CENN Daily Digest – 07/27/2004

CENN — July 27, 2004 Daily Digest
Table of Contents:
1. BP awards contracts for environmental investment Program along the BTC
pipeline route
2. BTC Construction Suspended
3. BP’s pipeline to nowhere: Georgia halts oil giant’s £2.4bn project
4. Who Conserves The World’s Forests?
5. International Resource Award for Sustainable Watershed Management

1. BP awards contracts for environmental investment Program along
the BTC pipeline route

Press Release

BP as operator of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil export pipeline and
South Caucasus (SCP) gas projects is pleased to announce that in June 2004
it has awarded contract to NACRES – Noach’s Arch Center for Recovery of
Endangered Species NGO, to implement the “Ecosystem and Species Conservation
in Georgia: Brown Bear Project”. This is the second contract award in the
framework of the Environmental investment Program (EIP) for the BTC and SCP

the principal objective of the Environmental investment Program (EIP) is
delivery of actions that are of ebnefit in the promotion and conservation of
biodiversity. The USD 3 mln EIP is divided into number of themes, which were
identified through the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment studies
and trough the process of consultations with the national and international
stakeholders. Themes include: Rare species conservation management;
Sustainable forestry; Capacity building for NGOs, Environmental Education,

A request for proposals for the rare species conservation management was
publicly issued in late September 2003. Proposals were ought specially for
the Caucasian Black Grouse and Brown Bear conservation management. However
proposals related to other rare species were also considered, if associated
with pipeline. The contract for the Caucasian Black Grouse research,
monitoring and conservation management project was awarded to the Georgian
Center for the Conservation of Wildlife NGO in January 2004.

Through a review process, the Ecosystems and Species Conservation in
Georgia: Brown Bear project was now selected for funding under the above
theme. The grant award for the project is USD 250, 000.

Project activities include estimation of the Brown Bear population
parameters within the Trialeti range, appraisal of current levels of
threats, description of the underlying reasons for loss of bear habitat,
development of a Bear Conservation Action Plan for the Trialeti range,
establishment of basis for community involvement in conservation activities.

The project will be implemented by NACRES Noach’s Arch Center for Recovery
of Endangered Species, an NGO founded in 1989 to research and safeguard
biodiversity, especially endanger species, in Georgia and South Caucasus and
to promote public awareness in the field of environmental protection.

Project activities stared in June 2004 and will finish in May 2006.

We believe that the Environmental Investment Program gives BP and the
selected NGOs a unique opportunity to make a positive difference to the
preservation of Georgia’s wildlife.

For the more information please contact:
Communication Department, BP Georgia
Tel: (995 32) 59 34 00
Fax: (995 32) 59 34 80

2. BTC Construction Suspended

Source: The Georgian Messenger, July 26, 2004

Minister of Environmental Protection and Nature Resources Tamar Lebanidze
decreed that construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyahn oil pipeline be
suspended for two weeks on July 20, 2004.

The suspension affected a 17-km section of construction through the Borjomi
gorge. The reason of suspension is permission and terms issued by the
Ministry of Environmental Protection on November 30, 2004.

The ministry argues that the ninth item of the agreement, which dealt with
safety measures, was not fulfilled.

The economic and political significance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil
pipeline is high and the temporary time out does not appear to threaten its
completion. The issue is that one section of the pipeline, which passes
through the Borjomi gorge, recently caused a large scandal as many people
express concern that the pipeline will cross a canyon where there is a
unique mineral spring.

In an interview with the newspaper 24-Hours, minister Lebanidze agreed with
the opinion that the pipeline route has been chosen in an incorrect manner.
“If now the issue of choosing the route was on the agenda, we would by all
means choose a different route,” she said.

At that time there were two alternatives: either the pipeline should have
crossed Karakai route or Akhalkalaki route. investors were categorically
against Akhalkalaki route, because of the neighboring Russian military base
and instability in the region.

As for Karakai route, investors thought that it was too expensive. Instead
planners turned to the Borjomi gorge and Shevardnadze’s government agreed on
it provided there would be security guarantees.

The Borjomi gorge is characterized by very rugged terrain and requires
special environmental protection in order to minimize risks, like that from
landslides. Mtavari Gazeti quoted Tamar Lebanidze as saying that BP agreed
to fulfill these conditions in 2002.

But in Lebanidze’s opinion, Shevardnadze’s government should actually have
made every effort for changing the direction of the route in the past.

According to Georgia’s representative on the intergovernmental commission
for Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project implementation, Giorgi Vashakmadze, it will
be impossible to resume pipeline construction as long as all the conditions
are not met.

Lebanidze told Rezonansi that BP obeyed the requirements of the ministry and
it will resume construction in two weeks. Meanwhile, officials say two weeks
is plenty of time to find a solution and that this will not delay the
pipeline’s progress.

3. BP’s pipeline to nowhere: Georgia halts oil giant’s £2.4bn

Source: The Observer, July 25, 2004

The government of the former Soviet republic of Georgia has ordered BP to
halt work on a section of a controversial £2.4 billion Caspian oil pipeline
project. The environment minister, Tamar Lebanidze, said the company failed
to provide contractually required environmental information.

Lebanidze said BP should not have started laying the 42 inch-wide pipe until
her government was convinced that BP had in place the best technology to
ensure it could withstand both landslides and terrorist attacks.

BP was on site for just one week in Borjormi before being told to stop.
Borjormi is considered an area of outstanding natural beauty with a mineral
water spring that provides a 10th of Georgia’s exports.

The minister added that she would have rejected the scheme agreed by former
president Edward Shevardnadze, who was forced out of office last November.
Lebanidze fears oil leaks could devastate the region.

At 1,087 miles, the Caspian export pipeline will be the world’s longest,
taking Azerbaijani and Kazakhstani oil through Georgia to Turkey. It is
backed by US President George W Bush, who is keen to reduce US reliance on
Middle Eastern and Russian oil.

James Leaton of the World Wildlife Fund said: ‘BP considers itself above the
law on this project and has no respect for the environment.’

The news will take the gloss off BP second-quarter results, out this week.
Net profits could beat last quarter’s record £2.64 billion.


Source: IUCN, July 26, 2004

Indigenous peoples and other communities who live in and around the world’s
tropical forests often are as effective as their national governments at
conserving forests, and are outspending foreign donors by as much as two to
one, according to a new study by Forest Trends, an IUCN member organization
based in Washington, D.C. The announcement comes as delegates from 59
nations gather in Geneva to debate the renewal of the International Tropical
Timber Agreement. Speaking at a press briefing last Thursday, Stewart
Maginnis, Head of the IUCN Forest Conservation Programme, commented: “These
often very poor communities are making the same levels of investment, at a
minimum, perhaps a lot more, in conserving these areas, as developing
country governments.” Some 240 million indigenous and local community
peoples own and manage about one fifth of the world’s tropical forests, and
invest US$ 1.2 billion to 2.6 billion a year in forest management and
conservation, according to the study.

5. International Resource Award for Sustainable Watershed

As one of the world’s leading reinsurers, Swiss Re has committed itself to
supporting the planning, evaluation and implementation of water-related
projects with the aim of promoting awareness and encouraging the efficient
use of this precious resource. To support and encourage water-related
initiatives, in April 2002 Swiss Re launched the ReSource Award for
Sustainable Watershed Management. On 5 April 2004, Peter Forstmoser,
Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Member of the Executive Board Walter
Anderau presented the 2003 award and launched the 2004 award at Swiss Re’s
Centre for Global Dialogue in R?schlikon. The award is worth USD 100,000 in
total and is granted to one or several projects selected by an international
jury. It is conferred annually.

What is the idea behind the award?

Access to water supply and sanitation is a fundamental human need. Human
beings and nature need it for their very survival. But water is a threatened
resource. The increasing pollution of the world’s water reserves, the
growing frequency of water shortages, the exploding world population and
resulting demand for water – not to mention risks arising from climate
change (eg changing water cycles) – are presenting a major threat to the
natural environment, human health, food production and the economy in

The word “source” denotes origin and purity; it projects dynamism and even
mystical power. All water stems from a source: this is where rivers and
streams begin their life before embarking on the most diverse of journeys.
As the Chinese saying goes: “All water has a source and every tree a root.”

Strong leadership and community involvement are essential in preserving and
nurturing our water (re)sources. But there are a number of obstacles to be
overcome before a project of this kind can get off the ground. Swiss Re
established the International ReSource Award for Sustainable Watershed
Management in an attempt to actively support the planning, evaluation and
implementation of water-related projects with the aim of promoting awareness
and encouraging the efficient use of this precious resource. Swiss Re is
convinced that this commitment will attract further funds dedicated to
preserving water supplies.

For the more detailed information please visit:

Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)

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