Inter-American
Development Bank, testified
that his institution recently accelerated anti-corruption efforts “but still
has much work to do.”

The More you Know, The Less Gold Glows
Visit for more information

Payal Sampat
International Campaign Director
Earthworks (formerly Mineral Policy Center)
Phone: 202-887-1872 x.210
Email: [email protected]