[CENN] 73 Issue of the CENN Electronic Bulletin (English Version)

Caucasus Environmental NGO Network

73 Electronic Bulletin:
Caucasus Environmental News

Dear Colleagues! Dear Reader (DR)!

Welcome to the October issue of the Caucasus Environmental News
electronic bulletin prepared by participants of the Caucasus
Environmental NGO Network (CENN).

You are welcomed to share with us your opinions about the CENN bulletin.
If you have any comments or questions, we will be happy to consider and

Thank you in advance for your assistance and cooperation.


Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) and the production of our
electronic bulletin – Caucasus Environmental News have been funded by
the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


We are happy to inform you that current number of CENN members
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Thanks for your interest in CENN!



1. Announcements
1.1 New energy policy
1.2 EIA Reports Submitted to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia

2. Job, Internship and Study Opportunities
2.1. Earth Institute Fellows Program
2.2. Hosting young NIS scientists within the framework of INTAS

3. News from Georgia
3.1. EBRD issues new strategy for Georgia (27 September 2004)
3.2. School project successfully launched
3.3. Residents of Georgian town halt construction of oil pipeline
3.4. City launches grants, volunteer programs to beauty Tbilisi
3.5. Hopes of a brighter, warmer winter
3.6. UN population fund announces new country program
3.7. BP awards contracts for environmental investment program along the
BTC pipeline route
3.8. Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline company announces new protocols with
the government of Georgia
3.9. BP and Eurasia sign agreement on new pipeline monitoring program
for Georgian NGOs
3.10. Fallout continues from Ninotsminda blowout
3.11. Lanmeyer to install equipment in Georgian power system
3.12. BTC launches clean-up campaign in Borjomi & Bakuriani
3.13. BTC pipeline linked, presidents reaffirmed friendship
3.14. Baku-Ceyhan pipe will not affect supplies to Russia – Deputy PM
3.15. Human right based successfully completed in Georgia

4. News from Azerbaijan
4.1. Climate problems dedicated
4.2. BP implements project dealing with development of the public health

4.3. Azerbaijan: tourist industry’s own goal
4.4. Azerbaijan partakes in int’l oil and gas exhibition
4.5. South Caucasus pipeline under construction
4.6. Memorandum of understanding between Azerbaijan government and WWF.

5. News from Armenia
5.1 Draft law on ecological expertise to be discussed in Armenia
5.2 Memorandum for rehabilitation of lake Gili signed
5.3 OSCE Office in Yerevan holds workshop on environmental risks and
security in earthquake areas
5.4 Farmers holding out In Yerevan’s last untouched green zone

6. NGO News
6.1. Workshop on SEA (Strategic Environmental Assessment) in Tbilisi and
pilot project as the capacity building tool for SEA protocol
implementation in Georgia
6.2. Appreciation of faith and heritage
6.3. NGOs rolling up in Azerbaijan

7. International News
7.1. World’s top environmentalists arrive in Beijing for 20th
anniversary of prestigious UNEP Sasakawa Prize
7.2. OSCE Centre helps organize regional workshop on environmental
issues in Central Asia
7.3. Kazakhstan and China expand co-op in oil-gas field
7.4. International conference on nuclear problems held in Tashkent
7.5. Biodiversity for food security theme of World Food Day

8. New Publications
8.1. MDGs survey we the peoples report and survey

9. Calendar (International)
9.1. Third International Conference on Water Resources Management
9.2. Thematic call in the area of “Sustainable development, global
change and ecosystems”



Source: [email protected], October 11, 2004

The EBRD is currently preparing a new Energy Policy that will replace
two existing policies: the Natural resources Operations Policy of March
1999, and the Energy Operations Policy of May 2000.

The EBRD would like to hear from all interested parties. We are
expecting to receive comments on the existing policy documents before
the 15 December 2004. We will also be holding a series of consultations
at regional workshops in London, Moscow, and Sofia.

The workshops will offer the opportunity for the public to provide views
on the existing Energy Operations and the Natural Resources Operation
policies as well as the Project Evaluation Department Special Study
(Extractive Industry Review, 2004) and to discuss how the new Energy
policy would be applied to promote the transition in the Region. Among
the groups we hope to hear from are national governments, regional/local
governments, NGOs, academia, research institutions, donor agencies,
private citizens and private business, companies who are current or
potential partners in respect of EBRD-financed projects

We will plan to hold the workshops at the end of November and first half
of December. More details on the exact times and venues will be
published. We will organise the workshops and gather feedback with the
involvement of an independent Consultant.

It is expected that the Draft Energy Policy will be then available for a
45-day comment period in March 2005.


Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), October 2,

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, Ltd. “Roki” submitted EIA
report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
environmental permit for the activity of second category – Processing of
the Deposit along the River Khrami, Marneuli region, in order to Extract
Sand and Gavel.

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, Ltd. “Mshenebeli” submitted
EIA report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
environmental permit for the activity of second category – Processign of
the Inert Materials Deposit in Borjomi Region, along the Vashlovani
Settlement and Village Dvirti.

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, Ltd. “Ibolia” submitted EIA
report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
environmental permit for the activity of second category – Extracting
Sand and Gavel in Gori Region.

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, company “Vakhtangi” EIA
report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
environmental permit for the activity of second category – Basalt
Extracting Enterprise in Ninotsminda Region, Village Mamamtsvari.

EIA reports are available at the press-center of the Ministry of
Environment (68, Kostava Str., VI floor) and at the Department of
Environmental Permits and State Ecological Expertise (87, Paliashvili
Str., Tel: 25 02 19). Interested stakeholders can analyze the document
and present their comments and considerations until November 16, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on November 16, 2004 at 12:00, at the
conference hall of the Ministry of Environment.


The next deadline for receipt of applications is December 1.
Applications submitted by this date will be considered for two-year
fellowships that start the following September. The Earth Institute will
notify applicants of acceptance decisions in late January. Applications
must be completed on time and in their entirety to warrant consideration
by the selection committee.

The Earth Institute Post-Doctoral Fellows Program seeks outstanding
scholars with recent doctorates in the natural, social, engineering and
health sciences who possess a strong interest in sustainable
development. The Program provides innovative scholars with the
opportunity to build a deeper foundation in one of these core
disciplines while at the same time acquiring the cross-disciplinary
expertise and breadth needed to addresses critical issues related to
sustainable development, including reducing poverty, hunger, disease,
and environmental degradation. Fellows are appointed for two years.
Appointments begin September 1st. However, if individual circumstances
warrant, Fellows may begin their appointment as early as July 1st.
Fellows must receive their Ph.D. prior to beginning their appointment.

The More detailed information is available on the following address:


The Institute for Energy would like to express its wish to host young
NIS scientists within the framework of INTAS fellowships.

Christian Kirchsteiger is responsible here at the European Commission’s
Joint Research Centre in Petten/Netherlands for the probabilistic risk
and reliability assessment activities for energy systems (nuclear,

Please let Mr. Kirchsteiger know if are adequate candidates with strong
programming skills from the NIS with an interest to work on related
areas, such as:

o risk assessment, incl. comparative approaches,
o reliability availability modeling (nuclear, hydrogen, hydrodams),
o qualification of statistical information,
o statistical performance assessment for nuclear waste,
o risk informed decision making.

Dr. Christian Kirchsteiger
European Commission, DG-JRC
Institute for Energy
Probabilistic Risk Availability Assessment of Energy Systems
Westerduinweg 3 – 1755 LE Petten, The Netherlands
Tel.: +
Fax: +
E-mail: [email protected]

In addition to this information, Dr. Kirchsteiger has specified that

“The candidate would work as researcher in the Institute’s Probabilistic
Risk Assessment sector, being involved in development of new methods or
tools in the area. Special emphasis would be on skills in the area of
mathematical (probabilistic) modeling of energy systems and web-based
programming of information systems.”


Georgia, among the poorest countries of the EBRD’s 27 countries of
operations, has achieved notable progress since the elections of a new
president and government earlier this year, the Bank says in its new
strategy for the country.

The new authorities have addressed key problem areas, namely those
affecting Georgia’s investment climate, such as organized crime and
corruption, governance and structural issues in vital sectors such as
energy and the weak external position with high foreign debt. The
government’s commitment, willingness and ability to reform are crucial
to meet the significant challenges the country faces.

Georgia forms part of the EBRD’s “Early Transition Countries” (ETC)
initiative launched this year to stimulate market activity in the Bank’s
poorest countries of operations. The initiative aims to stimulate market
activity by using a streamlined approach to financing more and smaller
projects, mobilizing more investment, and encouraging economic reform.
The initiative is part of an international effort to address poverty in
these members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (the former
Soviet Union). The Bank will accept higher risk in the projects it
finances in the ETCs, while still respecting the principles of sound

The EBRD has defined the following priorities in its new strategy for

In infrastructure the focus will be on power and energy, regional
transport, water utilities and telecommunications. New investments would
be considered mainly on a non-sovereign basis – meaning without a
guarantee from the national government – and only if accompanied by
appropriate regulatory and institutional reforms.

The Bank will expand funding of local enterprises, including micro,
small and medium-sized enterprises and larger private enterprises,
directly and through local banks.

In the financial sector, the EBRD will support existing and new partner
banks using the full range of debt instruments and will seek suitable
equity investments.

The Bank will intensify its policy dialogue with the authorities in an
effort to improve the investment climate for local and foreign

As of mid-2004, the EBRD has signed 35 investment projects in Georgia in
the energy, transport, agribusiness, general industry and banking
sectors worth more than ˆ240 million.

Press contact:
Axel Reiserer, Tel: +44 20 7338 7753; E-mail: [email protected]


Source: The Messenger, October 1, 2004

BP, as operator of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil export pipeline and
South Caucasus (SCP) gas pipeline projects, is pleased to announce the
launch of the second stage of a USD $ 150, 000 School Project. This
project will benefit schoolchildren throughout the Eastern part of
Georgia by providing schoolbooks for all classes in the schools of
Tetritskaro, Gardabani and Marneuli districts as well as in the towns of
Rustavi and Tetritskaro that are located within the 4km corridor of the
pipeline route.

The School Project is another of BP’s development initiatives in the
education sector and aims to compliment the $ 5 million Community
Investment Program (CIP) and $3 million Improved School Projects (ISP)
already initiated and funded by BP and its partners.

The first phase of the School Project was successfully implemented in
late 2003 with the distribution of schoolbooks to students in Tsalka,
Borjomi, Akhaltsikhe and Adigeni.

On September 28, 2004 the second stage of the project began with the
distribution of schoolbooks in Rustavi schools.

Ed Johnson, General Manager of BP in Georgia met with the teachers’ and
children from two schools in Rustavi. He said, “At BP we are proud that
thanks to our extensive engagement with local communities, NGOs, local
governments and general public all our initiatives are directed to the
core needs of those affected by our activities. It is important for BP
to contribute to the development of Georgia’s future generation, and be
an active partner in the development of the country, through sustainable
educational initiatives such as this. We are happy we could play a
significant role in this respect.’

BP’s $5 million Community Investment Program (CIP) was launched in May
2003 and is aimed at benefiting the 72 communities along the pipeline
route. To date more than 50,000 people have benefited from CIP projects
in the areas of infrastructure rehabilitation, agricultural support,
income generation projects, access to energy and community capacity

The $3 million Improved Schools Project (ISP) was launched in August
2004 and will target 54 secondary schools in the towns of Gardabani,
Marneuli, Rustavi, Tsalka, Akhaltsikhe, Borjomi, Vale, benefiting over
28,000 students and 2,000 teachers, administrators and parents through
school infrastructure rehabilitation projects, the establishment of
Boards of Trustees and capacity building projects for teachers.


Source: Interfax, October 4, 2004

Residents of the Georgian town of Akhaltsikhe on Friday morning October
1, 2004 barricaded the roads leading to the town and prevented trucks
carrying cargo for the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil
pipeline from reaching the construction site. A regional official told
Interfax that “people have paralyzed the delivery of cargo for the
construction of the pipeline.”

Local residents say that heavy trucks have destroyed roads in the town
and demand that detours be built outside the town and new asphalt be
laid on streets damaged by the trucks.

Force will not be used against the picketers but suspending the
construction might have serious consequences for the country, the
official said.


Source: The Messenger, October 4, 2004

On October 1, 2004, the Tbilisi municipal government announced a new
grant competition for neighborhood groups hoping to inject some fresh
paint and cleanliness into dilapidated courtyards and entranceways.

Sponsored by the Tbilisi Service, the competition will award GEL 3,000
each of five “Tenant Partnerships.”

Organizers say the goal of project is to stimulate citizens to take care
of their living area, yards, squares and graders that form the image of
the city.

“The Tbilisi City Service was founded exactly with the intention of
supporting and improving cooperation between the city administration and
the public, to engage citizens in activities of local administrations”,
says the head of office Shalva Tskhakaia. Ultimately, he says, this will
“awake the soul of districts.”

The first steps made to improving residential neighborhoods include the
publication of a guide on establishing community partnerships and their
work, made by the Tbilisi City Service together with the German
Technical Cooperation organization, GTZ.

“The Georgian mentality needs changing towards strengthening the sense
of respect to one’s hometown,” adds Mr. Tskhakaia. “It is a complicated
process, but important and will last for the years.”

Initially the project “Tents Partnerships” aims to form groups in each
district, section of town or even single building. City officials say
this is a long-term project that will be financed by the municipal
budget. In addition, the City Service plans to utilize the new Tbilisi
Corps of volunteers as a manpower resource for the projects.

Mr. Tskhakaia says that Tbilisi Corps volunteers could partner with any
state structure or non-governmental organization to do anything from
tiding up neighborhood, delivering booklets, monitoring illegal
constructions to preparing community database.

Training of volunteers is already underway, being conducted by the local
head of the Urban Institute Lado Vardosanidze and financed by the GTZ

Law student and new volunteer David Kavtaradze say that the experience
is worth it. “Unpaid employment in a sector where I can get work
experience is acceptable for me – it is essential for my studies at
university.” He also admits “it would be better if in future there is

People interested in volunteering or applying to the grants program can
contact the Tbilisi City Service in city hall. Trainings are underway
and will continue throughout the fall.


Source: The Messenger, October 4, 2004

New agreement means Georgia “will be without problems” this winter

Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of RAO UES Anderei Rappoport and
Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania signed an agreement on Friday October 1,
2004 which is hoped will ensure the uninterrupted functioning of the
Georgian electricity system this fall and winter.

According to the agreement, the Georgian government commits to pay for
the received electricity on time and must also ensure that the Georgian
Energy Wholesale Market’s debt to the RAO UES-owned ninth and tenth
Gardabani power units does not exceed GEL 30 million.

For its part, RAO UES will provide an uninterrupted supply of
electricity from the ninth power unit from October 10 to March 31. It
must also settle the question of Telasi’s debt to the Energy Wholesale
Market Telasi, which distributes electricity to Tbilisi, is also owned

The Prime Minister said that as a result of the agreement, this winter
“will be without problems” as far as electricity supply is concerned,
saying that electricity form the repaid ninth unit would be supplemented
by imports provided from Russia. “We think that the technical side well
prepared,” Rappopport said with regard to both the 200mw ninth unit and
imports. He added that this is why the sides are currently more
concerned not about the prospects of future cooperation.

Rappaport’s words were in marked contrast to last month, when he told
Russian newspaper Gazeta: “I am not feeling very comfortable, so I am
not planning serious investment in Georgia. Our position is based on
business logic — if you want energy, pay for it, and if there is not
any money to pay, then good bye.”

On Friday, Rappaport explained that these remarks were provoked by the
actions of Georgian law enforcement bodies. “Law enforcers tried to
arrest our bank accounts. They had claims against Telasi, and we in turn
had claims against the budget organizations.”

Rappoport denied rumors that RAP UES buys energy in Abkhazia and then
sells it to Georgia. “This is an interesting idea,” he joked, “buying
cheap energy and then selling it at a more expensive price.” More
seriously Rappoport called this rumor “a monstrous accusation.”

“We only negotiate with Enguri hydroelectric station through the
Ministry of Energy.” Rappaport assured journalists.

Both Rappoport and Zhvania said political tension between Georgia and
Russia did not effect the negotiations. As Zurab Zhvania said, “all
decisions are far from the political background.”

RAO UES controls the energy distribution company Telasi that supplies
Tbilisi with electricity, as well as the ninth and tenth power units in
Gardabani. It also has the rights to manage the hydroelectric stations
Khrami-1 and Khrami-2. The company invested USD 5 million in the ninth
bloc and in the Telasi distribution system – more than USD 6 million
this year.

The company reports that it has managed to decrease the number of
accidents on electricity transmission lines by 60 percent.

Meanwhile RAO UES also reports the amount of payments from Telasi
consumers increased from 40 percent in summer 2003 to 80 percent this


Source: The Messenger, October 4, 2004

On Friday, October 1, 2004 the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund)
held a conference regarding its activities in Georgia, which was
attended by the UNFPA Country Director for Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan
Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen government officials and partner organizations.

UNFPA that has worked in Georgia since 1993, notes on its website that
it is the world’s largest international source of funding for population
and reproductively health programs.

The UNFPA Country Director for Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan
Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen confirmed the organization’s commitment to
continuing its programs in Georgia, and the introduction of a new
country program.

“UNFPA will continue to focus on improving access top and information
about reproductive health service in Georgia. Many high impact and low
cost activities are on going and we have excellent collaboration with
government, NGOs and donors. The new country program will support new
government priorities, “Albrectsen said.

UNFPA consultant in PR issues in Georgia Tea Skhiereli told The
Messenger that “the special country program has already been worked out
and it means that UNEPA will have a more long term strategy and larger
budget for projects which need to be implemented in Georgia.”

Mrs. Skhiereli said that the 5-year country program, which will offer
more effective assistance to the Georgian government, will start in
2006, while Albrectsen told journalists that they will need to give
increased attention to young people, male involvement and women’s

During her visit, Albrectsen met with Minister of Health Vladimer
Chipashvili, First Deputy Foreign Minister Nika Tabatadze and other
government officials, as well as representatives of donor organizations
and the United Nations.

“I had very good meetings. The Minister of Health is very aware of our
activities and he welcomes our ideas. He is very open to the kind of
work what we do. We had a similar response at the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs,” Albrectsen told The Messenger.

Indeed, Albrectsen stated the UN Population Fund has always experienced
good relations with government, as well as NGOs. “During the time I have
been in Georgia, I have looked at all the projects we were doing in the
past. I found that we have collaborated very well with all our partners,
NGOs, the government and with the general population,” she The

“We will continue the project we have now until 2005 and then the
program from 2006 to 2010 will hopefully be approved by the executive
board in New York next June. Once that is approved, we can really start
scaling up our activities. So we will be here for the long term,”
Albrectsen stated.

Director of Zhordania Research Institute Professor Archil Khomasuridze
is involved in the UNEPA program and said that approximately 27,000
socially vulnerable patients have been checked up. “The mobile groups
bring help to vulnerable regions. The main goal of this program is the
work of the mobile groups, education of the population, the treatment of
adults and coping with AIDS,” he stated in an interview with The

At the conference, Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen also presented UNEPA’s
annual report, which found that life expectancy in Georgia is 69.5 years
for men and 77.6 for women.

According the press release, the UN is committed to the Millennium
Development Goals, which aim to reduce extreme poverty and hunger,
maternal and child mortality and the spread of AIDA. This report is a
call to the government to invest in the education, health and human
rights of women and young people to ensure a more equitable and
sustainable world.


Source: The Messenger, October 8, 2004

BP as operator of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil export pipeline and
South Caucasus (SCP) gas pipeline projects is pleased to announce that
in September 2004 it has awarded a contract to the international NGO,
Save the Children, to implement the “Management of Small Grants Program
for NGO Capacity Building along the SCP and BTC Pipeline Routes”. This
is the third contract awarded in Georgia in the framework of the
Environmental Investment Program (EIP) for the BTC and SCP projects.

The principal objective of the EIP is the delivery of actions that are
of benefit in the promotion and conservation of biodiversity. The US$3
million EIP is divided into the number of themes, which were identified
through the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment studies and
through a transparent process of consultations with the national and
international stakeholders.

The overall goal of the project is to develop NGO’s capacities to engage
citizens in environmental awareness and education, and in social
development. To this end, the NGO sector will be strengthened in the
districts through which the BTC and SCP pipelines run. Six NGOs will be
selected and their capacity to function as long term Intermediary
Support Organizations will be built through Tailored Assistance
Packages, enabling them to provide training, information, facilities,
communications and office equipment, and any number of other services
that facilitate primary level NGOs to focus on their mandate of serving
people and the environment.

Through a locally based and transparent decision making process, another
26 NGOs will be grant aided to undertake projects addressing
environmental and /or social development needs. Such projects will have
to incorporate public education/awareness and participation components.
These 26 primary level NGOs will be supported throughout by the six
Intermediary Support Organizations. Extensive training to all will be
Save the Children and its partners.

Project activities commenced in September 2004 and will finish in
December 2006.

We believe that the Small Grants Program for NGOs Capacity Building
gives BP and the recipient NGOs a unique opportunity to develop the
skill base necessary to make a positive difference to the long-term
preservation of Georgia’s wildlife.


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 for the 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, BTC Co. 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, BTC Co. 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 committed 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: The Messenger, October 13, 2004

Ninotsminda, in 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 “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 blowout 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.


Source: Interfax, October 18, 2004

Germany’s Lanmeyer International is to start work by the end of October
to install a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system in
the dispatch department of the Georgian power system, a source in OOO
State Energy System of Georgia, which is managed by the Irish company
ESBI, said.

According to the source, at the first stage detailed information will be
gathered on operations at all installations in the Georgian power
system, after which the practical stage of the project will begin.

A SCADA control panel will be installed in the central dispatch
department, which will make it possible to control almost the entire
energy system in the country and ensure that it functions reliably.

A specific plan and schedule for work has already been hammered out with
representatives from the German company, the source said.


Source: The Messenger, October 18, 2004

Borjomi, Friday October 15, 2004 – BP as operator of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, is pleased to announce the
launch of a new project to improve sanitary and environmental conditions
for the citizens of Borjomi and Bakuriani. The project is funded by BTC
and is being implemented by GTZ IS – German Technical Cooperation
International Services – working closely with the local municipalities
in the two areas.

The goal of the program is to deliver rapid improvement to the local
environment in Borjomi and Bakurinai through a series of different
activities related to municipal waste management. These activities

o Closure, clean-up and restoration of illegal dumps;
o Upgrading of current landfills and their access roads;
o Providing new equipment for waste collection and landfill operation;
o Instruction and training for municipal personnel;
o Public awareness and education campaign on protecting the environment.

This is the first project to be implemented under BTC’s US $ 5 million
“Greater Borjomi Initiative” and a key pat of BTC’s longer term social
investment program for Georgia.

The details of the Greater Borjomi Initiative are still being designed,
but it is expected to focus on the three of environmental protection,
enterprise development and vocational training to support the
development of the Borjomi, Tsalka and Akhaltsikhe regions in coming

Ed Johnson, General Manager of BP Georgia said: “BP and BTC recognize
the importance of the Borjomi region to Georgia and we are pleased that
through our social investment programs we are able to demonstrate our
commitment to its people and their development. We believe that this
first step towards a long and fruitful between BP and the people of


Source: The Messenger, October 18, 2004

President Mikheil Saakasvili and the President of Azerbaijan Ilham
Aliyev participated in a ceremony to link the Azeri and Georgian
sections of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyahn (BTC) oil pipeline on Saturday,
October 16, 2004.

Both leaders talked about the high importance of the project for their
countries’ well being and thanked the United States and the United
Kingdom for cooperation. Also attending the ceremonial welding of pipes
was Steven Mann, senior advisor for Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy of
the U.S. State Department.

“Today is a historic day. The oil pipeline has united two brotherly
nations,” President Aliyev said as reported by wire services. He added
that he whole Caucasus region needs this pipeline. “It will bring great
financial wealth and help restore regional security”, Aliyev said.

In his speech Aliyev stressed that the 1,760 km BTC crude oil pipeline
project is good example of the regional cooperation. “The will and unity
of the Azerbaijani, Georgian and Turkish peoples have enabled us to
carry out this project, he said.

President Saakashvili in turn said that there were “certain forces that
tried to block this project, but failed”. Talking about the importance
of the project Saakashvili, however, said he has no “false illusions
that this one pipe will be able to solve all our problems, but this is a

The Georgian president was sure that the BTC oil pipeline that will
become operational by the end of 2005 and cost over USD 2.95 billion to
construct would be “another bridge of friendship” between Georgia,
Azerbaijan and Turkey.

According to the President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Natik
Aliyev, the BTC oil pipeline has “a huge importance for Azerbaijan and
Georgia form both political and economic aspects. Thanks to this
pipeline our countries can receive large revenue.”

Meanwhile environmental groups continue to protest that the pipeline
when put into operation may cause environmental, threats, especially to
the Georgia’s Borjomi Gorge. On Saturday, Saakashvili said the
government received the “additional guarantees” of the pipeline safety
in Borjomi region.

The construction of the 17.6 km Borjomi section of the BTC pipeline was
stopped in August after the Georgian government said it needed time to
review the security measures taken by BTC in the region. On August 6,
2004 the construction was resumed with both sides agreed on additional
safety measures.

On October 15, 2004 BTC and its leading owner BP announced a new USD 5
million “Greater Borjomi Initiative” to provide a cleaner local
environment by improving local municipal waste management.

Implemented by the German Technical Cooperation International Services
(GTZ), the initiative will include the closure, clean-up and restoration
of illegal landfills, providing new equipment for waste collection and
landfill operation, training for municipal personnel; and a public
awareness campaign.


Source :Interfax, October 25, 2004

Oil transportation through the Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan will not influence
the work of the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime
Minister Abbas Abbasov said at a press conference on Friday.

“We have an agreement from 1996 that sets down volumes and schedules for
oil supplies. The new pipeline will in no way affect the interests of
Russian-Azerbaijani relations. This oil will continue to travel along
the northern route, as it has done so,” Abbasov said, commenting on an
announcement by Transneft President Semyon Vainshtok.

Vainshtok told a news conference at Interfax on Tuesday that the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, when put into operation, would bring
oil deliveries via the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline to a halt.

Oil exports via the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline decreased sharply in the
fourth quarter of 2004, Vainshtok said. “We think the capacity of this
route will be brought to nothing when the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline starts
working,” he said.

“I don’t think Azerbaijan will fulfil the intergovernmental agreement,
so the pipeline will stand idle,” he said.

An international agreement between Russia and Azerbaijan calls for the
transportation of about 2.5 million tonnes of oil through the Baku-
Novorossiisk pipeline every year. Oil transportation through the Baku-
Novorossiisk route in January-September this year amounted to 1.85
million tonnes, down 3.3% year-on-year.

The launch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is expected in the first
half of 2005, and the first oil should be transported in the second half
of next year.

SOCAR currently exports oil through the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline, and
AIOC – via the Baku-Supsa route.


Tbilisi, October 15, 2004 BP, operators of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil
pipeline (BTC) and South Caucasus gas pipeline (SCP) is pleased to
announce the successfully completion of a human rights based training
program for representatives of the Special State Protection Service
(SSPS) who have responsibility for pipeline security in Georgia.

Funded by BTC and SCP the course has being delivered by the Geneva based
“not for profit” organization Equity International (EI) and during the
course participants have learned how to effectively integrate human
rights principles into policing practice, to fully understand the nature
of their legal authority and to understand the value of high quality
interpersonal skills.

The program aims to deliver sustainable results with a focus on training
people and building their capacities to effectively transfer human
rights knowledge and skills to others. Ed Johnson, General Manager for
BP Georgia said “national capacity building through “training the
trainers” is a key objective. When officers taking part in the course
return to their teams they will be able to share the skills learned and
promote ethical and lawful policing throughout their organizations, this
is something that everyone, BP included, will benefit from.”

Similar programs are being implemented with public security
organizations across the three BTC countries. Training began in April
2004 in Azerbaijan and is scheduled to commence during 4 Q 2004 in

Operator of both pipelines, BP, is one of the original signatures to the
Voluntary Principles on Security and Human rights developed in 2000 by a
group of governments, NGO’s and companies in the extractive industries.
A recommendation of the VP is hat companies should support efforts by
governments to provide human rights training and education for public

The Georgian government also supports the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. In signing the Security Protocol in July 2003 it reaffirmed its
commitment to the principles and obligations of the Declarations.

Equity International is a Geneva based not for profit organization
established in 1998 that promotes respect for human rights in law
enforcement through the provision of human rights based theoretical and
practical training and support to police and security forces. The design
of the program has been led by their Executive Director, Cees De Rover,
a former senior police official from the Netherlands with extensive
experience in the field of human rights based training.

For further information:
BTC project agreements and host government protocols related to security
and human rights are available in the documentation area on:

Fore more information on Equity International visit:


Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azertag,
September 24, 2004

Seminar related to the issues of technical support of commitments taken
by the countries of Caucasus and Moldova in the field of climate changes
was held at the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.

The representatives of several Ministries, state committee, NGOs,
National Academy of Sciences attended the work of the seminar.

The workshop was held in frame of the project “Mechanism of pure
development” implementing in accordance with the regulations of Kyoto
Protocol. Azerbaijan attends this project since 2004. Main goal of
2-year project is to promote in formation of the institutional
infrastructure for realization of numerous projects aimed at reduction
of level of hotbed gases in atmosphere, preparation of national program
in the field of climate changes and reduction of their impact on the
environment and human health.


Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azertag,
October 4, 2004

Bp Company implements project dealing with development of the public
health on the territories, where oil pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and
Southern Caucasus pipeline pass, AzerTAj correspondent learnt from the
Company’s press-service.

Total amount of health program carrying out jointly with the national
reproductive health department of the Ministry of Health and other
structures exceeds 4,26 thousand dollars.


Source: Caucasus Reporting Service, October 6, 2004

The room was already cold, so the draught that poured through the cracks
in the frame of the broad but rather murky windows only added to the
gloomy atmosphere inside. Its resident, Barbara Harrell-Bond, an
American writer and frequent visitor to Azerbaijan, is not impressed by
having to pay 80 US dollars a night for the privilege of staying in this
hotel in the centre of the capital Baku.

“I would like them to give me more comfort and more services for this
price,” she said, adding that the accommodation compared unfavorably
with that in neighboring Georgia, where she paid 50 dollars a day and
enjoyed a far higher quality stay.

Another American journalist, Harry Carpenter, eventually abandoned the
same establishment for a higher-priced privately run hotel in the city,
where he received much better service.

According to Azerbaijan’s ministry of youth, sport and tourism, the
country has 240 hotels of various types, 37 of which are in the capital
and provide accommodation for 5,320 guests, which is clearly inadequate
in a city of nearly three million people which is currently enjoying an
oil boom.

Economist Yelena Starostina told IWPR that heavy investment and
long-term planning would be needed for a tourist infrastructure to
develop. She said that Azerbaijan badly needs private hotels to develop
alongside and compete with the country’s 80 state or recently privatized

“The state has shown itself to be extremely ineffective in running this
sector,” Starostina said. “Of course the state budget receives some
income from the hotels, but only if they make an official profit. “The
profit was a little more than 200 million manats (around 40,000 dollars)
last year, but it could be much more if it was generated by private
hotels as well.”

Mamed Orujev, who runs a private summer hotel on the Caspian Sea, said,
“I have been working with guest houses for 20 years now and I could
easily open a small private hotel in the capital. But unfortunately we
are not used to this kind of thing in our country.”

Of the country’s privatized hotels, once run by the state, Orujev said,
“The overwhelming majority either practically don’t work or give very
poor service.”

But Ilgar Nuri, administrator of one such privatized hotel, rejects
these accusations. “Today we have normal hotels and visitors want to
stay in them, not in private establishments,” he said.

Some analysts suspect that the state-sponsored hotels are simply wary of
any competition that would offer guests better accommodation at lower
prices. At the moment, no state programmes exist to develop private
hotels, and it is very difficult for potential hotel owners to get
official registration.

However, the government has recently begun a drive to improve the
country’s hotels by introducing a certification programme.

Tourism industry spokesperson Abulfas Garayev said that the process
would be voluntary at first, and said that the certification commission
– which consists of both government and independent specialists – was
starting with the top echelon of hotels. Ten of them, including the
Hyatt Park and Crescent Beach, will be given a ranking in stars by the
end of the year.

Garayev said that if the commission identified problems with a hotel, it
would be allowed one month to correct them, before it was issued with
its star ranking.

Those hotels that did not come up to scratch will not be ignored,
Garayev warned. From 2006 on, measures will be taken against them to
force them to raise their standards, and information on those that do
not pass the certification procedure will be given to international
tourist firms.

In the meantime, the authorities say that they are determined to deal
with low-standard and potentially dangerous hotels.

Murad Husseinov, head of the fire department at the Azerbaijani interior
ministry, warned that most hotels are not properly equipped to deal with
fire and recommends that between three and five per cent of money spent
on hotel construction should go towards fire safety.

And health ministry spokesman Viktor Kasumov added that steps are being
taken to improve the low standard of sanitation in Azerbaijani hotels.
“This is unacceptable in a situation where there is a rise in the number
of infectious diseases here,” he said.


Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azertag,
October 6, 2004

The international exhibition of oil and gas KIOGE-2004 opened in Almaty,
on October 5, 2004.

400 companies from 30 world countries will attend the three-day
exhibition. Great Britain, Germany, Iran, Italy, Canada, China,
Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Norway and Kazakhstan present
their own stands.

Public corporation Azinmash, Eupec Pipe Coatings Azerbaijan and the
“Caspian Energy” magazine will represent Azerbaijan.


Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azertag,
October 25, 2004

Construction of the South Caucasus gas pipeline has been launched, BP
press service told AzerTAj.

Length of the pipeline totals 970 km, including in Azerbaijan section
443 km, in Georgia 250 km. Construction works will be completed in 2005.
And then, the Shah-Deniz prospect will be put in operation. On the
preliminary data, gas reserves here exceed one trillion cubic meters.
The South Caucasus gas pipeline is expected to transport over 20 billion
cubic meters gas annually.


WWF Caucasus facilitates Azerbaijan government support to environment
protection activities and establishes cooperation with civil society.

October 13, 2004, Baku Azerbaijan — The memorandum of Understanding
has been signed between Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources
Protection of Azerbaijan Mr. Gusain Bagirov and WWF (World Wide Fund for
Nature) Europe and Middle East Program Director Mr. Magnus Sylven.

The key objectives of the Memorandum is to elaborate mutual initiatives
in environment protection and natural resources sustainable use at
Azerbaijan territory, development of cooperation between the Ministry
and international environmental organizations.

The Memorandum of Understanding addresses the following directions:
biodiversity conservation, establishing and expansion of protected
territories, natural resources sustainable use, legislative, social and
economic sides of environmental activity, protection of flora and fauna,
combating against deforestation and desertification, climate change,
forest policy, restoration of forest areas, programs for international
environmental education and experience exchange.

The Memorandum of Understanding will be realized through implementation
of mutual programs and projects, organization of ecology trainings,
information exchange, conferences, seminars and exhibitions, publication
of articles and other agreed events.


Source: ARKA, September 29, 2004

The draft law on ecological expertise will be discussed in Armenia, as
ARKA was told in Transparency International, the Armenian branch of the
regional center of development. The draft law as well as Transparency
International develops the draft of the sub-law act in the frames of the
program “legislation perfection in the area of the evaluation of an
impact on the environment”, sponsored by GB Government. RA Ministry of
Environmental Protection together with some Ministries and NGOs
participated in the development of the draft laws.


Source: ArmenPress, October 14, 2004

On October 15, 2004 the Minister of nature protection of Armenian, the
governor of Gegharkunik province and the UNDP Resident Representative in
Armenia signed a memorandum for rehabilitation of Lake Gili. The
rehabilitation project, worth $1 million, is to be implemented by UNDP
and Global Ecological Fund (GEF).

The main objective of the project is protection of rare and endemic
biodiversity already present in Lake Gili as part of the Lake Sevan
basin, and the provision of a first-best habitat for threatened wetland
biodiversity in Armenia (currently found in second-best habitats).

Nature protection minister Vartan Aivazian said some 560 hectares of
land belonging to residents of a nearby village of Norakert will be
covered by water. He said the residents will get new land plots from
state-owned reserve fund.

UDDP Resident Representative Lise Grande said the UNDO and GEF would
help the Norakert community to avoid the negative consequences of the
project by assisting it to solve its social issues and improve water


YEREVAN, 19 October 2004 – An international workshop on environmental
risks and security in earthquake prone areas, organized by the OSCE
Office in Yerevan and the Public Environmental Information Centre
(Aarhus Centre), started yesterday in the Armenian capital.
More than 250 participants from 52 countries took part in the four-day
event, which was part of preparations for the World Conference on
Disaster Reduction to be held in Kobe, Japan, early next year.

The workshop also included a special session on public awareness,
education and training on social consequences of earthquakes, which was
conducted jointly by the OSCE Office and the Aarhus Centre as a
follow-up activity to the Environment and Security Initiative by the
OSCE, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN
Development Programme (UNDP).

“The OSCE Office considers raising the public awareness and information
sharing about possible disasters and risks to be part of good governance
principles,” said Ambassador Vladimir Pryakhin, Head of the OSCE Office
in Yerevan.

“This can serve as a decisive link in the chain of a wide range of
measures for risk reduction and protecting the lives of human beings.”

“The issue of public awareness on seismic hazard and risk has a vital
political, social and economic importance as it is closely linked with
the provision of national security to the country and the region,” he

Ambassador Pryakhin also commemorated the victims of the devastating
earthquake in Spitak, Armenia, 15 years ago, expressing his deepest
sympathy and respect to the Armenian people.

For further information, please contact:
Jeannette Kloetzer
Economic and Environmental Officer
89 Teryan Street, 375009, Yerevan, Armenia
Tel.: +374-1-541063
Fax: +374-1-541061
E-mail: [email protected]


Source: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, October 22, 2004

Kima Hayrapetian proudly shows visitors the fruits of her decade-long
work at an orchard just outside the center of Yerevan. Once a barren
patch neglected by Soviet Armenian authorities, it is now densely
covered with vineyards and trees thanks to this elderly woman and her
husband Vazgen. The grapes, apples, apricots and other fruit grown here
and sold in the market have helped the couple as well as their five
children and 11 grandchildren survive Armenia’s painful transition to
the market economy.

“We will spill blood to hold on to our land,” Hayrapetian says of the
3,500 square-meter plot. “We’ve put so much effort into it. Look at
these trees: we’ve nurtured them for 12 years.”

The Hayrapetians have reason to be worried about losing their small
share of the Dalma Gardens, the city’s last untouched green area. They
are among some 1,800 low-income families that have leased the land since
the early 1990s but are now facing eviction due to the Armenian
government’s decision last March to give it to real estate developers
and the Hayantar state forestry agency. The tenants, enraged by the
move, have staged a series of protests outside the main government
building in Yerevan in recent months.

“We are going to fight to the end. They risk provoking a civil war,”
says Aramayis Papian whose extended family also lives off proceeds from
the sale of the fruit grown there.

Environment protection groups and prominent public figures have rallied
around in support of the fruit-growers. They warn the authorities
against not only depriving thousands of people of their main source of
income but also inflicting further damage on the Armenian capital’s
dangerously shrinking green belt.

The outcry has forced the government to make concessions. Officials said
on Thursday that 580 families cultivating nearly half of the 530
hectares (1,325 acres) occupied by the Dalma Gardens would be allowed to
continue to do so for ten more years. But that means the vast majority
of the tenants will still have to vacate the remaining 280 hectares of
the property.

It has already been sold to private firms and wealthy individuals at a
still unknown price. The government has held no auctions for the
extremely lucrative land, suggesting that government connections were
instrumental in the choice of the buyers.

According to government documents publicized in the Armenian press, one
of the biggest beneficiaries of the land allocation is Armenian-American
businessman Vahakn Hovnanian who plans to build a golf course and a
“diplomatic club” in the southern section of the orchards.

Foreign diplomats, presumably the main clientele of the future golf
course, will also be offered accommodation in a nearby “diplomatic town”
to be built by Renco Construzione, an Italian firm and another land
buyer. The residential complex could pale in comparison with locally
owned plush villas that are certain to spring up in place of the trees
and vineyards.

The Dalma Gardens were set up in the late 19th century and supplied
grapes to a nearby brandy factory before falling into disuse during the
late Soviet era. The post-Soviet lease arrangement breathed a new life
into the land, with the new private users planting thousands of new
trees. The planned break-up of the Dalma Gardens would accelerate the
ongoing shrinkage of Yerevan’s green areas that environmentalists say is
already increasing air pollution and reducing oxygen supply to its one
million residents.

“If things go on like this, Yerevan will turn into a desert” says Nazeli
Vartanian, an environmental activist and lawyer.

Much of the damage has been caused by a relentless construction of cafes
and restaurants inside the main public parks that began in the late
1990s. The Armenian Social-Ecological Association, a non-governmental
organization, estimated earlier this year that the café boom has
destroyed more than 700 hectares of public parks — twice the size of
the green areas lost during the severe energy crisis of the early 1990s
when many residents had to cut trees to heat their homes.

Evidence of the huge damage is visible in downtown Yerevan. At its
sprawling Circle Park, for example, there is hardly any space not
occupied by an entertainment site. The owners of such businesses are
mostly senior government, law-enforcement and military officials or
their cronies. Even Environment Minister Vartan Ayvazian has a cafe

Another famous park around the city’s imposing Opera House has thinned
even more dramatically in the last few years to make room for cafes,
restaurants and a two-story nightclub. Its owners are reportedly linked
to even more powerful individuals: Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian,
National Security Service chief Karlos Petrosian and leaders of the
governing Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun).

“If you want to write a textbook on corruption in Armenia it will
suffice to examine the Opera Park. You will find all possible
manifestations of corruption there,” says Edik Baghdasarian, an
investigative reporter whose Hetq.am online publication has extensively
covered the problem.

The cafe boom and dubious land allocations that accompanied it reached
their climax under Yerevan’s former government-appointed Mayor Robert
Nazarian. Speaking at a news conference shortly after his dismissal last
year, Nazarian admitted that almost all downtown café owners grabbed
more land than was allocated to them and built premises illegally. He
indicated that he could not stop them doing that because of orders from

Nazarian appeared to point the finger at President Robert Kocharian’s
staff. Many decisions on the municipal land are believed to follow
specific instructions from presidential aides, notably the most
influential of them, Armen Gevorgian. The Kocharian family itself is
rumored to be behind the ongoing construction of a luxury hotel inside
the Victory Park surrounding a memorial to the Armenian victims of the
World War Two.

Baghdasarian, who was appointed to an anti-corruption government
commission recently, views the issue as a litmus test for the
seriousness of the Armenian authorities’ declared fight against
corruption. A test that he believes they are failing. Earlier this
month, Baghdasarian attempted unsuccessfully to have the commission
investigate the allocation of several thousand square meters of land
near the city’s 1915 Genocide Memorial to an obscure non-governmental
“anti-terrorist center.”

The destruction of the Yerevan parks is symptomatic of a broader
deforestation of Armenia that has been going on for more than a decade.
Only 11 percent of the tiny country’s mountainous territory was covered
with forests in 1991. That proportion has since fallen to below 8
percent, mainly due to massive commercial logging banned in Soviet
times. It is greatly facilitated by lax government controls and

Jeffrey Tufenkian, who runs a reforestation project funded by the
U.S.-Armenian Tufenkian Foundation, warns that if the current trends
continue Armenia could be left without any forests by 2024. “There has
been a tremendous deforestation and unfortunately it continues to this
day,” he says. “There are thousands of hectares worth of trees being cut
per year and only a few hundred being planted.”

“The biggest cutting is happening by organized illegal business
operations,” he adds, calling for a complete ban on the growing exports
of wood from Armenia.

Martun Matevosian, the recently appointed head of Hayantar, the
government’s forest protection department, is also in favor of the ban.
But remains to be seen whether he can ensure a corresponding decision by
the government.

Another Diaspora organization, the Armenian Assembly of America, has for
years been sponsoring a similar tree project. Incidentally, the
Assembly’s board of trustees is headed by Hirair Hovnanian, Vahakn’s

Tufenkian believes that the Diaspora is unlikely make a difference
without pressing the Armenian government to address the problem in
earnest. “I would love to see much more emphasis on stopping the illegal
cutting come from the Diaspora. That’s even more important than planting
trees,” he says.

Meanwhile, the mood in the Dalma Gardens remains defiant. Vanush
Sargsian, 72, speaks for many of the fellow farmers when he says, “We
will not leave this land. We are staying here day and night. We won’t
give up easily after so much hard work.”


First workshop on Strategic Environmental Assessment took place in
Tbilisi on September 29-30, 2004. Representatives of UNDP and REC for
Central and Eastern Europe presented their vision on SEA, UN/ECE SEA
protocol, its implementation in South Caucasus countries. Leading
specialists of the Ministry of Environment of Georgia made a national
overview on problems, gaps, needs and challenges related to the
environmental assessment in Georgia. Representative of the Caucasus
Environmental NGO Network (CENN) presented results of CENN regional
project on effectiveness of EIA system in South Caucasus countries and
also informed attendants about new projects of CENN in environmental
assessment field, namely two new projects:

In December 2004, CENN starts a new project: “Strengthening of
Environmental Assessment (EIA/SEA) System in the South Caucasus

The objectives of the project are:

o Improvement of EA legislation in Georgia – Elaboration of Law on EA
(incorporating provisions both on EIA and SEA) for Georgia;
o Increase of public environmental awareness through nation and region
wide campaign in the South Caucasus region to stimulate active public
participation in environmental decision-making;
o Establishment of Public EA library in Georgia;
o Organization of public oversight of EA activities in the South
Caucasus countries.

In November 2004, CENN plans to start a new Project on: Improvement of
EIA Practice in Georgia through Development of EA Implementation Tools.
The Project aims at improvement of EA practice in Georgia through
development of EIA implementation tools – sector guidelines that will
significantly promote effective application of the EIA related legal

Ecoline EIA Centre, Moscow presented suggested principles for quality
control of SEA within environmental review.

Pilot SEA project was chosen as the capacity building tool for SEA
protocol implementation in Georgia (Port Development Concept).

The Seminar was organized by the UNDP Georgia country office and the
Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe.

Prepared by CENN
Katya Nakashidze


On September 4-5, 2004 Burg-YEC NGO and “Land and Culture” Charitable
NGO organized a youth tour to Lori region entitled “Faith and Heritage”.
The tour was dedicated to the memory of Archbishop Mesrop Ashchyan.

The main aim of the tour was to introduce the participants, mainly young
people, to some of the treasures of the Armenian cultural heritage –
unique architectural monuments of Karasnits Mankants and Bardzrakash St.
Grigor’s Churches in Dsegh, the Church of Odzun, Monasteries of Haghpat
and Sanahin, St. Astvatsatsin church and Aghtala Castle.

These historical-architectural monuments dating back to the VI-XIII
centuries embody the spiritual strength and courage of their builders
that created the amazingly beautiful churches and monasteries with
subtle architecture and design on top of the high mountains of Lori. The
trip was an excellent opportunity for the participants to get to know
the treasures of the Armenian Middle Age architecture better. At the
same time the impressiveness of the mountainous landscape and the
churches so harmoniously enhancing the beauty of the scene aroused in
the souls of the participants appreciation of Armenia’s unique cultural
and spiritual heritage crystallized in the form of natural and man-made

Originally, the organizers of the trip were planning to clean up the
territory of the churches and monasteries they visit. However, the
participants were pleasantly surprised to see the cleanliness of the
monasteries and the adjacent territories. Apparently, this is evidence
of increased awareness of the necessity to take care and preserve the
cultural monuments of such great cultural and historical value both
among the local population and the tourists visiting the sites.

The trip left colorful memories in the hearts of the participants that
will no doubt inspire them to take care and protect the nature and the
historical-cultural monuments of Armenia and do their best to contribute
to the preservation of our cultural heritage. This was the main aim of
the trip – bring the participants closer to our culture and nature by
introducing them to some of the treasures of Armenian architecture and
the picturesque landscape of the Armenian North. And that aim was
unquestionably accomplished since the young people were heading back to
Yerevan spiritually enriched and with an enhanced appreciation of faith
and heritage.

By Gayane Tonoyan

For more information please contact us by e-mail [email protected] or
[email protected] or visit our web-site

For photos please visit (this web site is in
Armenian), “Faith and Heritage, Lori, September 2004” gallery.


Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azertag,
October 23, 2004

This year, 22 non-governmental organizations have been founded in
Azerbaijan. And all of them have been admitted to the membership of the
World Non-Governmental Organizations Associations (WNOA) acting under
the United Nations.

Cooperation with this international organization allows the local NGOs
to disseminate the truth and realities on Azerbaijan throughout the
world, familiarize other peoples with rich Azerbaijan culture, latest
accomplishments of the Republic, as well as benefit of the world
experience in solution of the global and national problems, national
coordinator of this Organization, professor Fuad Mammadov said.


Source: ENWL-eng, September 30, 2004

Nairobi, Bangkok, Beijing September 24, 2004 — A dozen laureates of one
of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards the United Nations
Environment Programme Sasakawa Prize will share their fears and hopes
for our environmental future in Beijing on 27 and 28 September.

Professor Mario Molina of the USA, who won a Nobel Prize for solving the
riddle of the Antarctic ozone hole, alternative technology guru and
peoples advocate Dr. Ashok Khosla of India and Australian Mr. Ian
Kiernan whose vision is no less than Cleaning Up The World, will trade
insights with the legal architects of many of the world’s multilateral
environmental agreements, Dr. Wolfgang Burhenne of Austria and Dr.
Francoise Burhenne-Guilmin of Belgium, campaigner against the illegal
trafficking of wildlife Mr. Dener Giovannini of Brazil, and China’s own
tireless champion of the environment Minister of the State Environment
Protection Administration (SEPA), Mr. Xie Zhenhua.

American Mr. Huey Johnson, founder of the Resource Renewal Institute and
a passionate advocate of natural resource management, the pioneers of
nature conservation in the Middle East, the Royal Commission for Jubail
and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia, China’s exemplary environmental administrator
Professor Qu Geping, and US broadcaster Ms. Barbara Pyle, who set new
benchmarks for environmental reporting with CNN, will also stimulate the

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said, “Through the generous
support of the Nippon Foundation, UNEP has been able to celebrate and
reward outstanding environmental service for two decades. That
collective wisdom will now be applied to the most pressing contemporary
concerns. I expect significant new insights into our environmental
future to emerge from the exchange between laureates.”

The two-day ‘brain storming’ meeting will be structured around panel
discussions on the themes of water, land, air and energy. It will mark
the 20th anniversary of the awarding of the annual Sasakawa Prize and is
being sponsored by the Nippon Foundation of Japan, in association with
the China Association for International Friendly Contact, and hosted by

The Vice-Premier of China, Mr. Zeng Peiyan, the former Prime Minister of
Japan, Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto and the President of the Nippon Foundation,
Mr. Yohei Sasakawa are expected attend the opening ceremony of the forum
at the historic Daio Yu Tai State Guest House in Beijing along with 300
invited Chinese and foreign dignitaries and guests.

The laureates will then meet in thematic groups at the Beijing
Friendship Hotel on 27 September and take part in plenary discussions on
28 September.

A press conference with Mr Toepfer and Sasakawa laureates to discuss the
outcomes of the discussions will be held at 11:30-12:30 on 28 September
in the Friendship Palace, Beijing Friendship Hotel.

For more information:

Journalists are invited to attend a press conference at 11:30-12:30 on
28 September in the Friendship Palace, Beijing Friendship Hotel. To
arrange attendance at the discussion sessions or to request interviews
with UNEP staff or Sasakawa laureates contact Tim Higham, UNEP Regional
Information Officer, in Beijing on mobile no 13651044924.

Background on the Sasakawa prize and all the laureates is available

Or contact Eric Falt, Spokesperson/Director of UNEP’s Division of
Communications and Public Information
Tel: 254 20 62 3292
Mobile: 254 (0) 733 682 656
E-mail: [email protected]

Tim Higham, Regional Information Officer
UNEP, Bangkok
Tel +66 2 288 2127
Mobile +66 9 1283803
E-mail [email protected].


ISSYK-KUL, KYRGYZSTAN, 5 October 2004 – Representatives of Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are gathering in Issyk-Kul for a
workshop from 5 to 7 October to discuss ways of dealing with
environmental issues in the region.

Members of non-governmental organizations and international
organizations to review national environmental impact assessment
systems, as well as develop a pilot project on national and regional
implementation mechanisms, including action plans for the Convention of
Central Asian States, will join them.

“The environment is a necessary precondition of human life,” said Kanat
Januzakov, Deputy Ecology Minister of Kyrgyzstan. “This meeting,
initiated by Kyrgyzstan, reviews obligations within the global
environmental context”.

Participants agreed that since the environment did not have borders,
what went on in one country should not be neglected by others.

Environmental impact assessment procedures on the national levels are
distinctly stipulated in the legislation of the Central Asian countries.
However, environmental impact assessment procedures in a transboundary
context, combining international requirements and national legislative
provisions, have not been fully developed.

“Today’s conference is an important mechanism for the development of
better co-operation between countries in the region with respect to
environmental security,” said Ambassador Markus Muller, Head of the OSCE
Centre in Bishkek.

Wiek Schrage, Secretary of the Convention on Environmental Impact
Assessment in a Transboundary Context, said “The workshop comes at
precisely the right moment. The guidelines, which will be developed
here, could help Central Asian countries to apply provisions of the
Convention for the benefit of the region”.

The OSCE Centre in Bishkek together with the Ministry of Environment and
Emergency Situations of Kyrgyzstan, the Swiss Government, Central Asia
Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and the United Nations Economic
Commission has organized the workshop for Europe (UNECE).

For further information, please contact:

Marina Dmitrieva
National Public Relations and Media Officer
OSCE Centre in Bishkek
139 St. Toktogula720001, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Tel.: +996 312 66 50 15, +996 312 66 41 26
Fax: +996 312 66 31 69
E-mail: [email protected]


Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azertag,
October 5, 2004

President of Kazkahstan Nursultan Nazarbayev received head of Chinese
National oil-gas company Chen Tsen, AzerTAj correspondent reports. The
sides discussed prospects of cooperation, construction of oil pipeline

Length of new oil pipeline is approximately 1000 km, which lies from
Karaganda area to the northwest of Chinese borders. Cost of the project
is over 700 mln dollars.


Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azertag,
October 15, 2004

The International conference on the topic Nuclear Sciences & Practical
Aspects was held in Tashkent, AzerTAj correspondent reports from Uzbek
capital. Scientists from 15 countries including Ukraine, Russia, USA,
Germany, France attended the arrangement.

Azerbaijan was represented at the event by Director of the Institute for
Radiation Problems, the county’s representative in the CIS Member States
Commission for Utilization of Nuclear Energy, Prof. Adil Garibov. His
report on the theme Nuclear Reactor Security Problem aroused interest
among the conference participants, who chose Baku to host the next one
in 2006


Source: Environment News Service, October 15, 2004

Biological diversity is one of the keys to ending world hunger, Dr.
Jacques Diouf, director-general of the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today. “But we are also raising an
alarm,” he warned. “FAO estimates that about three-quarters of the
genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost over the last
century. Just 12 crops and 14 animal species now provide most of the
world’s food.”

Dr. Diouf was speaking at a ceremony marking World Food Day 2004, which
falls on the anniversary of the foundation of the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization on October 16, 1945 and is observed in Rome and
in some 150 countries around the world. This year’s World Food Day theme
is Biodiversity for Food Security.

“Our planet abounds with life and it is this great diversity that holds
one of the keys to ending hunger,” Dr. Diouf told officials and
representatives from FAO member states, international organizations,
other UN agencies, nongovernmental organizations, civil society and
farmers’ groups.

He emphasized the need to maintain biodiversity in nature and on farms
to ensure to all people a sustainable access to enough diversified and
nutritious food.

Hungary is among the countries that welcomed and ratified the FAO
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and
Agriculture, and ME0dl encouraged the world’s growers to consider it as
“a leading place in Central Europe to breed traditional and new plant

The FAO treaty, which entered into force this year, guarantees that
farmers and breeders have access to genetic materials they need and it
also ensures that farmers receive a fair and equitable share of the
benefits derived from their work.

Rather than a single crop variety that guarantees a high yield, farmers
in developing countries are more likely to need an assortment of crops
that grow well in harsh climates or animals with resistance to disease,
the FAO says. For the poorest farmers, the diversity of life may be
their best protection against starvation.

Consumers also benefit from diversity through a wide choice of plants
and animals. This contributes to a nutritious diet, particularly
important for rural communities with limited access to markets.

At today’s ceremony a message on the importance of biodiversity from
Pope John Paul II was read by Monsignor Renato Volante, Permanent
Observer of the Holy See to FAO. The Pope stated that the World Food Day
observances contribute to liberate humanity from the scourge of hunger
and malnutrition.

More than 40 percent of the land’s surface is used for agriculture,
placing a large responsibility on farmers to protect biodiversity. By
using appropriate techniques like no-tillage agriculture, reduced use of
pesticide, organic agriculture and crop rotation, farmers maintain the
fragile balance with the surrounding ecosystems.

For the first time on World Food Day at FAO headquarters, farmers from
different parts of the world had a chance to speak about their
experience in enhancing biodiversity and increasing food production in a
sustainable way.

Elsewhere, World Food Day is being celebrated to raise awareness of the
fact that more than 840 million people remain hungry around the world
and still more suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. In the United
States, sponsored by the U.S. National Committee for World Food Day,
hundreds of WFD teleconference sites were set up at colleges and at U.S.
Embassies across the world. Some colleges organized a weeklong

In Sweden, substantive seminars for parliamentarians, the media and the
scientific community were organized. A conference on the importance of
biodiversity took place in Stockholm and a scientific seminar on
biological diversity was organized today at the University of
Agriculture, in Uppsala.

In India, essay competitions were organized in schools in Delhi. In
several European and Middle Eastern capitals, schoolchildren competed in
drawing contests on biodiversity and food security.

For questions or suggestions, contact:
[email protected]/group/envecolnews/
For questions or suggestions, contact: [email protected]


Dear Colleagues,

We the peoples… 2004 was successfully launched on September 8, 2004 at
the NGO conference of the UN Department of Public Information, with 2600
people from 90 countries in attendance. We offer heartfelt thanks to
each of you who participated in our 2004 survey. Your views and
insightful comments on civil society’s engagement with the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) helped to build this report.

We are equally grateful to all the civil society networks that helped us
distribute the information about our survey. We could not have done it
without you.

We are also writing to inform civil society organizations around the
world of a major new survey, in which you can participate in the coming
weeks. This survey will be the springboard to a significant report to be
launched in March 2005. We the peoples…2005 will take a deeper look at
the state of progress in each of the MDGs, including the key Goal 8 and
the role of affluent nations.

We hope very much that you will take part in this survey, and add your
organization’s voice to the growing body of civil society opinion on the
MDGs. We would be grateful if you could also pass on this information to
all your network members, partner organizations and all groups
interested in sharing their views. We will solicit not only your
analysis and policy insights, but also your recommendations for the

We invite you to read We the peoples…2004. It is available in English on
the web-site of The North-South Institute at
and the World Federation of
United Nations Associations (WFUNA) at . Please send us
your suggestions and comments regarding the report at [email protected].
Versions in Arabic, French and Spanish will be posted later this month.

WFUNA and The North-South Institute have also set up an online forum for
discussion on the MDGs, where all civil society organizations can put
forward their thoughts and suggestions. To get involved, simply go to
, and click on
“polls”. We hope you will participate in this discussion.

Thank you again for your time and your input. Check out the report on
the web sites, and watch out for another e-mail soon about the next
survey. We look forward to continued collaboration.

John W. Foster
Principal Researcher
The North-South Institute

Pera Wells
Deputy Secretary-General


11 – 13 April 2005
Algarve, Portugal

The third International conference on Water Resources Management will
present the more recent technological and scientific developments
associated with the management of surface and sub-surface water

The importance of this meeting cannot be over emphasized, as water
increasingly becomes a precious resource on which the well being of
future generations depends. Issues of water quality, quantity,
management and planning, as well as other related topics, are essential
to the future of the world population.

Water related conferences organized by the Wessex Institute of
Technology have been successfully held throughout the world over the
last 25 years, as a result of the willingness of colleagues within the
international community to participate in the transfer of knowledge
during these meetings. Water Resources Management is one of the most
important conferences in the series.

The meeting aims to bring together engineers, scientists and other
professionals from many different countries, involved in research and
development activities in a wide range of water resources and management

1) Sustainable Energy Systems, ii) Research activities having an impact
in the medium and longer term’

Closing Date(s): 8 December 2004 at 17.00 (Brussels local time)

For the more detailed information please visit:


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CENN, on behalf of the Caucasus Environmental NGOs, would like to
express gratitude to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
(SDC) for provision of financial support for regional environmental
networking program.

For more information about the program, please visit CENN web-page:


Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)

E-mail: [email protected]

************************************************** *************************

Editorial policy: CENN both solicits and accepts submissions for
environmental information to the Caucasus Environmental News Bulletin.
Although, CENN retains the right to edit all materials both for content
and length. The information provided for the Bulletin does not
necessarily represent the opinion of CENN and SDC.


From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress