CENN – October 15, 2004 Daily Digest

Table of Contest:
1. Fallout Continues from Ninotsminda Blowout
2. Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Company Announces New Protocols with the
Government of Georgia
3. BP and Eurasia Sign Agreement on New Pipeline Monitoring Program for
Georgian NGOs
4. Armenian Proposals For Extra U.S. Aid Shelved
5. Homeless People Gathered in Angry Protest Outside Yerevan City Hall
6. Interregional Volunteer Activities to Take Place in 7 Armenian
Regions and Yerevan on Oct 28-29
7. RA President: Armenian Diaspora Should Be More Active in Assisting
Development Projects in Armenia
8. The Conference of the Council of Trustees of the Pan-Armenian
International Youth Center Foundation Held in Yerevan
9. ITERA Oil and Gas Company Holds Negotiations on Selling 10% of the
Shares of Armrusgasprom CJSC for $ 30 mln
10. 6 Month Imprisonment for Beating a Journalist
11. Armenian anticorruption commission highlights 10 main areas of
12. Armenia’s only elephant to get an Indian companion
13. Invitation to European INFORSE
14. Vacancy Announcement


Source: The Messenger, October 13, 2004

Ninotsminda, in the Kakheti region of Sagarejo, is still recovering from
the disaster it suffered a month ago, when for three days oil and gas
gushed out of a borehole following a well blowout.

Georgian media notes that the region is still to be compensated for its
losses – 30 hectares of woods must be cleaned and there is an ongoing
danger to inhabitants’ health. Papers also note that the CanArgo Energy
Corporation, which owns the well, states that it will do everything to
eradicate the results of the catastrophe.

The disaster occurred on September 10, 2004 when oil and gas under
extreme pressure began jetting out of N100 well near the mountains in
the outskirts of Ninotsminda, seriously damaging the surrounding

A strong wind spread the gas and oil, and two villages in Sagarejo –
Ninotsminda and Tskarostavi – were seriously affected. Locals reported
that the ‘oil-rain’ continued for two-and-a-half days before the company
finally managed to stop the oil on the third day.

In a press release on September 13, 2004 CanArgo stated, “the well is
flowing a considerable amount of oil and gas under what appears to be
significant pressure.” They added that “one of the world’s leading well
control specialists is scheduled to arrive today to assist in capping
the well.”

Later on September 13, 2004 the company issued a second release noting
that the well had been capped and “the situation is now under control.”

A month after the borehole catastrophe, experts investigating the reason
for the disaster concluded that it was not the fault of the oil workers,
but was due to uncontrollable and unforeseeable processes happening deep
in the earth – the N100 well itself extends some 16,000 feet below the

In its recent articles Khvalindeli Dghe reported that the company is
using old Soviet machines that are not as safe as modern Western
machines in its exploration and quoted the company’s technical director
Aleko Chichinadze as saying, “I saw drilling machines in Arabia which
cost USD 100 million but we were not able to buy them.”

The company, however, notes that they were preparing the well for an
under balanced coiled tubing drilling program that CanArgo’s CEO and
President David Robson, during at last week’s conference of the
America-Georgia Business Council, described as one of the most modern
systems in use.

The oil blow-out damaged approximately 30 hectares of woods, and the
damage is so bad that residents state in 3 hectares it is impossible to
save the trees. The company has begun cleaning the woods and the earth
and specialists from Britain have been brought in to help the clean-up
process. The work is complicated by the complex nature of the land,
which includes 60-degree slopes.

So far, 1,700 local residents have received check ups in medical
institutions and some of them have been kept in hospitals. According to
media reports, during the first three days some of the local population
had symptoms of poisoning and the drinking water was contaminated
forcing people to bring water from neighboring villages in tanks. The
company has promised the population that it will drill wells and supply
them with drinking water. It has also purchased the grape harvest from
farmers, paying the market price.


New BP Social l Investment Program

Source: The Messenger, October 12, 2004

Monday, October 11, 2004 – The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Company (BTC
Co.) today announced the signature of two protocols with the Government
of Georgia.

Mr. Michael Townshend, Chief Executive Officer Co., signed protocols –
relating to pipeline security, completion of additional work under BTC’s
Environmental Permit and the creation of new grant program for Georgia –
with the Prime Minister, His Excellency Mr. Zurab Zhvania on Sunday
October 11, 2004.

The signing was followed by a joint trip to Borjomi with Prime Minister
Zhvania, Minister of Environment Tamar Lebanidze, Secretary of the
National Security Council Gela Bezhuashvili and BP President David
Woodward to visit pipeline construction and publicly announce the

BP, operator of the BTC pipeline, used the occasion and the visit of Mr.
Andrey Inglis, BP’s Executive Vice President and Deputy Chief Executive
of Exploration and Production to announce a substantial new social
investment program, for Georgia.

In the first protocol, BTC Co. and the Government of Georgia
acknowledged conclusion of work on the Continuing Activities under the
Environmental Permit fort eh BTC Environmental and Social Impact
Assessment. Under the protocol; the parties will enter into two further

(1) The Security Protocol which will formulize obligations concerning
the provision of the pipeline security in a manner consistent with
international security and human rights undertakings, including the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Voluntary Principles on
Security and Human Rights.

(2) In connection with this Protocol, an Agreement on provision of
Security Equipment & Facilities for the Borjomi region. Through this
agreement, BTCCo. will provide the government with a range of necessary,
non-lethal items including vehicles and accommodation for government
security personnel, together with maintenance support the total value of
the items to be provided is US$1 million per year for the remaining life
of the pipeline.

In the second protocol, BTC Co. and the Government of Georgia
anticipated the signature of an Agreement on Establishment of a Grant
Program for Georgia. Under this agreement, BTCCo. will provide a series
of grants to the government, which are to be used for funding of social
and economic projects for the benefit of the people of Georgia. The
total funding for the program amounts to US$40 million through to 2010,
which a further US$1 million per year for the remaining life of the
pipeline. The first grant payment is US$9 million.

The intent of the grants is to support the government’s ongoing
socio-economic development priorities during a critical period before
its pipeline tariff revenues reach their maximum level. The grants are
in addition to BTC Co.’s existing social and community investment

Through its simultaneously announced new social investment program, BP
will invest $US10 million in Georgia in a range of projects. The
program’s themes will include: education, healthcare, cultural heritage,
energy sector revitalization and the promotion of business and civil
society links between Georgia and the European Union.

At the signing, Mr. Inglis said: “BP is committee to a successful,
long-term relationship with Georgia. We attached particular importance
to supporting the socio-economic development of the country and
protecting Georgia’s environment. As the operator of BTC and several
other important projects in Georgia, we intend to be Georgia’s guest and
partner for the next forty years.”

Mr. Townshend added: “Today’s agreements will deliver tangible benefits
to the people of Georgia. They also set in place a comprehensive
security plan for the Borjomi region that is consistent with our high
standards of human rights. We recognized that the Borjomi region is
unique, and BTC Co. is committed to operating to the highest
international standards – both there and along the rest of the


Source: The Messenger, October 13, 2004

Tuesday, October 12, 2004 – BP and Eurasia Foundation are pleased to
announce that they have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to
being implementation of a new 18-month program for Georgian
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) interested in progress of
construction and operations of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline
and South Caucasian gas pipeline (SCP).

The Pipeline Monitoring and Dialogue Initiative (PMDI) is intended to
create a new, independent forum promoting more effective NGO involvement
in pipeline monitoring and information dissemination. PMDI provides
avenues for NGOs to receive more complete information about the
projects, improve their skills in carrying out practical monitoring of
pipeline project implementation, and serve the informational needs of
communities located along the pipeline corridor. Eurasia Foundation will
manage the program, facilitate and coordinate NGO participation, and
serve as the primary liaison between BP and participating NGO

The program has two main parts:

1. Training and monitoring for individuals, which creates monitoring
work groups representing a cross section of Georgian NGOs. Work groups
will undertake monitoring activities focusing on key areas of interest
such as environmental and social issues, cultural heritage and labor
rights. The reports produced by these groups will be published as part
of the PMDI process, and will promote constructive dialogue on the
selected thematic issues.

2. A small grants program targeted at teams of NGOs to promote skills
development and information sharing among Tbilisi based rural NGOs along
the pipeline route. As part of the PMDI grants program, larger and
smaller NGOs will work together to build organizational capacity with
the aim of better serving the informational needs of communities located
along the pipeline route.

The program will be supported by a coalition of external donors, to
ensure independence of PMDI monitoring activities from BTC/SCP. Details
of the full spectrum of donor cooperation are currently being finalized.

At the signing of the agreement, BP Georgia External Affairs Manager
Devid Glendinning said, “We have tried to implement the BTC and SCP
pipeline projects in a very transparent way and have consulted widely
with communities, government and NGOs. This project is a new and
important part of that process. We are delighted to be able to work with
Eurasia Foundation and we hope the project will improve NGOs’
understanding of the work are doing and give us some valuable input on
how we can improve going forward.”

Adrea Harris, Regional Vice President of Eurasia Foundation, added, “It
is critical that the NGO community be involved in monitoring efforts
along the pipeline route. But lack of resource time and skills have
often made this difficult to achieve to date on a sustained basis. PMDI
will build transferable and substantive skills in the civil sector, and
it will promote constructive dialogue between NGOs and the pipeline
operations. BTC/SCP are to be commended for their proactive stance on
providing opportunities for going community engagement through this
partnership. Our conviction is that the Georgian NGO community will
benefit greatly from this capacity building program now and for years to

Eurasia Foundation has already discussed the program with several
interested NGOs and will be sending out information on registration


Source: RFE/RL, October 10, 2004

The Armenian government has postponed the submission of its proposals
for additional U.S. assistance under the Millennium Challenge Account
(MCA) program and will have to lower its aid expectations, Finance
Minister Vartan Khachatrian revealed on Tuesday.

Mr. Khachatrian said an Armenian delegation led by him unveiled no
written proposals when it met in Washington last week with top
executives from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S.
government agency handling the multimillion-dollar scheme designed to
promote economic and political reform around the world.

It was launched by President George W. Bush earlier this year. Armenia
was included on the list of 16 developing nations eligible for the
initial installment of $1 billion.

Officials said last month that the Armenian government will ask for as
much as $900 million in MCA funds to be provided in the next three
years. They said it would like to spend most of the money on
reconstructing the country’s battered irrigation and drinking water

It remained unclear why Yerevan decided not to submit the proposals to
the U.S. government contrary to the expectations. One of the reasons
cited Vartan Khachatrian was that the amount of MCA funds earmarked for
the new U.S. fiscal year has been cut by half to $1.5 billion.

Vartan Khachatrian also said the two sides agreed that the Armenian
government will file its proposals `by the end of the year,’ after a
visit to Yerevan by a team of MCC officials. He indicated that the
amount of extra U.S. aid sought by the government will have to be
revised downwards.

The countries eligible for the scheme were chosen on the basis of 16
indicators of political and economic reforms. A senior U.S. State
Department official dealing with relations with Armenia warned in May
that Yerevan should improve its human rights record if it wants to
secure the vital assistance. According to Vartan Khachatrian, U.S.
officials were less critical of that record during the Washington talks.


Source: A1 Plus, October 12, 2004

Yerevan mayor Yervand Zakaryan promised the people driven from their
homes because of construction of Northern Avenue in Armenia’s capital to
think over the problem and make compromising decisions by Monday.

Monday passed with no sign of imminent progress. On Tuesday, homeless
citizens once again gathered outside City Hall, demanding bigger
compensation. They said 50 families evicted from their homes had signed
a contract on a paltry compensation. The demonstrators say they signed
the contract under “red berets” pressure and were forced to leave their

The protesters are now waiting to be received by the municipality. No
response is got so far.


Source: /ARKA/, October 7, 2004

Interregional volunteer activities will take place in 7 Armenian regions
and Yerevan on Oct 28-29, IFES Yerevan Office. The goal of the activity
is encouragement of volunteer movement and activity of public
organizations as effective means for joining of communities in expanding
of local problems. By participating in the activity, Armenian citizens,
receive good opportunity to demonstrate civil activity and make
practical contribution in development of their communities.

The activity is conducted in Armenia for the 4th time.


Source: /ARKA/, October 7, 2004

Armenian Diaspora should more actively assist the implementation of
development projects in Armenia.

According to the Press Service Department of RA President, this was
stated by the RA President Robert Kocharian today at his meeting with
the delegates of the 83rd conference of Armenian General Benevolent
Union (AGBU). The President highly appreciated the activities of AGBU in
cultural and educational areas and expressed hope that this work will be
continued in future at the current pace. In his turn, Perch Sedrakyan,
the President of AGBU noted that the reforms in Armenia are noticeable.
“Although there still exist a lot of problems, it is apparent that the
country moves forward overcoming the barriers”, he said.

83rd AGBU conference is being held in Yerevan. 150 participants from 24
countries arrived in Yerevan to participate in the conference.


Source: /ARKA/, October 11, 2004

The conference of the council of trustees of the Pan-Armenian
International Youth Center Foundation was held in Yerevan. According to
the RA Government’s Press Service and Public Relations Department, in
the course of the conference, in which RA Prime Minister Andranik
Margaryan took part, the Executive Director of the Fund A. Sinanyan
introduced the report on the second youth forum held in Armenia on July
24-29, 2004. The results of the conference were introduced, including
reports and protocols of the plenary session and the sessions of
thematic and working groups, as well as information concerning informal
discussions, the program of the forum and the way it was covered by the
Mass Media. Sinanyan noted that as compared to the first forum, the
second one had a wider geography of the participants, and the scope of
the issues discussed.

Sinanyan summed up the suggestions made during the forum, sating that
they will be taken into consideration when holding a similar forum next
year, and this will allow increasing the efficiency of it.

In his turn, Margaryan noted that it’s necessary to inform the
participants of the forum of its results, and noted the importance of
using the potential of the youth of the Armenian Diaspora to achieve the
goals of the forum. Margaryan suggested involving young representatives
of the Diaspora, who don’t speak Armenian, when developing the further


Source: /ARKA/, October 11, 2004

ITERA oil and gas company holds negotiations on selling 10% of the
shares of ArmRusgasprom CJSC to one of the West European investment
corporations. According to Regions.Ru referring to ArmRusgasprom, the
cost of the deal can make about $30 mln. At that, the sources didn’t
mention the possible buyer of the shares. According to some analysts of
the gas market, the decision on selling the shares of ArmRusgasprom is
connected with the company’s not becoming the participant of the
consortium for the construction of Iran-Armenia gas pipeline in
Meghri-Kajaran part. The construction will begin in the end of 2004.

In the meantime, as a reply to the corresponding inquiry of ARKA, the
Press Service of ArmRusgasprom refused to comment this information
“proceeding from the ethical considerations”. According to Shoushan
Sardaryan, this issue refers only to ITERA’s administration and RA
Government, as the shareholders of ArmRusgasprom. On September 8, the
agreement on the construction of the Armenian part of Armenia-Iran gas
pipeline in Meghri-Kajaran was signed in Yerevan. The construction and
funding of the Armenian part of the gas pipeline will do the Iranian

Armenia-Russian ArmRusgasprom CJSC is the only supplier of the natural
gas to Armenia. The company was founded in 1997 to sell the natural gas
to local consumers and to transport Russian gas through the territory of
Armenia to other countries. The co-founders of the company are Russian
Gasprom OJSC (45%), ITERA International Group of Companies (10%), and
the RA Ministry of Energy (45%). The authorized stock capital of
ArmRusgasprom CJSC makes $270 mln. ArmRusgasprom CJSC imported 1,2 bln
cubic meters of gas into Armenia in 2003 instead of the planned 1,6 bln.
The number of subscribers of ArmRusgasprom increased by 54 thsd. and
made 186 in 2003.


Source :A1 Plus, October 11, 2004

Today the First Instance Court of Kotayk District sentenced Gagik
Stepanyan, the defendant over the case of journalists Anna Israelyan and
Mkhitar Khachatryan to 6-month-long imprisonment.

Let’s remind that on August 24 this person seized a memory chip from
“Fotolur” Agency photographer Mkhitar Khachatryan cursing and doing
violence and outraged “Aravot” Daily correspondent Anna Israelyan.

At today’s trial the defendant cursed the journalists covering the


Yerevan, 11 October: The anticorruption monitoring commission under the
Armenian president at today’s sitting determined 10 directions of

Bagrat Yesayan, Armenian presidential aide on issues of combating
corruption and chairman of the commission, told the sitting that a
separate working group will function for each direction, where it is
expected to involve representatives of the country’s public
organizations. The directions for commission’s activities, as Yesayan
said, are:

1. Control over the activities of state organizations specializing in
the sphere of finance – the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank

2. Control over the financial activities of physical and legal entities

3. Control over the activities of the legal system

4. Control over the activities of the judicial system

5. Control over the public health system

6. Control over the public health system [as published]

7. Education sphere

8. Control over the sphere of environment

9. Transport and communications

10. Control over the sphere of economic competition

Yesayan also said that in connection with numerous cases of violation of
laws of the Armenian Republic in the media and mass media outlets, a
special working group of the commission, headed by the chairman of the
Association of journalists-investigators, Eduard Bagdasaryan, will
monitor the fulfilment of the abovesaid laws.

Bagdasaryan immediately proposed setting up a special website to publish
declarations about the properties owned by the country’s officials.

Apart from this, Bagdasaryan familiarized members of the commission with
a decision by the Yerevan mayor to allocate free of charge 6,000 square
metres of [office space] worth 240,000 dollars for a certain public
organization supporting the combating of terrorism, which is a gross
violation of the country’s legislation. Asked by Bagdasaryan on how this
should be combated, Bagrat Yesayan said that this decision should be
handed over to the relevant bodies, and if they failed to do anything,
these facts should be made public and that he should inform the
president of this “not as a journalist, but as a member of the
anticorruption monitoring commission”. The commission is not entitled to
carry out its own investigation, Yesayan said.


Source: Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa, October 13, 2004

The only male elephant in Armenia’s zoo will get an Indian female
companion this week, a news report said on Wednesday. Armenian officials
had asked the Indian government for a female pachyderm in 1999, for its
sole male elephant originally from Moscow.

Indian premier Atal Behari Vajpayee promised them an elephant during a
visit to Armenia last year. Acknowledging that their gift was late,
Indian officials were quoted as saying in the Hindu newspaper that the
elephant would help “cement” India-Armenia ties.

Eight-year-old Komala weighs 1 500kg and lives in a zoo in the southern
Indian city of Mysore. She will travel in a specially-made container to
Bangalore on Thursday from where the Armenian government will fly her,
mildly sedated in a cargo plane, the report said. Mysore zoo
veterinarian SM Khadri described Komala as “exceptionally well behaved,
obedient and in good health”.

She is an “F2” elephant, or one that is bred in captivity. India only
sends “F2” elephants abroad, Khadri said. Accompanying her through the
acclimatization process will be a “mahout” or handler and a team of
veterinarians. – Sapa.


We would like to invite you to:
European Energy Policy Seminar – An INFORSE-EUFORES-EREF Event

“A Seminar on New and Upcoming EU Policies for Sustainable Energy and
Climate Protection” NOVEMBER 9-10, 2004, BRUSSELS Institute of Cultural
Affairs rue Amedé Lynen 8, Bruxelles (near metro Madou)

Please see the PROGRAM below in txt format PROGRAM & REGISTRATION FORM
also available
in word doc and pdf at:

COSTS: 100 EUR including lunch and refreshments. Free for INFORSE-Europe

INFORSE-Europe activities are supported by the DG-Environment Civil
Society Support in 2004.

For more information please contact:
att. Gunnar Boye Olesen, E-mail: [email protected],
Ph: +45-86227000, Fax: +45 86227096.



Task: Socio-Economic Driving Forces of the Kura River Basin Degradation

The Kura-Aras river system is an internationally significant river
basin, which is seriously degraded and continues to be threatened. Water
scarcity is an issue at many points in the river system. Water quality
and quantity constraints may increasingly lead to disputes amongst water
users over the coming years. Integrated, multi-country, trans-boundary
responses are necessary to address the threats to the river system, and
their underlying causes.

The main objective of project is to address institutional and technical
needs for integrated water resources planning and management at the
national level. The project aims at building national capacity for
Integrated Water Resources Planning and Management;

Duties and responsibilities

Major objective of the task is as follow:
ž To identify and analyze main socio-economic driving forces causing
degradation in the Kura River Basin. This would help to create an
inclusive picture of all anthropogenic factors contributing in pressure
generation, as well as to identify necessary measures for preventing and
overcoming degradation processes in the Kura-Aras River Basin.

In order to achieve above mentioned objective UNDP will hire the Expert
to analyse following driving forces of basin degradation:

Population growth. Under this task expert will look through: annual
population growth, and future trends (population dynamics), trends of
rural and urban migrations, per capita available fresh water resources
in dynamics, development indicators.

Economic development.
Agricultural activities: Under this task expert will look through:
available arable land, main crops cultivated in the basin, use of
fertilizers, pesticides, regions with soil salinization problems caused
by agricultural activities, data about soil salinity, fresh water
salinity, drainage water salinity (if available), irrigation water
quality, eutrofication caused by intensive use of fertilizers, land
desertification problems caused by agricultural activities, soil
erosion; problems of land fragmentation and negative outcomes for

Industry: Under this task expert will look through: major pollution
sources, water contamination, soil contaminations from industry, loss of
biodiversity due to pollution and other industrial activities;
Domestic/ municipal use of water: Under this task expert will look
through: drinking water consumption rates and increase in demand, urban
and rural sewage water discharge in water ecosystems (problems of sewage
water treatment), landfills in the basin (their location), threats from
the leakage of hazardous components to groundwater systems, waste
dumping in rivers and other water reservoirs, lake eutrofication caused
by untreated sewage water discharge, management problems of
wastewater and waste disposal from sanitation and health facilities

Power generation: Under this task expert will look through: large dams
in the basin with severe effects on natural ecosystem, present trends of
small dam construction and possible effects (positive/ negative),
country policies in energy sector, other constructions including
non-power generating constructions

Forestry: Under this task expert will look through: timber production
rates (annual cut), the scale of uncontrolled forest logging, outcomes
of uncontrolled forest logging – deforestation and trends for future,
deforestation due to energy crises (annual consumption of firewood);

Tourism and recreation: Under this task expert will look through:
impacts on ecosystems from existing recreation sites, increase of water
demand, ecosystems degradation due to the construction activities
(recreation facilities, road network, communication needs, power
generation and supply, etc.)

Low public awareness: Under this task expert will look through:
availability of information about the main threats in the basin,
availability of information about environmentally sound practices,
availability and level of activeness of local environmental NGOs in the
basin, access of wide public to the environmental, information through
TV/mass media, electronic publication, etc

Quantitative and qualitative methods will be employed to conduct this
study. The study will be based on existing materials, studies that have
been carried out and interviews and meetings with relevant authorities.

These methods include:
ž Collection, synthesis and analyses of existing data and information
from government body representatives, NGOs and international development
agencies having specific data required for analysis;

ž In-depth interviews

The project team members will provide technical assistance, help in
preparation of detailed questioner for interviews, and assist in data

Reporting requirements

ž The expert is responsible for drafting report according to the scope
of work;
ž Report should be submitted electronically in Russian;
ž If the work requirements are not met report can be revised upon its
satisfactory completion;

Qualifications and skills required

ž A degree in environmental economics or resource management;
ž Working experience with socio-economic aspects of environmental
degradation issues;

Terms and conditions:
The expert will undertake the works within three months after signing
the contract. The payment will be made in two installments: the first 50
percent of the total will be paid upon submitting first draft of the
report and the second 50 percent – after responding to the comments and
final acceptance of the report by project Team Leader. Total amount of
payment will be negotiated with the Project Team Leader.

Qualified candidates interested to undertake works under the Terms of
Reference should submit their Curriculum Vitae by ordinary mail, by fax
or electronically no later than Friday, October 25, 2004, 6 p.m. to:

Zurab Jincharadze, Team Leader
E:Mail: [email protected]
Tel/Fax: 995 32 292742

Ms. Nino Malashkhia, Technical Assistant
E-mail: [email protected]


Ms. Mariam Shotadze, UNDP Georgia, Programme Analyst
[email protected]

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress