CENN — June 30, 2004 Daily Digest

CENN – June 30, 2004 Daily Digest
Table of Contents:
1. $2bn already invested in Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline
2. Will Caspian Sea become another Aral?
3. Contest for Journalists – “Environment and Health”
4. Invitation to comment on the Municipal and environmental
infrastructure policy
5. Armenia Tree Project Celebrating 10th Anniversary
6. Commission selects Two bids for Privatization of Zangezour Smelter
7. Armrosgazprom to Bid for Laying Iran-Armenia Gas Pipeline
8. Development Approaches: Convergence of Different Paths

1. $2bn already invested in Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline

Source: RBC, June 28, 2004

Some $2bn have been spent on the project of constructing the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Trend news agency reported citing
Nagit Aliyev, the President of the Azerbaijani State Oil Company (GNKAR). On
the whole, according to him, shareholders in the project will invest about

The current pace of construction is about 1 kilometer of a pipeline a day.
Aliyev noted that the oil pipeline would be ready for operation by the time
oil production started in the central part of the Azeri field.

The GNKAR head also declared that many European companies were interested in
the project of laying the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline. Moreover, he
mentioned that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development had
decided to allocate a $170m credit to GNKAR to finance its share in Phase-1
of the Shakh-Deniz project and $1m on reorganizing the state company.

The construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline is planned to be
finished by the end of 2004. The capacity of the 1,760-kilometer pipeline├Ľ
is 50m tons of oil per year. The cost of the construction is estimated at
$2.95bn. Among shareholders in the project are BP (30.1 percent), GNKAR (25
percent), Unocal (8.9 percent), Statoil (8.71 percent), TPAO (6.53 percent),
Eni (5 percent), Total (5 percent), Itochu (3.4 percent), In┬│ex (2.5
percent), ConocoPhilli┬│s (2.5 percent) and Amerada

2. Will Caspian Sea become another Aral?

Source: United Press International, June 28, 2004

The Caspian Sea, the largest inland body of water on Earth, is in danger of
turning into an environmental dead zone, a development whose impacts would
be felt throughout Central Asia and Eastern Europe, scientists told United
Press International.

Five countries — Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan —
surround the Caspian but wastes from Russia’s industrial facilities carried
down the Volga River provide the sea with the most pollution.

The region’s oil reserves are estimated at more than 200 billion barrels,
which puts it in second place after the Middle East. Exploration and
exploitation of oil fields account for another major component of the

In terms of oil, and from an environmental standpoint, Azerbaijan’s oil
facilities are among the worst in the world, Bahman Aghai Diba, a consultant
on international law for the World Resources Company in McLean, Va., told
UPI. Azerbaijan has been using oil resources both within and close to the
Caspian for about 80 years.

A rise in the sea’s level also has been causing problems. For example,
between 1978 and 1995, between 700 and 1,200 oil wells have been flooded in
Kazakhstan, said Alexander Bolshov, a consultant for the Atyrau branch
office of the Kazakh agency for applied ecology.

“Nobody knows an exact number of flooded oil wells,” Bolshov told UPI. Oil
is leaking out of some wells, he added.

Oil pollution levels in different parts of the Caspian are between 1.5 times
and 11.8 times the maximum permissible concentration, Bolshov said.

Copper in the northern Caspian exceeds the maximum permissible level by 3.9
times. The zinc concentration, at a short distance away from the Cheleken
Peninsula in Turkmenistan, exceeds the MPC by 7.2 times, he said.

Although copper and zinc are used as nutritional supplements, they are heavy
metals that can damage living creatures at certain concentrations and tend
to accumulate in the food chain.

Along with seals, sturgeons — fish used for food and the eggs necessary for
the caviar industry — are dying in the Caspian in large quantities. The
reason, Bolshov said, is migration of toxic substances up the food chain —
a process that tends to concentrate those substances in creatures at the

“Irreversible processes will start if water pollution reaches a critical
level,” he said.

The more money that has been invested in the oil industry in Kazakhstan’s
western Atyrau province — on the northern shore of the Caspian — the
higher sickness rates have become, said Muftach Diarov, director of the
Scientific Center for Regional Ecological Problems of the Atyrau Institute
of Oil And Gas.

“The main issue is the enforcement of the existing laws,” Aghai Diba said.
“The lack of agreement on the legal regime of the Caspian Sea is hampering
the legal and enforcement efforts.”

Illegal and unregulated fishing has reduced the sturgeon stocks by more than
80 percent in the Caspian, according to Aghai Diba. The U.S. government is
considering declaring some types of the caviar producing fish as endangered
species, he added.

“Convention for the Protection of the Caspian Sea was adopted recently by
all Caspian countries but adoption itself is far from implementation,”
Ljubomir Jeftic, an environmental management expert from Croatia, told UPI.
Jeftic has evaluated two projects of the Global Environment Facility on the
Caspian for the United Nations Environment Program and for the World Bank.

Jeftic cited a lack of planned coastal development and the ability of
governments surrounding the Caspian as contributing the most damage to the

“Money is a big problem,” he added.

People will finally kill the Caspian if the present pollution trend
continues, said Hamid Amirebrahimi, director of the South Caspian
Institution for Environmental Services in Tonekabon, Iran, and public
participation adviser for the Caspian Environment Program, which is governed
by a committee of representatives from the five coastal Caspian states.

“In a polluted environment, human life is also under threat,” Amirebrahimi
told UPI.

“The pollution will affect the whole area,” Aghai Diba said. “The littoral
(coastal) states must be responsible for the extent of pollution that they
cause. The Caspian Sea must get out of the status of a free garbage dump.”

Amirebrahimi considers the activity of the Caspian Environment Program and
The Framework Convention on Environment of the Caspian Sea, signed by all
Caspian littoral states in November 2003, the only hope.

“Nothing should be done, but stop the Caspian pollution,” said Ramiz
Mamedov, head of the Center for the Problems of the Caspian Sea and deputy
head of the Institute of Geography in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The waters of the Caspian would not be able to self-purify for 40 years, he
told UPI.

3. Contest for Journalists – “Environment and Health”

Source: , June 28, 2004

On Sunday, June 27 the Award Ceremony of the first contest among
journalistic works dedicated to environmental problems was held in “Mini
Golf Club”.

The competition was held under Caucasian Environmental Regional Center’s
(GRC Caucasus) project – “Media and Public Participation”. Georgian national
team of environmental journalists selected the topic of the competition –
“Environment and Health”. The jury viewed the publications published from
May 8 till June 15, 2004 and evaluated them according to three criteria.

According to competition’s conditions, three journalistic works were
presented to GRC Caucasus:
– “Garbage – Real Danger”- Otar Kiria; Newspaper “24 Hours”, 14.06.2004;
– “Georgia Faces Bioterorism” – Keti Janelidze; Magazine “Akhali Zhurnali”
(New Magazine), 12-18.06.2004
– “Malaria and Dead Forest” – Keti Bezhiashvili; TV Project “Crossroads –
Map”, 12.05.2004;

After the jury’s marks were summed up it became evident that out of maximum
30 points the three works got 25,2 points each. That’s why the authors got
equal prize money, each of them got $100. Besides, Head of Information and
Public Participation of GRC Caucasus, Eka Zghuladze gave some presents to
the contestants, including t-shirts and different paraphernalia associated
with the project.

“At the June 27 meeting Georgian Journalists’ team selected the second
competition’s topic – “Environment and Safety” under this regional project,
which is taking place in the three countries of South Caucasus” – Giorgi
Gakheladze, Project Consultant in Georgia, said.

4. Invitation to comment on the Municipal and environmental
infrastructure policy

The EBRD has started work on the revision of its Municipal and environmental
infrastructure policy. In compliance with the Bank’s Public Information
Policy comments are invited to help the Bank in revising its policy.

The document sets out the general specific and operational role of the Bank
in this sector and establishes the overall framework for the Bank’s
activities over the strategy period from 2004 – 2008. It succeeds the
Operations Policy approved by the Board on 16/17 June 1998.

Comments should refer to the current draft policy available at:

Please send your comments to the Bank at [email protected] no
later than 12 August 2004 so that they can be taken into account.

Outreach and NGO Relations Team. European Bank of Reconstruction and

5. Armenia Tree Project Celebrating 10th Anniversary

Armenia Tree Project office, Yerevan
Tel: 553069 or 569910
E-mail: [email protected]

Armenia Tree Project Celebrates its 10th Anniversary with an Open Air Gala
Concert at Garni Temple

The Armenia Tree Project (ATP) and the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia
(NCOA) under the direction of Aram Gharabekian are pleased to announce an
Open Air Evening Gala Concert at the historic site of Garni Temple, one of
the oldest historical landmarks in Armenia, built in the 1st Century BC. The
upcoming concert is in celebration of ATP’s 10th Anniversary of regreening
Armenia. President Robert Kocharian, U.S. Ambassador John Ordway and other
high-ranking government officials, ambassadors and foreign officials have
been invited to the event. Representatives from dozens of local and
international organizations who partner with ATP will be present at the

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 530,000 trees at approximately 500 sites ranging
from Gumri to Goris. Two state-of-the-art nurseries, founded in the refugee
villages of Karin (Ashtarak area) and Khachpar (Masis Area) not only provide
40,000 – 50,000 trees annually for community tree planting all over Armenia,
but are also a major source of eployment for these refugee villages. Another
vast nursery has been established this year for providing over one million
trees annually for reforestation of the devastated landscape in Vanadzor.
Although we have accomplished much since 1994, our work in protecting and
restoring Armenia’s forests has just begun.

In 2003 ATP launched a Sustainable Mountain Development Project in the
refugee village of Aygut in the Getik River Valley in Gegharkounik Marz.. In
this program of mountainous reforestation, ATP is creating a model of
partnering 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, Boghosian Education
Center, the Peace Corps and Satsil. ATP is expanding to all 13 villages in
the Getik River Valley, this year including the second village in the
Valley, Dzoravanq. The sub-projects being implemented include the Backyard
Nursery Project, through which villagers generate income by growing
seedlings in their backyards for reforestation, the Milk Collector Project,
Backyard Orchard Rejuvenation and Ecological Education Programs in the

Never before in history have Armenia’s forests been so close to extinction.
With only 8 % of forest cover left, down from 12% in 1990 and 25% at the
beginning of the 20th century, the World Bank estimates that the last of our
trees will be gone in only 20 years at the current rate of cutting. 81.9% of
Armenia’s land faces the danger of desertification (National Report on the
State of the Environment 2002). The future of Armenia’s forests, climate and
biodiversity rest in our hands. The actions we take now for combating
deforestation will save Armenia from the path it is on toward
desertification. The Armenia Tree Project is energizing the nation’s youth,
educating the Armenian public and the Diaspora about the nature of the
problem and possible solutions and joining forces with like minded
organizations and individuals to meet the common goal of greening Armenia
and reversing the dangerous and destabilizing trend of environmental

6. Commission selects two bids for privatization of Zangezour

Source: ArmenPress, June 29, 2004

An inter-agency commission, set up to handle the privatization of Zangezour
smelter, has examined today privatization bids, received from potential
buyers, Armenian trade and economic development ministry said, adding that
two of proposed bids met all requirements set by the government. The
ministry said it will consider both and has demanded additional information
from both companies to submitted within ten days. Both selected companies
say they are ready to pay $25 million in advance before starting takeover

Plans for privatization of the plant were announced by the government last
March and were officially presented to over 40 potential buyers at a special
conference held in London late March.

The government expects to net at least $450 million in cash and investment
commitments from the sale of Armenia’s largest copper and molybdenum mines.
A prospective buyer will be expected to pay $100 million for the Kajaran
plant’s shares and pledge to invest more than $350 million in modernizing
its obsolete technological lines.

7. Armrosgazprom to bid for laying Iran-Armenia gas pipeline

Source: RosBusinessConsulting, June 29, 2004

The company Armrosgazprom is planning to take part in a tender on
constructing and maintaining an Iran-Armenia gas pipeline, the press service
of the company reported. The customer of the gas pipeline is the Armenian
government. A basic agreement on laying the pipeline was signed in Yerevan
(Armenia) on May 13, 2004. According to the document, the gas pipeline will
be put into operation by January 1, 2007. Armenia will get some 1.1bn cubic
meters of gas annually through this pipeline. Each country is to finance the
laying of a pipeline on its territory. Armenia is expected to spend about
$90m to $100m and Iran some $120m on constructing the pipeline.
Armrosgazprom was created in 1997 in compliance with a Russian-Armenian
government agreement and it is the exclusive wholesale buyer and supplier of
gas in Armenia. The Armenian government and Gazprom have a 45-percent stake
each in the company; Itera has a 10-percent block of shares. Armrosgazprom
owns the whole gas distributing network in the republic.

8. Development Approaches: Convergence of Different Paths

Source: IUCN, June 29, 2004

The 4th Regional Session of the Global Biodiversity Forum in Asia was held
in Manila, Philippines 21-23 June, 2004. The key findings of the forum were
that development planning and sustainable development strategies do not have
much meaning for local communities. Communities strive for the betterment of
livelihoods irrespective of whether Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers
(PRSPs) will help achieve their aims or whether Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) serve as frameworks. Only global organizations and national
governments use these approaches combined with national plans for
conservation. Since communities do not understand these terms and processes,
ownership of the communities in achieving these goals are often lacking.
With more than 60 people from 11 countries participating, the delegates
deliberated on the need to make conservation and development work together
for local people rather than to fulfill global obligations.
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)

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

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress