CENN: 74 Issue of the CENN Electronic Bulletin – 11/2004

Caucasus Environmental NGO Network

74 Electronic Bulletin:
Caucasus Environmental News

Dear Colleagues! Dear Reader (DR)!

Welcome to the Novembre issue of the Caucasus Environmental News electronic
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 answer.

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 constitutes
of 7709!
Thanks for your interest in CENN!


1. Announcements
1.1. BTC monitoring report
1.2. EIA Report on “Development of the Sand Gravel Deposit in Khobi Region,
Village Bia” Submitted by “Black Sea Terminal” Ltd.
1.3. EIA Report Submitted to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia
concrete Plant in Isan-Samgori, Tbilisi” by the “Viragi” Ltd.
1.4. EIA Reports Submitted to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia

2. Job, Internship and Study Opportunities
2.1. Masters’s program on sustainable development at the university of
Utrecht IN the
2.2. IREX to administer the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program for
graduate students and professionals from Eurasia

3. News from Georgia
3.1. Georgian rivers: poaching makes casting the line a waste of time
3.2. First South Caucasus Media Conference opens
3.3. Environmental, socio-economic issues threaten Caucasus
3.4. BP demands more attention from the new government
3.5. Security and stability in the Black Sea region
3.6. The man behind the oil
3.7. BTC/SCP and “Mercy Corps” have brought the villages back to life
3.8. Keeping Tbilisi clean
3.9. Minister of energy thinks Shah-Deniz natural gas not enough
3.10. Greens demand restoration of ecological taxes
3.11. Ministers dismiss claims that Telasi’s import agreement corrupt
3.12. Cracked joints found in BP’s Georgia pipeline
3.13. Rustavi secondary school is actively involved in implementation of BP
3.14. Government faces legal action over new BP pipeline
3.15. Pipeline defects evidence
3.16. High stakes keeping pressure on pipeline
3.17. New program to raise environmental awareness
3.18. Adjara Sells tourism in off season
3.19. Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline carries on despite bad press
3.20. Georgian prime minister downplays report that pipeline construction
3.21. Khadori power plant opened
3.22. Government admits failing BP pipeline was experimental engineering

4. News from Azerbaijan
4.1. CASPCOM commences ninth session
4.2. BP advisory council members in Baku
4.3. WB implements project on reconstruction of water supply of Baku
4.4. Lukoil probes Azeri Caspian
4.5. EBRD, SOCAR agree Shah-Deniz credit terms
4.6. Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan construction could end in mid-May 2005
4.7. SOCAR exports over 6m barrels of oil via Baku-Supsa
4.8. Energy ministers of Caspian/Black Sea region discuss cooperation with
4.9. Azeri-Turkish pipeline costs to exceed project budget, oil boss says

5. News from Armenia
5.1. There are some 8-12 Caucasian leopards in Armenia Data of zoologists
5.2. Personal business poisoning the society
5.3. Those having dollars can cut trees
5.4. FAO proves Are mania with $400,000 for mountainous districts
5.5. Yerevan’s municipality seriously deal with reservoirs pollution problem
5.6. Mckinsey & Co unveils findings of a research on Armenian tourism
5.7. A toxic tannery in Garni
5.8. Japanese investors interested in Yerevan’s landfill
5.9. Experts fear Armenian Chernobyl
5.10. ATP participates in international forum on farming and agribusiness in
5.11. The naive vulture – a captive in Lori

6. Legal News
6.1. The United Nations Secretary-General issued a statement on the Kyoto
6.2. The environmental issues affecting the Armenian capital Yerevan
6.3. Environmental law: a guide to drafting sustainable soils legislation

7. NGO News
7.1. Workshop: “Protecting biosafety in Georgia”
7.2. New programme launch Save the Children assists NGOs along the SCP and
pipeline routes in Georgia
7.3. NGOs 2004 conference and exhibition
7.4. Environmental NGOs attack the EU on public participation in decisions
on GMOs

8. International News
8.1. Russian vote saves Kyoto Protocol
8.2. Uranium find in Russian dump
8.3. Two training seminars for Kazakh judges and prosecutors on national and
international legal instruments for environmental issues
8.4. A sizzling topic: energy and environment media brief now available
8.5. First international conference on radioactive waste in Tajikistan opens
8.6. The World Conservation Union to release the most comprehensive
ever undertaken of the world’s biodiversity
8.7. EBRD report finds former soviet oil economies booming
8.8. European Commission and the countries of the Caspian and Black Sea
agree to open new co-operation aimed at the progressive integration of their
energy and transport markets
8.9. BTC construction activities underway in Turkey
8.10. Genetically modified poppies could produce anti-cancer drugs
8.11. An incinerator exploded last Thursday in the city of Campana, Buenos

9. New Publications
9.1. Welcome to “Vital Waste Graphics”

10. Calendar (International)
10.1. Open science conference: Global Change in Mountain Regions
10.2. High level meeting of environment and education ministries on
education for
sustainable development



Dear All,

The BTC Monitoring report prepared by Society for Democratic Reforms (DIUC)
from 1 August
to 1 November 2004 is available on the following address:

Monitoring report_common_Eng.rar.

I will be happy to hear your comments on itƀ

Sincerely Yours,

Razi Nurullayev
Project director and Co-chair
Society for Democratic Reforms (SDR)
Demokratik Islahatlar Ugrunda Cemiyyet (DIUC)

Address: AZ 1117, house 11/103, kvartal 5057-68,
Bilajari Settlement, Baku, Azerbaijan
Tel/fax: (+994 12) 436 18 40
Mobile: (+994 50) 323 70 24
E-mail: [email protected]
[email protected]


Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), October 30, 204

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, “Black Sea Terminal” Ltd.
submitted EIA reports to
the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an environmental permit for
the activity of
second category -Development of the Sand Gravel Deposit in Khobi Region,
Village Bia.

EIA report is 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 December 14, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on December 14, 2004 at 12:00, at the conference
hall of the Ministry
of Environment.


Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), November 11, 2004

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, “Viragi” Ltd. submitted EIA
report to the Ministry
of Environment of Georgia to obtain an environmental permit for the activity
of first category —
EIA Report of the Asphalt-concrete Plant in Isan-Samgori, Tbilisi.

EIA report is 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 October 26, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on December 28, 2004 at 12:00, at the conference
hall of the Ministry
of Environment.


Source: “Sakartvelos Respublica” (“Republic of Georgia”), November 12, 2004

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, “Okhiri” Ltd. submitted EIA
report to the Ministry
of Environment of Georgia to obtain an environmental permit for the activity
of second category
— Project of the “Lomisi” Mineral Water Bottling Plant in Akhalgori,
Village Pavliani.

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, “Nori” Ltd. submitted EIA
report to the Ministry of
Environment of Georgia to obtain an environmental permit for the activity of
first category —
EIA Report of the Oil Processing Mini Plant in Gardabani Region, Village

EIA report is 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 December 28, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on December 28, 2004 at 12:00, at the conference
hall of the Ministry
of Environment.


Dear Colleague,

We are currently seeking applicants for admission to our master’s programme
Development at the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands. The master
Development is a two-year programme. It starts twice a year, in February and
in September, and
it consists of three different tracks:

Energy and Resources
B) Land Use, Environment and Biodiversity
C) Environmental Policy and Management

Since 2003 international students with various academic backgrounds and
nationalities follow
this programme, because:

o The programme offers a unique multidisciplinary approach, working with
research teams
of experts that do not shy away from confrontation and integration of ideas
o The programme is developed by the Utrecht University’s Copernicus
Institute for
sustainable development and innovation, one of the world’s leading research
groups on
sustainability issues.
o The programme offers a varied combination of lectures, working groups,
case studies,
excursions, multidisciplinary and internationally orientated research
projects and
internships with external organizations.

For more information about the content of the programme, the course outlines
or the entrance
requirements, please visit our website:

You can also order a brochure online.

Mariƫlle van Gelderen
Information Officer

University of Utrecht, Department of Innovation & Environmental Sciences,
Budapestlaan 4
(room Z002) 3584 CS Utrecht + 31 30 2537828


WASHINGTON, DC-IREX is proud to announce that the U.S. Department of State’s
Bureau of
Educational and Cultural Affairs has selected IREX to administer the Edmund
S. Muskie
Graduate Fellowship (Muskie) Program. The program will offer 170 fellowships
for study in the
United States for graduate students and professionals from Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Belarus,
Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan,
Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The U.S. State Department has been sponsoring the
Muskie program
for over 10 years. Since its inception, approximately 3,000 Eurasian
citizens have graduated from
this prestigious program, including leaders in both the public and private
sector. Hundreds of US
universities have also supported this program by hosting these highly
talented students on their
campuses. IREX (the International Research & Exchanges Board) is an
international nonprofit
organization specializing in education, independent media, Internet
development, and civil
society programs. Through consulting, training, partnerships, education,
research and grants,
IREX develops the capacity of individuals, institutions, civil society, and
the media to participate
meaningfully in their societies. For more information on the Muskie program
or other IREX
programs, please visit our website at


Source: COVER STORY, “Tbilisi Pastimes” magazine, number 259 (October 15 to
24, 2004)

“He is of a very fine shape, his flesh is white, his teeth, those little
ones that he has, are in his
throat, yet he has so tender a mouth, that he is oftener lost after an
angler has hooked him than
any other fish.”

It’s surprising how seldom (if ever) other vital but non-political issues
such as poaching and
wildlife protection get a mention, let alone discussed, on Georgian
television. Instead, the
channels mostly explode with politics, soap operas and mediocre musicians.

If we are talking fresh-water resources, i.e. rivers and lakes, Georgia is
possibly one of the richest
countries in the world. But for the last 20 or 30 years Georgian rivers and
lakes have been subject
to the wildest poaching – fish have been killed rather than caught by every
conceivable illegal
method, and on such a massive scale that it seems extraordinary there is any
marine life left at all.
This has changed the process of angling beyond recognition and made it one
of the lousiest
pastimes one might choose to pursue.

Although the uninitiated observer may come across crowds of anglers fishing
all along the Tbilisi
embankment throughout the year, the Mtkvari river (inside the city limits)
is not necessarily a
better place for fishing than any other river flowing through this country.
Apart from being
heavily polluted by sewers, such items as discarded boots; clothes and
plastic bags are as likely to
take the bait as any small fry that might still be alive there. True,
outside the city limits the
amount of flowing garbage may be less, but it doesn’t mean your chances of
catching a fish are
any greater. As a matter of fact, the Mtkvari situation is very
characteristic of all of Georgia’s
rivers (it’s worth noting that the River Thames, which flows through a city
with a population at
least three times larger than Tbilisi is a habitat for salmon – a species
found solely in unpolluted

However, it has not always been this way. Historically, Georgian rivers did
once abound with
fish: Pirosmani has a famous painting of a fisherman holding an enormous
sheat-fish by its gills.
Suffice it to say that in those days (less than a century ago) salmon used
to come up the river
Mtkvari from the Caspian Sea to spawn in the river Aragvi (eastern Georgia),
while the rivers in
western Georgia teemed with such highly valued fish as sturgeon and pike
perch. This is all well
documented in the literary works of the period. Even as recently as the late
1960s rivers in every
part of Georgia were still very good for fishing, being home to large stocks
of trout, barbel,
umber, bream, tench, bleak and smelt.

Even though poaching has always been around, up until 30 years ago fishing
inspectors were for
the most part conscientious people, committed to doing their job rather
well. This at least
discouraged poachers somewhat.

Since Shevardnadze became No.1 back in 1973 however, the country has been
going downhill
fast and by the mid 1990s it had reached the bottom of the slope. Naturally,
the situation on the
rivers could not be expected to be better than things in the rest of the
country. And today,
poaching has reached unprecedented proportions throughout Georgia. Fish
stocks have depleted
drastically as a result. Quite often the very authorities that are
responsible for protecting the
environment are also directly involved in the massive elimination of fish –
through such barbaric
means as electric currents, use of explosives, and dumping chlorine and
other poisonous
substances. I have seen the sad consequences of these illegal practices –
tons of dead fish awash
on the riverside.

As a result, endemic species in a number of Georgian rivers have all but
disappeared. Take the
river Iory, for instance. As a child, I remember accompanying my father and
his friends on
fishing trips to this particular river. Catching several kilos of trout with
a fishing-rod was normal
during the late sixties. Well not any more.

Staying at a remote Artani village this summer, which is in the beautiful
valley of the Iory river
(its source is up in the mountains some 10 kilometres from the village) I
was appalled to discover
that its crystal waters were absolutely lifeless. This is not because of
industrial waste being
dumped in the river (the entire region has no economy, not to mention any
industry), but because
of the electric charges being repeatedly used in the area by locals as well
as outsiders. There are
no fully-grown trout, never mind newly hatched fish in these clear waters
(fish that might survive
the high voltage lose the ability to spawn). And local attitudes struck me
as even more weird than
the lifeless river itself. No one I spoke seemed to care. All of them have
been directly or
indirectly involved in ruining their river – some of them by going on
poaching sprees, others
simply by not caring. It is ironic that while so much electricity from
tailor-made batteries has
been discharged in the river, the region is starved of electricity.

Finding an enthusiastic angler waiting patiently for biting, I was even
offered the chance to go on
a fishing trip one day “with a battery” by some locals. “It’s the only way
to catch any fish” they
said, “Fishing-rods are no use here”. But there’s no use arguing with
cavemen is there?

A couple of days later while angling on the same river down in Tianeti (the
region’s regional
centre) I came across a 15-strong poaching party equipped with two batteries
which they carried
on their backs. They were carrying on as if discharging electricity to kill
fish was a perfectly legal
undertaking (it was happening in broad daylight) and they seemed perfectly
as ease. Folding
down my rod, I watched them sweep several hundred metres down the main arm
of the river only
to catch half a kilo of small fry in their landing-net. This was probably
all that remained.

As if the effects of regional poaching aren’t catastrophic enough, the same
deadly technique is
being deployed in the capital as well. It’s common knowledge among the
‘angling brethren’ of
Tbilisi that every day of the week poachers sail downstream in a rubber boat
to the Ortachala
hydro-electric power station and discharge electricity from their batteries
into the river Mtkvari.
This kills thousands of fish, which then turn up in Tbilisi’s markets. Quite
often, they make up to
10 runs a day, “just like marshrutkas”, as one angler put it. This seems to
say that these poachers
are likely approved by certain officials.

One might well ask what on earth all the relevant departments, ministries
and non-governmental
organisations are doing to help rehabilitate Georgian rivers. Does anyone
care? A “Directory of
Governmental Organisations with Environmental Responsibilities in Georgia”
is published by the
Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus). It lists a
staggering 34 bodies,
including various ministries, departments and agencies. This rather begs the
question: does
Georgia really need so many would-be environmentalists if they haven’t even
raised the issue of
poaching yet? Nearly all of the relevant governmental and non-governmental
organisations in this
sphere claim to be concerned with wildlife protection so, apart from
organising lavish
conferences, seminars and work-shops (one might say talk-shops) what are
they doing?
Meanwhile, life in Georgia’s rivers is dying.

Archil Khantadze is a keen angler. Which is why he deplores the ‘killing
fields’ that Georgia’s
waterways have become.

What the laws says:
ARTICLE 300, Penal Code of Georgia: illegal catching of fish or other
aquatic living organisms

1. Illegal catching of fish or other aquatic living organisms:in territorial
waters, special economic zones or inland waters by
fishing equipment or mechanical transportation, by ELECTRICITGY or other
unlawful tackle, by explosives or poisonous
substances, or by other means of mass destruction of fish or other aquatic
living organisms:is punishable by a fine or
correctional labour for up to one year, or imprisonment for up to two

2. The same activity, which results in substantial damage:or pertains to
fish listed in the Red Book of Georgia [i.e. rare species]
or other aquatic living organisms:is punishable by a fine or correctional
labour for up to two years, or imprisonment for up to
four months, or imprisonment for up to three years.


A Suggestion from Wyoming:

The “STOP POACHING” programme is a joint effort between the Wyoming Game and
Fish Department and the Wyoming
Wildlife Protectors Association. The programme is an opportunity for you to
help protect your wildlife resource. It pays cash
rewards to those who report poachers. A toll-free telephone number is
provided and callers are not required to reveal their
names, testify in court, or sign a deposition. Rewards are paid when an
arrest is made or a citation is issued. A minimum reward
is paid for information on a big game or endangered species case:for
information used in small game and fish investigations:a
reward may be offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction.
Since 1980, when the programme began, more than
5,000 “workable” calls have been received. Between 20 and 25 percent of the
calls have led to arrests. More than $ 130,000 in
rewards has been paid, with more than 1,000 cases being successfully closed.


Source: The Messenger, October 26, 2004

A two-day conference on dealing with libel and freedom of information in the
Caucasus opened
on Monday, October 25, 2004 at the Sheraton Metechi Palace. The First South
Caucasus Media
Conference is organized by the OSCE Mission to Georgia and brings together
over 50 journalists
from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. OSCE Representative on Freedom of
Media, Miklos
Haraszti, opened the conference and praised Georgia for decriminalizing
defamation earlier this


Source: The Messenger, October 26, 2004

In a new report on the environment and security, analysts warn that
non-traditional environmental
and socio-economic threats could exacerbate existing conflicts in the

The report, entitled “Environment and security: Transforming risks into
cooperation’ and
supported by both the UN and the OSCE, was released at the start of the
conference of Eastern
European, Caucasus and Central Asian Environment Ministers October 22, 2004.

The report is part of a wide effort called the Environment and Security
(ENVSEC) initiative,
jointly run by the OSCE, the UN Development Program (UNDP) and Environment
(UNEP), and identifies key environmental issues that may effect security in
the Southern

In its press release, ENVSEC states that the report highlights three common
areas of concern,
either negatively as sources of potential conflict or positively as
opportunities for cooperation and
confidence building, for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The three areas are environmental degradation and access to natural
resources in areas of conflict;
management of cross border environmental concerns, such as water resources,
natural hazards,
and industrial and military legacies; and population growth and rapid
development in capital

The Environmental Ministries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia were invited
to discuss the
report with the representatives of partner countries and agencies at the
launch event, after which
was held a regional conference of Eastern European, Caucasus and Central
Asian Environment

“The Southern Caucasus countries are confronted by similar social, political
and economic
transformation that are altering century old relationships within and
between them and shaping
their development. Each of these transformation has an impact on, and could
be effected by the
state of the natural environment,” said Director of UNDP Regional Bureau or
Europe and the CIS
Kalman Mizsei.

Director of UNEP’s European office Frits Schlingenmann added this could pose
a threat to
stability in the region, saying that environmental stress and change could
undermine security in
the three South Caucasian countries.

Coordinator for OSCE economic and environmental activities Marcin Swecicki
agreed, saying,
“Today we face a variety of non-traditional threats to security, posted by
socio-economic and
environment issues.”

“However,” Schlingenmann added, “sound environmental management and
technical cooperation
could also be a means for strengthening security while promoting sustainable
development if
three governments decided to do so.”

The ENVSEC Initiative builds on the combined strengths and field presence of
the lead
organizations in three main areas: assessment and monitoring of environment
and security
linkages; capacity building and institutional development; and integration
of environment and
security concerns and priorities in international and national policy


Source: The Messenger, October 29, 2004

The building of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is in its final stage, and
on Georgian territory
its construction is nearly complete. The ceremony linking the Azerbaijani
and Georgian sections
took place recently, and was attended by the presidents of Georgia and

But despite this, builders say that the Georgian government has a very
indifferent attitude towards
the Caspian oil project, which was considered to be one of the main
achievements of the
Shevarnadze regime.

There have been several reports in the Georgian media connected with BP’s
dissatisfaction with
the Georgian government. On October 25, 2004 during a meting with Georgian
journalists in
London, the company’s representatives openly talked about their business and
problems in

The newspaper 24 Saati quotes BP regional director Jay Berson as saying,
“With the new
government we feel like stepsons our parents have died and we are in the
hands of a new family.
They think that we are bad too, as they have seen neither our diaries nor
our friends and so they
don’t know the truth about us.”

However, BP GEO Jord John Browne said, “I think that we are establishing a
very good and
realistic relationship with the new government.”

The new government had problems with BP with regard to construction of the
pipeline through
the Borjomi district, and construction was temporarily halted owing to a
government demand for
additional safety guarantee. The opposition evaluated this as a “sector pro
Russian” policy and an
attempt to distance Georgia from the West.

The Georgian government contains only a few members with a pro Russian
orientation, and the
opposition’s claims seem overplayed. There is no doubting the benefit to the
Georgian economy
that the pipeline will bring, although to depend solely on this to
rejuvenate the economy would be
foolish, nor that its construction will continue in the near future.

Nevertheless, there does seem to be some distrust between BP and the new
government, and the
two sides will need to overcome this, particularly in the near future when
they must discuss
pipeline safety and the construction of a second pipeline for natural gas.


Source: The Messenger, November 1, 2004

On October 29, 2004 the eleventh meeting of the Council of Foreign Affairs
Ministers of member
states of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) was held in

Delegates to the meeting who included senior officials and representatives
of BSEC affiliated
organizations as well as the ministers of foreign affairs, praised Georgia’s
chairing of the
organizations from May 1, 2004 citing enhanced cooperation in such fields
and modern
technologies and particularly the strengthening of stability and stability
in the region.

The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stated that, through the
efforts of Georgia as
presiding country, a Statement was adopted on BSEC’s Contribution to
Security and Stability at a
special meeting of the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Istanbul on
June 25, 2004 which
the ministry says “serves as further proof of the readiness of member states
to cooperate closely
so as o strengthen security and stability in the Black Sea region.”

The MFA stated further that “the involvement of the South Caucasus countries
in the new
European Neighborhood Policy, which began in summer 2004, attest to Europe’s
interest in its neighboring regions.” A respective document was elaborated
within the BSE that
envisages a new model of cooperation with the EU.

“During the next chairmanship of Greece,” the MFA said in information given
to the media
regarding the meeting, “special importance will be attached to cooperation
with the EU.” As a
member of the both organizations, “Greece has to play a positive role in
expanding relations
between the BSEC and the EU.”

The MFA stated that during its term of chairmanship, Georgia brought to the
fore the issues of
improving the business environment in the region and attracting greater
investment. “In this
context, mention should be made of the meeting of the BSEC Business Council
Directors, which
posed the question of enhancing cooperation with a view to crating an
appropriate business
environment. This, first of all, calls for the conduction of business
meetings and the exchange of

The ministry said that it took particular pride in projects put into motion
by Georgia, in
cooperation with Russia and the Ukraine and with the assistance of the BSEC
Development Fund, to prevent AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis through the se
of information
communication technologies in BSEC member states.

The MFA also announced a new agreement between Georgia and Romania that it
cities as
evidence of positive regional cooperation, on the “Effective Operation of
Ferry Transport
between the Ports of Batumi and Konstantsa.”

The agreement that was approved by Romania on October 28, 2004 and will
shortly be submitted
to the Georgian parliament, “serves to facilitate the realization of
projects related to ferry traffic
as well as the modernization of Batumi port.”

Within the framework of the meeting Minister of Foreign Affairs Salome
Zurabishvili held
bilateral meetings with Vice Premier and State Minister of Turkey Abdulatip
Sener, Armenian
Foreign Affairs Minister Vartan Oskanian, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Affairs
Minister Alexander
Motsik, and Romanian Deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Borgdan Aureskus.

The talks centered on relations between the countries, prospects for future
cooperation, the
ongoing processes in Georgia, integration into European structures and
relations with
international organizations.


Source: The Messenger, November 4, 2004

With the BTC pipeline nearing completion a group of Georgian journalists
including The
Messenger’s Christina Tashkevich spent last week in the UK to see how BP
that leads the BTC
construction operates in its home country. They met with BP Chief Executive
Lord John Browne
to discuss the pipeline, the recent surge in the price of oil, and Browne’ s
impressions of Tbilisi
from his various visits.

Lord Browne states that the one million barrels of oil pre day that the
pipeline will carry when finished “will be crucial for the maintenance of
global energy security.”
He also points to the “environmental benefits” of the pipeline, saying that
it will displace “some
40 tankers a year which would otherwise sail through the Bosphorus.”

Before such benefits can be realized, however, there are still many
challenges to be overcome.
The BP chief executive says the main challenge has not been so much related
to construction or
complex and difficult terrain.

“Finishing the project on time and on budget has required the project
leaders to develop all the
skills of statecraft,” Lord Browne said in a recent speech.

However, Browne positively evaluated the company’s relations with the new
government of
Georgia, saying his company is building “realistic and good” relations with
the new government.

Browne says that BP is constantly working with the government on the
security of the pipeline
and these measures are “already in place.” He adds that the company
continues to have
consultations with the government on its oil spill response plan. “This
spill will not happen. But
you must have a plan,” Lord Browne told the Georgian journalists.

Asked how BP can help the governments of the three countries to manage
revenues from the
BTC pipeline, Lord Browne told The Messenger “the company will help
governments to
demonstrate how they use these revenues.”

The BP Chief Executive believes there are a few sectors that could be
prioritized when the
government allocates the recourses. He singles out the education sector, the
creation of an
“environment where people can create their own business,” and social
projects such as the
restoration of hospitals.

Lord Browne also shared his impressions of his several visits to Georgia. He
recalled his first
visit to Tbilisi a few years ago when the country was hit by the energy
crisis. “Tbilisi looked like
a person who was tires,” he said adding though that he was always surprised
by the Georgian
people’s generosity, especially given Georgia’s problems.

However, a more recent visit brought very different impressions. “Now
Tbilisi has become
younger, fresher and brighter,” Lord Browne thinks.

While the group of Georgian journalists was in the UK, two issues involving
BP were headline
news – BP’s third quarter profits and the recent surge in the price of oil
Lord Browne addressed
journalists from the UK on both these issues.

BP announced what Browne described as “very strong” results for the third
quarter, with
operating profits up to USD 3.9 billion, an increase of 43 percent over the
same period last year.
The dividends of the company paid in USD dollars are up 9 percent from last
year and the
company’s cash flow equaled USD 6.1 billion that as used or capital
expenditure, dividends ands
tock buybacks of USD 2.2.5 billion involving 241 million shares.

One issue Lord Browne had to address as well was the recent increase in the
oil price. “The
recent surge in the price of oil above USD 50 a barrel raised many questions
about future
prospects and whether or not there has been some fundamental change in the
oil market,” said
Lord Browne.

According to him, this year has been “an exceptional year” for the price of
oil. Lord Browne
recalls that in the late 90s and early 2000s oil consumption growth was only
half that of world
economic growth.

“This year is an exception and oil consumption is expected to grow almost as
fast as the economy
as a whole — by around 3.4 percent compared with 4 percent GDP growth,” he
explains. Lord
Browne thinks that the most important factor behind this is the demand for
energy intensive
products in China is particular.

“Oil production has responded to this demand, and despite disruptions in one
location or another,
supplies have been maintained. Production grew by 2.7 million barrels a day
in 2003 and is
expected to grow by 3.4 million barrels a day in 2004 – which will be the
fourth largest annual
rise in history,” Lord Browne said.

OPEC production of oil is “close to an all time high,” and Lord Browne notes
that “non OPEC oil
production continuities to expand as well.”

“Between 2000 and 3000, non OPEC daily production increased by around one
million barrels
each year and this outpaced the growth in demand by around 100, 000 barrels
a day each year.”

Lord Browne says then, that the surge in oil price has been despite this
large rise in oil supply.
“To some degree this is because the rapid recent rise in demand has eaten
into global spare oil
production capacity, now estimated to be 1 million barrels a day, compared
with a average over
the last decade of 3 million barrels day,” he explains. As spare capacity
has reduced, “prices have
responded to and in a more sensitive way.”

Lord Browne thinks that the prices are likely to stay above USD 30 a barrel
in medium term as
demand for crude oil continues to grow.

Lord Browne estimates that capital expenditure of the BP group will be above
USD 14 billion in
2004 ad could be around USD 14 billion in 2005. “That is higher that we
previously estimated,”
he said.

He mentions some new projects of the company in the sector. For example, BP
and the Russian
Rosneft have made a significant discovery at Sakhalin, “This opens p further
exploration promise
in this area.”

Despite these new projects, UK newspapers noted that BP investment had
increased at only a
fraction of the rate that its profits have risen, and this provoked some

Jeremy Warner of the Independent wrote, “Many companies faced with such a
strong price for
their basic product would let rip on investment in an attempt to exploit it.
BP is resisting the
temptation.” He warned, “If demand for oil continues to accelerate, than the
Browne strategy will
be open to criticism.”

The Sun, however, defended Browne in an implicit attack on the British
government’s tax
regime. “Never forget that 75% of the cost fro a tank of petrol goes to the
government. And the
more profit BP makes, the more tax it pays, “the paper suggested.

Lord Browne, however, is optimistic regarding BP’s performance over the rest
of the year. “It has
been a good quarter leading to strong distributions to shareholders and with
prospects of more
good performance for the rest of this year,” Lord Browne said. He also adds
plans for 2005 are in
line with the company’s strategy.


Source: The Messenger, November 4, 2004

Our reader already know about the Community Investment Program (CIP) – East
by Mercy Corps is partnership with Constanta Foundation, Technical
Assistance in Georgia,
Curatio International Foundation and Elkana and funded and supported by BP
and its partners in
BTC/SCP pipelines and the target of this program was improving of all the
social service
infrastructure and livelihood options in all communications in the CIP
intervention area.
Mobilized communities in rural areas implemented projects that improve local
promote access to social serves and strengthen community organization

Inhabitants of village Akhtagla, Gardabani district, lived with lot of
difficulties that are
characterized for rural area in Georgia – people were villages because of
lack of economic
opportunities and lot of social problems here. One of the main problem in
village was school
rehabilitation. School was build with stone in 1970. During that period the
structure was the
largest building in village. The school was and still is the focal point of
many of communications
events. It was badly in need of repair and had not seen much in the way of
improvements for the
better part of twenty years Children in Akhtagla were not able to attend
school regularly: during
rainy water was leaking into the classrooms and they wee freezing in winter

“Local authorities did not have make any repairs” – explained Mr. Seifadin
Guseinov, inhabitant
of Akhtagla, the leader of local community initiative group, “But that has
all changed thanks to
the help we have received from the pipeline projects. Through mobilization
process leaded by
Mercy Corps and Akhtagla community and with BTC/SCP funds, community was
able to
debilitate the school. The village celebrated this event” – and had no
hesitation in saying. –
BTC/SCP and “Mercy Corps” have brought our village back to life.”

Construction of pipeline saves the village from the serious problems

Within the framework of the Community investment program -East initiated and
funded by BP
and its partners in BTC/SCP projects Mercy Corps and its partner
organizations have been
implanting various activities for the communities along the pipeline route
with the aim of
mobilizing and empowering them. Mobilzed communities in rural areas
implemented projects to
improve local infrastructure, promote access to social services and
strengthen community
organization skills.

For villages of Tetri-Tskaro district – Marabda, Durnuki, Khaishi,
Tsintskaro, Chivchavi,
Kosolari, located along BTC/SCP pipeline, agriculture is the only source of
income “Major
problems related to agricultural development is lack of high quality
seed,” – said head of local
Sakrebuli Guladi Umpriani. “High quality seed distributed by Mercy Corps has
addressed our
need and we consider this as important activity. Yield is expected to
increase by three times and
when sold next year will result in added profit to the farms” – he further


Source: The Messenger, November 9, 2004

The Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel joined forces with the Tbilisi
Municipality early Saturday
morning November 6, 2004 to assist the local community in cleaning up Vera
Park. The general
manager of the hotel said that the project was intended to be an example to
Tbilisi citizens to
keep their city clean and tidy.

About fifty hotel associates and Tbilisi Municipality officials participated
in the project, leading
the hotel to comment in its press release that “the appearance of the
Sheraton Metechi Palace
staff and management together with Tbilisi Municipality representatives in
the clean up of the
park serves as a role model for Tbilisi community, demonstrating how easy it
is to take care of
our surroundings.”

The hotel’s public relations director Tamriko Vardiashvili told The
Messenger that this is not first
time the hotel has been involved in such a project. “Our tradition is to
help nature and do such
projects regularly. Our aim this time was to clean Tbilisi’s oldest park —
Vera Park – and we
were greatly helped by Tbilisi Municipality to realize our project,” stated

General Manager of the Sheraton Metechi Hotel Richard Deutl said that the
hotel, along with
Sheraton’s mother company Starwood Hotel, feels greatly responsible for the
community and the
environment where they are doing business.

Deutl told The Messenger that their aim was to show the community in Tbilisi
that cleaning parks
and preserving the environment is not a responsibility that can be left
solely to the Municipality,
or Sheraton Hotel, but is the responsibility of each and every body.

“We wanted to set an example to our people. The environment concerns all of
us; it does not need
a lot of effort or funds to keep a park clean and tidy. It breaks my heart
when I sometimes see
people not caring for their native environment. With today’s projects we
want to set an exempt
for those individuals and support the local community,” said Deutl.

Deutl stated that the hotel’s charitable activities are not limited to the
environment, but also
include collecting money for children, shelters and hospices. “It is very
difficult to do in one
particular area because there are so many people in need and so many areas
we can help. We do
not want to focus on just one issue. This was the first time that we did
this kind of project, but it
will not be; nor will it be the only kind of activity,” stated Deutl.

Head of the City Serves Shalva Tskhakaia praised the hotel’s initiative ad
said he hoped it would
set an example to others.

“I hope that it will be an example for other private companies and
organizations to similar things
perhaps seen once a week. I also hope that it will be an example for city
residents too and that
every Saturday people will clean those places where children walk ad play.
Our main wish is to
see such initiatives come from the population itself. The Mayor’s Office
will always support such
proposals,” stated Tskhakaia, adding that the mayor’s office had helped both
physically and with


Source: The Messenger, November 10, 2004

On November 6, 2004 Minister of Energy Nika Gilauri gave an interview with
Prime News in
which he skeptically evaluated the importance of Baku-Erzerum natural gas
pipeline for Georgia.

According to Mr. Gilauri, the amount of natural gas that will remain in
Georgia in lieu of transit
tax will not fully meet the country’s demands and so cannot be considered as
a cheap alternative
source, which can replace the natural gas imported from Russia.

In his interview, Mr. Gilauri noted that only in 2007 would Georgia begin
receiving its free 5% of
Shah-Deniz gas. Georgia will be able to purchase a further 5% at reduced
price of USD 55, but
this is only $5 less than gas import from Russia by Gazprom.

Furthermore, as reported in Rezonansi, Mr. Gilauri notes that Georgia uses
approximately one
billion cubic meters of natural gas annually and expects that demand will
increase in the future.
According to the schedule, around 200 million cubic meters are expected to
pass through the
pipeline in 2006, meaning that Georgia will receive a paltry 20 million
cubic meters, only a
fraction of its requirements.

This situation leads the minister of energy to argue that the Georgian side
must participate in
negotiations to directly import Shah-Deniz natural gas from Azerbaijan
before the project is
activated because otherwise Georgia will only be able to receive more gas in
the unlikely event
that Turkey does not want its share. Mr. Gilauri’s comments undermine the
belief of some
analysts that the Baku-Erzerum gas pipeline will allow Georgia to gain
energy independence
from Russia.


Source: The Messenger, November 12, 2004

Among the critics of the new tax code are Georgina’s Greens. They are now
Parliament to reinstate the 11th clause of the code that clause for the code
that calls for a tax on
palliation. The Greens argue that the abolishment of the tax will only
worsen the ecological
conditions in Georgia.

According the tax code, already passed its first hearing in Parliament,
taxes on pollution that have
been in place since 1993 will be abolished According to the tax,
entrepreneurs had to pay the tax
for polluting the air or water and any polluting material also had to be
removed. In 1995 the
budget gained USD 130, 000 from these taxes and in 2002 over USD 8 million.

The authors of the new tax code, as they were trying to decrease the payload
for taxpayers,
abolished at least eleven taxes including the ecological tax. Another
argument against the tax was
that it encouraged corrupt agreements, but now the Greens claim that the
abolishment of the
pollution tax practically frees those entrepreneurs who severely damaged the
environment from
the responsibility.

Despite the fact that Georgian industry is practically ground to a halt,
environmental pollution is
growing at a high tempo. The fact that many large factories have shutdown
leaving behind
decaying hulks with now environmental controls is one reason. Another is the
profusion of micro
industrial on plants that do everything from breakdown scrap metal, to
process chemicals or trade
oil products with virtually no outside controls.

According to the Green’s data, annually 1,2 million tones of dangerous
products are released into
Georgia’s skies, 408 billion liters of tainted water is releases into the
water table that then without
any cleaning us used for agricultural purposes and household consumption.

Greens are seeking the government not to allow the abolishment of the
pollution tax because it
removes a method of punishment for business that taint natural resources but
it is also against
Georgia’s Environmental Protection drat laws.

Their chances of having any influence are slim but they strike accord with
many Georgians who
value the county’s nature. Their only problem is figuring out how to
transform this love of nature
into practical steps to protect it.


Source: The Messenger, November 16, 2004

Imports of electricity from Armenia will not be stopped, as had previously
been suggested, while
imports from Russia will begin in the next few days, Minister of Energy Nika
Gilauri said on
Monday, November 15, 2004.

On Friday TELASI returned the license it received just two weeks ago from
the National Energy
Regulation Commission (GNERC) after accusations against the company’s import

Director General of TELASI Dangiras Mikalajunas explained the company’s
decision to return
the license relates to a recent letter sent by the Energy Ombudsman David
Ebralidze to the
General Prosecutor of Georgia. Mr. Ebralidze together with the MP Gia
Natsvlishvili blamed
TELASI for signing one-sided agreements on imports from Armenia and Russia
that were
profitable for Armenia and Russia but not for the Georgian government. The
letter claimed that
the price of one imported kilowatt/hour had been increased by 0.15 U.S.

On Friday, November 12, 2004 Mr. Mikalajunas stated that the Georgian
government must
evaluate this letter and then decide over the future of electricity imports
from Armenia.

As a result, on Monday Minister Gilauri met with Minister of Security Vano
General Prosecutor Gia Adeishvili and Director General of TELASI Dangiras
Mikalajunas to
discuss the situation over TELASI and electricity imports.

After the meeting, Mr. Gilauri stated that the imports from Armenia would
continue, while Vano
Merabishvili stated that TELASI received a full guarantee from the
government at the meeting
that “there would be no problem with importing electricity into the

“There are forces in Georgia who do not want TBILISI to have a 24-hour
electricity supply,”
Vano Merabishvili said, adding however that law enforcers “are currently
studying the
statements” made in Mr. Ebralidze’s letter.

TELASI’s press officer told The Messenger on Monday the government expressed
its support to
TELASI, saying, “There was no corrupt deal behind the electricity imports
from Armenia.”
TELASI said that while it was true that the price of imports has increased
comparing with last
year, this is “a worldwide matter.”

The company, which distributes electricity to Tbilisi, claims however, that
there is no item in the
agreement that prohibits TELASI from raising the price of imported energy.

TELASI also confirmed that imports from Russia would begin in a few days,
leading Deputy
Minister of Energy Aleko Khetaguri to state at a press conference on Friday
that Tbilisi will
receive electricity without limitations.

Last Wednesday, November 10, Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania threatened
Minister Gilauri by
saying that unless problems in the sector were resolved in two weeks, the
minister would face

Minister Gilauri responded that the ministry has formulated a plan for
improved payment
collection, as well as a schedule for electricity distribution, whereby the
regions will receive eight
hours per day, large cities 18 hours, and the capital 24 hours of

“Such schedules will be formulated monthly and will be published in regional
newspapers and
also will be announced by television and on the Internet. In this way the
population will be able
to check the schedule of their region or city,” stated Mr. Gilauri.


Source: The Guardian – United Kingdom; November 17, 2004

A vital $3bn (pounds 1.6bn) pipeline designed by BP to help meet Britain’s
oil needs well into the
next decade has been riddled with corrosion it emerged yesterday.

Documents submitted to a Trade and Industry select committee reveal that
1,260 joints in one
section alone had been found to be defective, according to a study by

The US consultancy was asked to investigate the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC)
link by lenders
following speculation at the beginning of this year that BP and its partners
had run into trouble.

The report – made public for the first time yesterday – showed that 26% of
pipeline joints in
Georgia had problems with cracking due to difficulties with the coatings

A further 300 joints on the Azerbaijan section of the pipe had similar
problems and
WorleyParsons criticized the “inaction” by the BTC management team, which
had “allowed the
problems to become greater than necessary”.

An even more damaging note to the committee came from another former
consultant to BP,
Derek Mortimore, who described decisions taken with regard to pipeline
coating technology as

He argued that the UK oil company issued an innovative specification for
protecting the 1,760-
kilometer pipeline that was inappropriate and underdeveloped.

“The best you can say is that their fundamental decision to use the unproven
system was a guess,”
Mr. Mortimore claims. The select committee members published the documents
as they quizzed
senior staff from the Export Credit Guarantee Department about the pipeline,
which has received
pounds 81m of public money through the organization.

Martin O’Neill, the committee chairman, expressed “disappointment” at the
ECGD’s lack of
transparency over the BTC pipeline, which has also attracted criticism from
human rights and
environmental activists. The arm of the Department of Trade and Industry had
only provided
some information a day ago, months after it was originally requested.

John Weiss, deputy chief executive of the ECGD, insisted that it had been
hampered by having to
consult so many other parties, some of which had stressed the “sensitivity”
of the information.

BP last night dismissed the criticism, saying that it had investigated all
the allegations and had
put them all right.


Source: The Messenger, November 17, 2004

Projects by BP and its partners in the Baku- Tbilisi- Ceyhan / South
Caucasus Pipeline
(BTC/SCP) are continuing to support and assist the communities along the
pipeline route. In
summer 2004 Mercy Corps implemented a new initiative, Improved Schools
Project, also funded
by BP and its partners in BTC / SCP. The program will be implemented in 42
schools of Rustavi,
Marneuli, Tetri-Tskaro and Gardabani and will work on school rehabilitation
as well as social
and professional development of teachers, pupils and their parents.

Rustavi Secondary School #10 is one the selected communities where Mercy
Corps and its
partners have held an Action Planning Meeting where teachers, parents and
pupils together
selected priorities and identified problems they want to address during the
lifetime of the

The school was established in 19990 as school of intensive study of French.
With support of the
French Embassy in Georgia, the school has enjoyed a successfully implemented

Exchange Program; during recent years several educators from France have
conducted lesions
and workshops for teachers and pupils. In the exchange, teachers attended
advanced training
courses in one of the Pari’s lyceums.

But school staff members and pupils lack basic conditions for a normal and
protected educational
process. On rainy days water leaks into the classrooms and during the winter
it is impossible to
heat classrooms.

“This building needs major repairs,” explains school Director, Guram
Kobiashvili. “First we have
to change the roof. Imagine, we aren’t able to conduct lessons during bad

Mr. Kobiashvili adds that school staff ad parents are actively involved in
the project
implementation proves. “And I would like to express gratitude to the
American NGO Mercy
Corps for the rehabilitation of our school, initiated and funded by BP and
its partners. We will
start repair works in a few days.”

He also has praise for the work process that includes locally led quality
control. “Working
bridges are already formed and community initiative group members are going
to monitor the
work process and the quality of the work,” he says, adding that the school
has included the
community’s most needy in he project: “It is noteworthy that community
members independently
developed project proposals and in accordance with their decision we will
involve venerable
community members in the project implantation.”


Source: The Independent – United Kingdom; November 17, 2004

Opponents of a controversial oil pipeline being built by BP through central
Asia warned
yesterday on November 16, 2004 that the Government would face legal action
if it caused an
environmental disaster.

Protest groups accused the Export Credit Guarantee Department of failing to
make proper checks
before agreeing to underwrite a pounds 60m loan to the BTC project being
built by a BP-led
consortium. But the deputy head of the ECGD issued a robust defense of the
decision, saying it
carried out “due diligence” before agreeing to provide cover.

Nick Hildyard, from The Corner House, an environmental pressure group, said
the ECGD had
never reviewed BP’s decision to use an “experimental” process to coat the
pipe to prevent it from
corrosion. It has since emerged that the pipe has suffered from cracks
although the damage has
now been repaired. He said: “If these things are not addressed then there
will be leaks, people
will be harmed and the environment will be harmed and there is a paper trail
showing that BP
was warned about this. If there’s a leak then those responsible should be
dragged into court and
that includes people in ECGD.”

But John Weiss, ECGD’s deputy chief executive, told a committee of MPs that
the department
had carried out due diligence of the project. He said WorleyParsons, an
engineer it commissioned
to review the project, concluded in October 2004 it was content with the way
the pipeline was
being monitored.

David Allwood, the head of ECGD’s business principles unit, told MPs the
department was aware
this was the first time the coating had been used to coat a plastic-covered
pipe. But he added:
“They have a monitoring system so that if it got to stage where there was
potential for a rupture
they will intervene.” He also told the Trade and Industry Select Committee
the ECGD should
have consulted businesses before putting in place tough new anti-bribery


Source: Upstream Newspaper, November 19, 2004

Evidence has been presented to the UK’s Trade & Industry Select Committee
indicating the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is defective and suffering extensive
corrosion problems.

A WorleyParsons study, commissioned by the project lenders following
speculation that BP and
its partners had run into problems, revealed that 1260 joints in one section
were found to be
defective and about 26% of the pipeline joints in Georgia had problems with
cracking due to
difficulties with the coatings used.

A further 300 joints on the Azerbaijan section of the pipe had similar
problems and
WorleyParsons criticized “inaction” by the BTC management team that “allowed
problems to
become greater than necessary”.

Dennis Adams, an engineering manager who worked with STA, a joint venture
sub-contracted to
Botas, said he was “ashamed at a chaotic level of disorganization and
mismanagement” and at
failures of quality control compromising the future safety, reliability and
integrity of the pipeline.

Select committee chairman Martin O’Neill expressed his “disappointment” at
the Export Credit
Guarantee Department’s lack of transparency over the BTC pipeline, which had
received $150
million in public funding.

BP said it had a rigorous process for the construction and testing of the
BTC pipeline.


Source: Upstream Newspaper, November 19, 2004

It is hard to believe there has ever been an energy infrastructure project
in a developing country
or any country come to that subjected to as much outside scrutiny as the
(BTC) pipeline.

You would be hard pressed to find a member of the public in the UK who had
even heard of the
$3 billion scheme to bring oil from three fields in the Caspian Sea over
land to Turkey for
loading on to tankers. And yet, this week Britain’s export credit agency,
the ECGD, was hauled
before a parliamentary committee for the second time this year to be grilled
on its lending
procedures concerning the project.

It is unlikely to be the last time civil servants attached to the Trade &
Industry Department are
made to explain exactly how they have continued to approve and monitor
funding when there
were technical problems. However, it is not just corrosion of the transport
link the ostensible
subject of the select committee hearing that has been questioned, but also a
range of other
environmental and human rights issues.

Why is this so? Partly because this is a scheme that the US has made clear
has considerable
strategic importance for its energy security and partly because it runs
through politically and
ecologically sensitive terrain. But it has also become a special focus of
attention because this is
an oil project and green activists are becoming increasingly hard-line
against any hydrocarbon
scheme, which will inevitably produce more greenhouse gases.

One must also guess that it has attracted a lot of attention because it is
BP that is at the forefront
of the project. If it was being undertaken entirely by an unresponsive
state-owned group then you
have got to imagine most NGOs would not be wasting their time.

BP perhaps ironically is a prime target for NGOs. This has something to do
with the fact that
chief executive John Browne is at the forefront of corporate social
responsibility and has
promised high ethical and environmental standards.

But NGOs also like to target BP and Shell and ExxonMobil because they have
high-profile brand
names with a petrol retail site round every other corner in the West. They
also have high profile
shareholders worried about their own public image.

No doubt BP finds this all pretty difficult but it’s a fair bet that the
experiences of BTC will stand
the oil company in good stead when it comes to other similar schemes: this
type of focus on new
projects looks like being the shape of things to come.

NGOs of all persuasions and nationalities have joined forces to scrutinize
BTC and ensure that
BP and the rest of its partners live up to their rhetoric. It requires the
companies to ensure they
attain the same standards out in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, as they
would apply were they
to be building this pipeline straight through the middle of Europe or the

If they were building in Europe, of course, they would not have some of the
problems they have
now. The sheer political volatility of the Caspian region means things are
quite different on the
ground. Heavy-handed treatment by local governments of apparent
anti-pipeline activists has left
mud being slung at the faces of the pipeline partners as much as
politicians. Construction has
already been stopped temporarily for environmental and security reasons.

It has since been claimed that work restarted on a 17-kilometre stretch of
the planned 1760-
kilometre link in the Borjomi region of Georgia only after the intervention
of US Defence
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Big stakes are clearly being played for here but
oil companies will
have to get used to this as oil scarcity and global warming continue to rise
up the political agenda.


Source: The Messenger, November 19, 2004

Save the Children together with the NGO Noah’s Ark Center for Recovery of
Species (NACRES) officially announced the launch of new USD 600, 000 program
on NGO
capacity building on November 18, 2004.

The two and a half year small grants program for NGO Capacity Building along
the SCP and BT
pipeline routs will be implemented within the framework of the BP funded
Investment Program.

According top Save the Children, the program aims to increase the capacities
of local NGOs
operating in the districts crossed by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC)
and South Caucasus
Gas pipeline (SCP) so that those NGOs will lead activities to increase local
citizens’ awareness,
educate people and participate in the social development of the regions.

Noah’s Ark Chair Levan Butkhuzi said he hoped that when the project ends,
local citizens would
possess greater knowledge on environmental issues.

The target regions for the program, from where NGOs will be selected, are
Kvemo Kartli and
Samtskhe-Javakheti, specifically the seven districts of Gardabani, Marneuli,
Tsalka, Tetri
Tskharo, Akhaltsikhe, Borjomi and Adigeni.

There will be two types of grant within the scope of the project.
Intermediary support grants will
be awarded to six “Intermediary Support Organizations” so that they can
increase their capacities
and then in turn help other environmental and social development NGOs in the
chosen regions.

The second type of grant – Environmental Activity grants – will be awarded
on a competitive
basis to 26 NGOs to address environmental or social development issues in
Kvemo Kartli and
Samtskhe Javakheti.

“it is a nice compliment to our other activities,” said Save the Children
Georgia Field Office
Director Charlie Kaften. According to Kaften, Save the Children plans to
coordinate with the
Ministry of Environment and local governments on this program.

One of the project objectives is to “mobilize the community on issues
affecting the environment,”
and with this in mind, two Regional Advisory Committees will be specially
created to decide on
awarding grants.

According to Save the Children Program Manager Natia Deisadze, the “final
decision will not be
theirs.” Rather, these committees will “screen and improve” the awarding pf

Deisadze says the committees could be formed from local authorities,
representatives of NGOs
and media.


Source: The Messenger, November 19, 2004

A new advertisement broadcasted on Adjara TV and TV 25 tempting tourists to
visit the “white
city” has won over local residents: Would you like to have a pleasant walk
in the palm alley? Or
see dolphins’ swimming in the open sea? The lovely city waits for you: Huge
discounts on major
hotels and restaurants every weekend in Batumi.

But what the few out of town tourists streaming into the city despite
discounts prices of up to 25-
50 percent, promoters are left wondering when and how they will win over
vacationers to Batumi
in the off season.

“I think there are a huge problems potential and resources to develop
tourism in Adjara, to attract
tourists and to create all the conditions for them to have a wonderful time.
That’s why this form
of weekend tourism has been invented,” vice Mayor of Batumi Natia Surguladze
said a live
interview with Adjara TV.

According to a new project developed by the Adjarian government, every
weekend during the fall
and winter major discounts are available for hotels, cafes and restaurants
to promote tourism even
when the Black Sea turn frigid.

The government has also launched public works projects to enlarge the Batumi
Sea Park, also
known as the Boulevard, and has been planting new palms and installing new
streets lighting.

A centerpiece of the promotion is a list of hotels and restaurants that will
offer clients 25-50%
discounts. The participating establishment includes the Intourist Hotel,
Sputnik Hotel, David
Hotel, Monpelie, L-Bakuri, Aliki, Oasisi Hotel, Marseli, Sanapiro, the cafe
Privet Iz Batumi,
Princess, Heiniken, Adam and others.

After one week of the discount program the Hotels Alik and Intoruist both
said they had seen no
significant changes or influx of tourists. The popular cafe Privet Iz Batumi
was also waiting for
more guests but the management nonetheless said they are very to
participation in the project.

Residents too looked forward to an increased in off-season tourism. “As a
native of Batumi I am
very pleased about this project,” said Lia Davitadze, a professor of English
at Batumi State
University. “I often host foreigners here and they like our city. I dream
about the time when
foreigner tourists will overcrowd our city. The development of tourism will
improve the lives of
ordinary people here,” she said.

In the first week of the discount program, mostly local Batumi residents
were to be seen on the
central Sea Park, some walking their dogs, others exercising in the parks
three lined side walks.

Local authorities expressed deep hope that following weekends will be more
fruitful and
successful for the new project.

In his interview with Adjarian TV, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economics
Shervashidze expressed hope that the project will be carried out not only in
winter and autumn
but also throughout the year.

A special committee has been set up at the State Department of Tourism and
Resorts to monitor
the project, and planners hope to add an additional 15 participating
establishments soon.

Meanwhile the fall season has already arrived in Batumi bringing nice, warm
and pleasant days
with golden leaves and citrus fragrance as locals gather the their other
cash crop: mandarins and


Source: The Messenger, November 22, 2004

Representatives of BP have categorically rejected rumors that the
construction of the Baku-
Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline may be halted. According to company leaders, all
problems relating to
the pipeline are corrected, 95% of the work is finished and it is on track
to start operation in May

The rumors began on Wednesday November 17, 2004 when the British paper the
published a story that the pipeline “has been riddle with corrosion”.

The claims stemmed from a hearing by the British Parliament’s Trade and
Industry committee
held the day before in which officers from the British Export Credit
Guarantee Department
(ECGD), who had provided 81 million pounds to support the pipeline, were
called testify about
the pipeline’s environmental record.

While a transcript of the hearing has not been made available yet, the paper
reported that
documents presented during the hearing showed that “26% of pipeline joints
in Georgia had
problems with cracking due to difficulties with the coating used.”

The figures came from a report by WorleyParsons, an international energy
company that was
called in the lenders to conduct an environmental study of the pipeline.
According to the
Guardian, “A further 30 joints on the Azerbaijan section of the pipe had
similar problems and
WorleyParsons criticized the “inaction” by the BTC management team, which
had “allowed the
problems to become greater than necessary.”

The paper also quoted a former consultant to BP, Derek Mortimore, as saying
the decisions taken
with regard to pipeline coating technology were “appalling”.

But part of the story is old news rehashed. In February The Sunday Times
published a similar
story blasting the BTC with the same claims by Mortimore’s studies. Then the
paper also
speculated that the pipeline would have to be unburied so that joint
coatings could be repaired.

As for BP, it has all along contended that defects in the joint coating were
found and corrected.

Asked to comment on the fate of the pipeline on Thursday November 18, 2004,
Prime Minister
Zurab Zhvania said, “I cannot see any reason to stop the construction but if
there is any problem
it must be immediately checked.”


Source: The Georgian Times, November 22, 2004

Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania told journalists in Tbilisi on
November 18, 2004 that he
does not believe there are grounds for suspending construction of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan export
pipeline for Caspian oil, Georgian media reported. On November 18, 2004
Britain’s “The
Guardian” reported that according to a study submitted to the British
parliament the previous day
some of the materials used in construction were substandard and the pipeline
is riddled with
corrosion. Construction of the 1, 760 kilometer pipeline is scheduled for
completion early next
year. Zhvania said while visiting the United Kingdom earlier this month that
he foresees no
delays in commissioning the pipeline, BP, which heads the consortium
building the pipeline,
released a statement on November 17, 2004 saying that all faults detected in
the pipeline have
been repaired, Rustavi2.com reported on November 18, 2004.


Source: The Messenger, November 22, 2004

On November 20, 204 the Khadori power plant in Kakheti region that has been
construction since 2001, was opened.

President Micheil Saakashvili, Foreign Affairs Minister Salome Zurabishvili
and the President
representative in Kakheti Petre Tsiskarishvili attended the opening

Khadorkhesi that is the first power plant to be opened in Georgia in twenty
years was constructed
by the Chinese Sichuan Electric Power Import & Export Corporation that
invested USD 22.8

According to Minister of Energy Nika Gilauri the 24 Megawatts capacity of
the plant will free
the greater part of Kakheti’s population from electricity problems.



Baku-Ceyhan Campaign

Corner House

Friends of the Earth


For Immediate Release November 24 2004

Government Admits Failing BP Pipeline was Experimental Engineering

New Article Revealing Cover-up over Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline Safety Published

In a remarkable new article published today by the Baku-Ceyhan Campaign,
journalist Michael Gillard lays bare the extent of the cover-up by
government agencies and the
British oil giant BP of major safety problems with BP’s embattled
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC)
oil pipeline

The article is available at In
the piece, Gillard, the
journalist behind the original revelations of safety concerns with BTC in
the Sunday Times
earlier this year, reveals that:

The government now admits that the coating system for the BTC pipeline has
no track record,
directly contradicting claims made to Parliament, local governments and
NGOs. BP was aware
more than a year before it chose the coating that the system would not work,
leading to corrosion
of the pipeline, widespread leakage and possible explosions. BP fired its
senior consultant, Derek
Mortimore, when he raised the problem.

Competitors allege corruption and fraud in the procurement process. The
chosen coating was put
through testing procedures a second time after the contract was awarded; it
failed all major tests.
More on Gillard’s findings over alleged procurement fraud is available at
This evidence is available under
parliamentary privilege. BP has
withheld damaging information from the parliamentary committee investigating
the UK
government’s support for the BTC project. BP is also trying to cover up the
extent of safety
problems by limiting testing and burying the pipeline without ensuring its

There is a schism within BP, whose Operations department is unwilling to
take responsibility for
such a flawed project. Unless Operations certifies the pipeline as fit for
purpose by year’s end,
BP cannot offload the vast liabilities for the BTC project onto commercial

For more information, contact:

Michael Gillard 07949 964354
Nicholas Hildyard 01258 817518
Anders Lustgarten 0797 3164363
iling BP Pipeline was Experimental Engineering


Source: Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
Azertag, October 27,

The Coordinating Committee on Hydrometeorology and Pollution Monitoring of
the Caspian Sea
/CASPCOM/ commenced its ninth session on October 27, 2004 in Baku. The event
representatives of the World Hydrometeorology Organization and
hydrometeorological services
of the Caspian littoral states but Turkmenistan. A delegation of Turkey is
involved in the session
in a guest capacity.

Founded in 1994, The Coordinating Committee acts on Integrated Program on
Hydrometeorology and Monitoring of Environment in the Caspian Sea Region,
which aims to
establish a regional system for monitoring and exchange of pertinent
information on the state and
pollution of the environment, and providing a framework for comprehensive
studies on changes
in the Caspian Sea water level, as well as on the environmental impact in
the region.

Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan Huseyngulu Bagirov
touched upon the
attention paid to developing hydrometeorology in Azerbaijan and pinpointed a
presidential decree
?Program ?Program of Hydrometeorology Development in Azerbaijan Republic?.
At present,
national bureau make short-term and medium-term air forecasts covering
Caspian Sea area.
Taking into account intensive oil and gas industry development, increase in
cargo transportation,
a need for hydrometeorology services in the Caspian Sea region enhances.

Session participants will discuss the issues of international cooperation
development in
hydrometeorology, oceanographic researches in the Caspian Sea and elect
Committee chairman for 2004-2006.


Source: AssA-Irada, October 31, 2004

President Ilham Aliyev, in a meeting with the chair of the BP Caspian
Development Advisory
Panel Jan Leschly on Friday, stated that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil
pipeline is important not
only for Azerbaijan but for regional cooperation in general.

The panel was established by BP as an independent external advisory entity
to study the Baku-
Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline project in the Caspian region. The panel will
focus on the social,
environmental and economic impact of the BTC project, as well as BP’s
related activities in
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Aliyev said that Azerbaijan’s collaboration with foreign companies is based
on mutual respect
and emphasized that BP is playing a leading role in the realization of oil
and gas projects in the

The President voiced his confidence that the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas
pipeline project will be
implemented successfully as well. He said that all this creates a solid
foundation for building a
strong economy in Azerbaijan and is significant in terms of resolving social
problems in the

Ian Leschly stated that the visit by the delegation has created a suitable
opportunity to consider
the social, economic and environmental problems related to the construction
of the BTC pipeline.
Most of the recommendations made by the Advisory Council last year were
fulfilled by BP.

Leschly also pointed out that the Council assists in realizing the BTC
project in compliance with
international standards and transparency principles in oil and gas


Source: Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
Azertag, November 2,

The World Bank is realizing a $74 mln credit for the project on
“Reconstruction of Water Supply
of Great Baku”, AzerTAj said. The goal of the Project is to implement
short-term improving
arrangements in the water supply system of Baku, in the whole, set ground
for long-term
restoration works in this field.

The Project will study the questions of water demand, improvement of
management of the field,
strengthening of potential and control.

The Project executor is the “Azersu” Stock Company.


Source: CBN, Number 3, 2004

Russia’s second largest oil company, Lukoil, started exploration drilling
along the Azeri section
of the Caspian Sea, government officials said last week. “Lukoil has
commenced the drilling of
the first exploration well on the offshore D222 bloc,” Vice President of the
State Oil Company
(SOCAR) Khoshbakht Yusifzadeh told journalists last Tuesday


Source: Interfax, November 5, 2004

The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) and the European
Bank for
Reconstruction and Development have initialed all documents for a credit of
$170 million to
finance the SOCAR share in the Shah Deniz project, SOCAR President Natik
Aliyev said.

“We agreed all the documents for the credit. The credit agreement will be
signed in December, in
London,” Aliyev said after talks with bank representatives.

Aliyev said earlier that if necessary the EBRD might provide a credit for
more than $170 million.

Of this total, $110 will be used to finance the SOCAR share in the
development of the Shah
Deniz field, and $60 million – on building the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum

Shah-Deniz holds an estimated 625 billion cubic meters of gas and 101
million tonnes of
condensate. Stage-1 development includes the production of 178 billion cubic
meters of gas and
34 million tonnes of condensate. During peak production under Stage-1 the
field will produce 8.4
billion cubic meters of gas and 2 million tonnes of condensate a year. Gas
will be produced from
15 wells at the TPG-500 platform at sea depths of 105 meters. Production
will increase to 16
billion cubic meters a year in the later stages of the project.

Participants in the Shah Deniz project include SOCAR – 10%, BP – 25.5%,
Statoil – 25.5%,
TotalFinaElf – 10%, LukAgip – 10% OIEC (Iran) – 10% and TPAO (Turkey) – 9%.


Source: Interfax, November 9, 2004

The building of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline could be completed in the
middle of May 2005,
State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) President Natik Aliyev
told reporters
on Friday.

“The work building the pipeline is going well now. The construction of
Azerbaijan’s section will
be completed in late December. Contractors in Turkey have promised to finish
the construction
by the end of March, but we are allowing for the work’s completion in the
middle of May 2005,”
Aliyev said.

This schedule does not allow for the planned timing for extracting the first
oil under the full-
fledged development of the Azeri-Chirag- Gunashli deposits and filling the

“We will receive the first oil in January. Three weeks are needed for the
oil to reach the coastal
terminal at Sangachal, and then the reservoirs have to be filled. Another
one and a half months or
more are needed for filling the pipeline to the Azerbaijani border, a
further month for filling the
Georgian section and two to two and a half months for Turkey” to do so,
Aliyev said.


Source: AssA-Irada, November 13, 2004

The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) has exported
6,233,000 tons (in six
portions) of the Azeri Light profit, produced from the “Chirag” platform
within the Azeri-Chirag-
Gunashli project, through the Baku-Supsa western pipeline this year.
The company plans to export the 7th oil consignment amounted to 1 million
barrels via the
western route by the end of November. British Arcadia Petroleum has become
the purchaser of
the consignment.

SOCAR has postponed export of the 8th oil consignment (this year’s last
portion) of Azeri Light
profit till early in 2005. This occurred due to changes in the loading
schedule at the Supsa port of

SOCAR exported 8.1 million barrels of oil (1.107 million tons) through the
Baku-Supsa pipeline
in 2003.


Source: Baku Today, November 17, 2004

The international conference with the participation of Energy Ministers of
the Caspian/Black Sea
basin countries, opened in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Baku, last Saturday.

The conference was organized at the initiative of Francois Lamorod, General
Director of the
Euroƒean Commission for Transƒort and Energy, Turan reported today.

The conference was aimed at the development of cooperation for increasing
the safety of power
suƒƒlies from the Casƒian/Black Sea region to the EU countries, as well as
at develoƒment of
energy sector of countries of the region under the EU assistance.

The conference was attended by Energy Ministers of Azerbaijan, Belarus,
Georgia, Iran,
Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekstan.
Armenia was
reƒresented by Levon Vardanyan, head of foreign relations deƒartment of the
Ministry for Energy
of Armenia. In his interview with Azeri journalists, he said that Armenia
was ready to sell its
electricity to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Reƒublic in Azerbaijan.

A joint declaration was adopted by the results of the meeting.


Source: BBC Monitoring Service – United Kingdom; November 15, 2004

Baku, 15 November: The construction costs of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC)
oil pipeline will
exceed the project budget, Trend quoted the SOCAR [State Oil Company of the
Republic] president, Natiq Aliyev, as telling journalists.

He said more than 3bn dollars had been spent on the project so far. It was
earlier believed that the
BTC construction would require 2.95bn dollars (the total value of the
project is 3.6bn dollars,
including in accrued credit interest and expenses on filling the pipeline).

“The project will be more expensive than originally planned because there
were major delays in
the construction in Georgia and Turkey,” Aliyev said. He added that in
Turkey the delays were
caused by the failure to fulfill some tasks on time, especially the
logistical one.

“Due to the fact that the Turkish section of the pipeline is complicated,
all material and
equipment should have been ordered and workforce figures calculated
beforehand. But all this
was done with serious delays as the project did not receive the go-ahead on
time because of the
BTC opponents who are trying to hamper its construction even now,” the head
of SOCAR said.

He said the appreciation of the project, which “may make up 5-7 per cent”,
is not taking place
through the fault of its sponsors or contractors.

“The BTC pipeline has very strong adversaries who are using all possible and
impossible tricks in
an attempt to hamper its implementation. As a result of this and not because
someone hasn’t
worked well enough, we have lost a lot of time which is causing the
appreciation of the project,”
he stressed.

Aliyev also said the construction of the pipeline is in its final stage – 98
per cent of the entire
work has been done. In Azerbaijan, the construction work is almost over.
Several crossings over
railway lines and the Kura river remain to be built and pumping and
compressor stations to
undergo trials and be tested. In Georgia, a 3-km section of the pipe remains
to be welded. In
Turkey, the work is progressing at a good pace and, according to the Turkish
side, is expected to
finish in March 2005.

However, Aliyev said that the work on pumping and compressor stations in
Turkey would not be
fully completed by the time the pipeline construction is over, therefore, a
temporary scheme is
being prepared according to which the pumps and compressors will first be
installed to receive
early oil, and the work will be continued later on. The SOCAR president
hopes that the first
tanker carrying Azerbaijani oil will be dispatched from the Ceyhan terminal
in June 2005.

Aliyev also said that a meeting of the BTC Co. steering committee would be
held in London on
15-16 December, when shareholders will summarize the results of 2004 and
approve the
programme and project budget for 2005.

The BTC project partners are: BP (30.1 per cent), SOCAR (25.00 per cent),
UNOCAL (8.90 per
cent), Statoil (8.71 per cent), TPAO (6.53 per cent), ENI (5.00 per cent),
Itochu (3.40 per cent),
ConocoPhillips (2.50 per cent), INPEX (2.50 per cent), Total (5.00 per cent)
and Amerada Hess
(2.36 per cent).


Source: Arminfo, November 3, 2004

Population of the Caucasian leopard which is on the verge of disappearance
is restored in
Armenia, WWF Representative in Armenia Karen Manvelyan told ARMINFO that in
with different calculation of zoologists in Armenia, there are some 8-12
Caucasian leopards in the
country, with the biggest of them has a 2 meter length and weights 90 kg.
Restoration of the
leopards’ population in Armenia is carried out under the program of WWF,
which allocated
$16,000 for its implementation. Karen Manvelyan said that under the program,
measures are
taken to estimate the zone of leopards’ inhabitancy, and groups combating
poaching are formed at
Shikahogh forest reserve, Syunik region, Armenia. Manvelyan said that
restoration of the
population of leopards is closely connected with population of Bezoar goats,
moufflons, toe deer,
and wild boars that are also on the verge of disappearance. Manvelyan said
that a forest reserve
“Arevik” is expected to be created for protection of the leopards at
Zangezur mountain range.


Source: A1 Plus, November 8, 2004

Yerevan Municipality Monitoring Group for Conservancy studied activity of 35
subjects in Yerevan and fixed: there are no sewer outlet networks in 26 of
them. As a result the
industrial waste of the establishments – chemical, food and sewerage, are
thrown into Getar and
Hrazdan River. 7 out of 26 are located in Hrazdan C nyon.

Romik Kosemyan, head of Municipality Department on Conservancy, has informed
today that
the owners of the subjects have been fined. According to Kosemyan,
Municipality has worked
out a project, under which all the managing subjects running in Yerevan will
be brought to the
legislative field beginning from 2005.


Source: A1 Plus, November 8, 2004

Irrigation line 135 kilometers at length was drawn for preservation of the
green zones and
protection of them from fires. Romik Kosemyan, head of Municipality
Department on
Conservancy, assures the action will enable to take care of the green zone
of about 600 hectares.

In case of illegal cutting of the trees registered in “The Red Book”
Municipality will apply a new
price for damage compensation – $1000 for each tree cut. For the time being
the old punishment
is still valid – a fine of up to 100,000 drams in case of causing damages


Source: Arminfo, November 8, 2004

FAO has provided Armenia with almost $400,000 for implementing the program
Development of Mountainous Districts.”

At a working meeting today UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident
representative Lise
Grande said that the program is to develop economy, enhance social equality
and protect
environment in the country’s highlands. The program is expected to help the
local population to
overcome poverty through optimal and effective use of natural resources. The
illegal felling of
trees is leading to land degradation and deteriorated agriculture. A
relevant strategy will make
accessible drinking and irrigation water, key roads, markets and information
in the highlands.

The program director, deputy territorial administration and infrastructure
coordination minister
Vache Terteryan says that a pilot project will be implemented in the village
of Aragats,
Aragatsotn region and the village of Brnakot in Syunik. The local residents
will be provided with
food and technical assistance. The project will be carried out for 2 years
to provide a
methodological basis for a program.


Source: Arminfo, November 8, 2004

Yerevan’s Municipality in cooperation with Environment Protection Ministry
and State Water
Economy Department has drafted a program for 2005 to legislatively control
the enterprises
whose work directly affects the state of the capital’s reservoirs.

The head of the department Romik Kosemyan says that the program envisages
inspections at all
the capital’s enterprises. 26 of 35 companies inspected in 2004 had no right
for spillway. They
were fined and warned that unless they stop polluting reservoirs they will
be closed down.
Process water treatment plants at 10 of 24 enterprises proved to be

There are some 12,000 enterprises in Yerevan.


Source: ArmenPress, November 10, 2004

Funded by 2020 Project, McKinsey and Co consulting agency is developing a
project on
prospects of tourism development in Armenia. The Armenian Ministry of
Economy and Trade
and AEPLAC supports the agency.

Yesterday the head of McKinsey, Andreas Mershner, Moscow office manager
Avetik Chalabian
and an adviser Nikolai Shikhvtsov unveiled their findings in Armenia Mariot
hotel. The
presentation was attended by representatives of respective agencies, travel
agencies, public and
donor organizations.

According to Mr. Shikhovtsov, the rise in the number of tourists from 41,000
in 1999 to 206,000
in 2003 is very impressive. Some 30% of increased tourist flow was connected
with celebrations
of Christianity as a state religion in Armenia. However, this indicator is
by three times lower that
Armenian used to have during the Soviet Union. In the words of the adviser,
a concerning fact is
that only 15% of the visitors are “true tourists.”

According to McKinsey research findings, only Yerevan is in the position to
provide proper
facilities to international travelers. Other regions of Armenia lack such.
According to A.
Chalabian, the size of investment in tourism industry is not small but it
should be coordinated.
Otherwise, they may yield short-term results.


Source: Investigative Journalist of Armenia / HETQ ONLINE, November 10, 2004

“When we reached the village, we saw that waste water was flowing through
the village streets;
the stench was unbearable. It was an unsanitary situation, to say the
least,” recalled Derenik
Mkhitaryan, the head of the Kotayk Marzpet’s Office’s Department of
Agriculture and Ecology.
This stench was emanating from Garni, famous for its four-thousand-year-old
pagan temple. The
sewers were blocked, and chemical waste from the local tannery flooded the
village. After the
National Security Service sounded the alarm, officials from the Marzpet’s
Office visited the
tannery to find out what was going on.

The tannery, Sazovar Ltd., was established in the early 1990s in a barn that
had been built thirty
years earlier. It is owned by Samvel Harutiunyan, Gagik Yeghiazaryan, and
Zorik Grigoryan.
When we visited the factory it looked abandoned; there was a pile of hides
on the floor and some
outdated equipment. We were accompanied be a relative of one of the owners,
Yeghiazaryan. Their accountant, Atom Martirosyan, answered our questions.
“Yes,” he admitted,
“Sometimes people here complain about the smell.” The accountant noted that
they were
repairing the blocked sewer. It is possible, meanwhile, that extremely toxic
substances have
already mixed with the local drinking water. And the leakage of contaminated
water into
farmland may have tragic consequences.

As long ago as 1999, villagers complained in writing to the local mayor. The
mayor himself
confirmed that such an alarm had been raised and urgent measures had been
taken to keep the
toxic waste out of the drinking water supply. That was five years ago, but
the problem is still all
too real for the people of Garni.

The head of the Abovyan Inspection Service of the Ministry of Ecology,
Mkrtich Vanoyan, noted
that his agency plans to carry out an inspection of the factory at the end
of this year. But the
deputy head of the State Anti-Epidemic Sanitary Inspection of the Ministry,
Marietta Basilisyan,
explained, “In the past, a company like that could only be licensed after
they received a positive
evaluation from our inspectors. This procedure has not been in place for a
few years now, ‘so as
not to create additional obstacles for producers.’ But a necessary condition
does exist now- when
a manufacturer is licensed; it must inform our agency and be registered by
us. Often, businesses
conceal the fact that they have been licensed and operate secretly,
underground. We haven’t been
informed about the factory in Garni at all. We haven’t heard of it or
received any complaint in

The tannery has successfully avoided any control by state agencies, control
that they say
“complicates matters.”

The accountant assured us that they have certain documents but didn’t show
them to us, saying,
“They are kept by the director and he is not here.”

We found out that Sazovar, Ltd. received permission from the Agency on Water
Management of the Ministry of Ecology to use water from the village drinking
water network,
along with a document outlining permissible limits of discharge into the
local sewer system. This
system, by the way, flows into the Garni Gorge so popular with locals and
tourists alike.

Srbuhi Harutiunyan, chairman of the Social and Ecological Association, told
us that dangerous
substances were used in the tanning process. “6-valent chromium compounds
and acids are used.
When working with 6-valent chromium, the factory must have a local station
with proper
equipment for preliminary purification. The purification station can be
build only after the design
has been approved by the corresponding services of the Ministries of Ecology
and Health. In such
stations, hazardous substances must be ‘fished out’ of the waste and
salvaged. If the salvaged
substances are dangerous for the environment by their chemical composition,
they must be
reprocessed, after which they should be transported to another location.
Permission for this is
given by officials from the sanitary service of the Ministry of Ecology.”

In the past, in order to open a tannery, a company had to submit a design
that included a
description of the purification equipment to be used. The design had to be
approved by the local
sanitary agency, which would then supervise construction and be involved in
the opening of the
factory. Today, this procedure is no longer followed.

Was Sazovar Ltd. given permission or supervised when it went into operation
years ago?

To find out, we went to the head of the Abovyan branch of the Anti-Epidemic
Sanitary Inspection
of the Ministry of Ecology, A. Melikyan. He told us, “The factory has been
in operation for a
long time. I can’t say whether they have permission or not.” It turned out
that years ago, an
inspection of the Garni tannery was conducted by the Department of Ecology
of the Kotayk
Marzpet’s Office. The inspection revealed that the factory didn’t meet
sanitary and ecological
standards. There was no purification equipment; toxic waste was dumped into
the sewer system,
and flowed from there into the Garni Gorge. Following this inspection,
production was shut
down and the owners promised to dig septic pits to purify the waste. We
weren’t shown these
pits, although we were assured that they existed.

The fact is, the tannery in Garni violates every safety standard. “Even if
septic pits exists, it
doesn’t matter, they represent time bombs not only for this village, but for
the entire population of
the republic,” Srbuhi Harutiunyan warned. “In accordance with existing
anti-epidemic and
sanitary standards, the use of ‘absorbing pits’ is forbidden, since
substances that are extremely
hazardous to the health mix with groundwater and penetrate agricultural
fields and pastures. They
can penetrate below the earth-crust into deeper layers to reach the Ararat
Valley from Garni, and
even farther.”


Source: Azg/Arm, November 10, 2004

The negotiations with the Japanese investors are on, at present. The
Japanese envisage getting of
additional energy sources through biogas. By the end of the year the details
of the program will
be specified. It is envisaged to build a plant in the territory of the

By the way, it is high time to regulate the household rubbish accumulated in
Yerevan. Perhaps,
the situation will change after the adoption of the law on garbage
management. Even in the center
of the city we may come across piles of rubbish. The rubbish is not always
taken away to the

This is the beginning. Perhaps, this will create grounds for construction of
rubbish proceeding


Source: The Times/UK, November 16, 2004

The Metsamor atomic plant looms menacingly behind Eduard Kenyasyan as he
offers a slice of
homegrown watermelon on the end of his knife. `Nuclear melon?’ He asks with
a mischievous
grin. After living next to this Chernobyl-era power plant on a seismic fault
in southern Armenia
for 30 years, he is used to the threat of nuclear disaster. `If anything
happens, it will affect the
whole country, not just me,’ he says, shrugging.

The rest of Europe has not taken such a relaxed approach. The European Union
has lobbied hard
for the plant, just ten miles from the border with Turkey, to close this
year. It says that the
pressurized water-reactor, based on first generation Soviet technology, may
not withstand another
serious earthquake. Alexis Louber, the EU’s representative in Armenia,
caused an uproar recently
when he said that keeping the plant open was the same as `flying around a
potential nuclear

Metsamor was built in the 1970s and shut down after a big earthquake in
1988, which killed at
least 25,000 people in northern Armenia and hit 5.0 on the Richter scale
around Metsamor. Yet
the Armenian Government reopened the plant’s second unit in 1995 because of
severe power
shortages and now says that it can continue working until 2016 – and
possibly 2031.

The resulting dispute pits growing Western concerns over obsolete Soviet
nuclear facilities
against Armenia’s determination to preserve its independence and energy
security. The EU has
campaigned for the closure of dozens of atomic plants in the former Soviet
Union since
Chernobyl, and its concerns have intensified since expanding to Russia’s

Although Metsamor uses different – and safer – technology from that at
Chernobyl, it lacks
secondary containment facilities to prevent radioactive leakage in the event
of an accident,
European experts say.

In addition, nuclear fuel has to be flown to Yerevan from Russia and then
driven along a bumpy
road to Metsamor once a year, because Armenia’s border with Turkey is

Jacques Vantomme, the EU’s acting Ambassador to Georgia and Armenia, said:
“if there is an
earthquake tomorrow, would it create a nuclear disaster? I don’t know – it
depends on the size of
the earthquake.”

`The EU’s policy is that we want the closure of the plant at the earliest
possible date. This type of
nuclear plant is not built to EU standards and upgrading it cannot be done
at a reasonable cost.’

The EU has offered Ć·?70 million in financial aid to shut the plant and
develop alternative energy
sources, but Vartan Oksanyan, the Armenian Foreign Minister, described that
as “peanuts”.
Metsamor not only provides 40 per cent of Armenia’s energy, it also sells
excess power to
neighboring Georgia. Decommissioning the plant alone could cost more than
Ć·?270 million,
according to local experts. With no oil and gas, and scant wind and water
resources, Armenia has
few alternative energy sources.

The mostly Christian nation is also reluctant to rely on imported energy
because of its history of
hostility with its Islamic neighbors.

“Armenia knows this plant has to go,” Mr. Oksanyan said, but let’s make sure
we have the
capacity to replace it before we close it down.’

Power shortages between 1989 and 1995 have left deep scars on the country.
Almost all
Armenians can recall sleeping in multiple layers of clothing or waking to
use their one-hour of
power each day.

People cutting wood for fuel devastated Armenia’s forests. Gagik Markosyan,
the head of the
Metsamor plant, said: “I saw the energy crisis myself. We can’t talk about
closing the plant down

He said that more than Ć·?27 million had been spent on improving safety since
the plant reopened.
British experts have been training staff there for the past three years.

The second unit, opened in 1980, was originally designed to work until 2010,
but as it was shut
for six years, it could now work until 2016. Tests by Russian experts on
similar reactors show
that Metsamor could, in theory, operate until 2031.

“As an engineer, I would not exclude that,'” Mr. Markosyan said. For him, as
for most
Armenians, a new nuclear plant is the only viable alternative. The EU is
reluctant to foot the bill,
however, arguing that Armenia, without the Soviet Union, would never have
borne the hidden
costs of development and decommissioning.

“We need the plant,'” Mr Kenyasyan says. “Like it or not, we can’t live
without it.”


65 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472 USA
(617) 926-TREE (8733)

November 10, 2004

YEREVAN–Hundreds of Armenian farmers and agribusiness owners joined experts
from 27
countries late last month for an international conference on ways of
boosting Armenia’s vital
agriculture sector.

The three-day forum organized by the Ministry of Agriculture was attended by
senior Armenian
officials and representatives of Western donor agencies and other
international institutions. The
latter pledged continued assistance to the sector, which generates at least
20 percent of the
Armenia’s Gross Domestic Product and employs approximately 40 percent of the
labor force.

The October 28-30 conference, which was attended by more than 500
participants, included a
report by representatives of the Armenia Tree Project (ATP) titled
“Community Driven
Conservation Development: Lessons Learned From the Armenia Tree Project.”

The paper was presented by Karla M. Wesley, PhD, on behalf of ATP and
co-authored by ATP
staff members Mher Sadoyan and Anahit Gharibyan. During the presentation,
Dr. Wesley, an
affiliated researcher at the University of California at Davis, explored the
development lessons” learned from Armenians in nearly 500 locations
throughout the country
who planted over 530,000 trees with ATP between 1994-2004.

Discussing its founding in 1994, she explained that ATP was created to
address the ecological
and social importance of reforesting the country. “The primary goal of ATP
continues to be the
assistance of the Armenian people in using trees to improve their standard
of living and protect
the global environment. As an extension of these projects, ATP also aims to
promote self-
sufficiency, aiding primarily those with the fewest resources first, and
conserve Armenia’s
indigenous ecosystem,” she stated.

“ATP began an innovative program to establish social contracts with
individual communities
through mayors and institutions,” she continued. To be eligible, ATP sites
must meet three key
criteria: good irrigation, sufficient soil quality, and a highly motivated
resident population. “This
paper focuses on the significant importance of the last criteria: resident
motivation, or what
experts in the development field call ‘community buy-in,'” explained Dr.

During her presentation, Dr. Wesley explained the method of coppicing, in
which ATP staff
rejuvenate declining forests by cutting tree stumps with intact root systems
to select the strongest
shoot for successful rejuvenation. “Since 1999, these coppicing projects
have gradually grown
from three hectares a year to 210 hectares in 2004,” she emphasized.

Dr. Wesley also noted that ATP operates one-hectare nurseries in the
refugee-villages of Karin
and Khachpar, employing 29 workers there and producing a total of 50,000
seedlings each year.
She also pointed out that a six-hectare nursery was established this year in
Vanadzor, which is
already growing 400,000 trees for mountain reforestation.

Finally, Dr. Wesley described ATP’s sustainable mountain development
program, which
addresses the growing concern about Armenia’s forest loss and addresses the
severe socio-
economic needs of rural communities. Located in one of the poorest regions
of Armenia, the
Getik River Valley north of Lake Sevan was chosen by ATP for a model
project, and 17 families
in Aygut chose to participate in ATP’s innovative backyard nursery project.

“Central to this reforestation project’s success has been its use of social
contracts to establish
rules of interaction that encourage self-determination and autonomy in
communities traumatized
by war and severe poverty,” she stated. “But the greatest lesson to be
learned may be the
willingness of the Armenian people to care about their environment. Common
beliefs that
Armenians are not interested in environmental issues have been disproved by
the ATP

“By developing long-term relationships and providing Armenian citizens with
the necessary
skills and tools, ATP helps Armenians restore native tree species critical
for Caucasian
biodiversity while reclaiming self-sufficiency for their families and
communities,” concluded Dr.

After the presentation, ATP Deputy Country Director Mher Sadoyan responded
to questions from
the audience. A number of international forestry experts were in attendance,
including Lara
Peterson and DeAndra Beck of the US Forest Service International Program in
Washington, and
Zvi Herman, director of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development’s Center for
International Agricultural Development.

Mr. Herman responded quite positively to the presentation, and he was
especially delighted when
he learned that one of ATP’s nursery directors received training in Israel,
and that Israeli
irrigation systems were being utilized at ATP’s nurseries. Ms. Beck and Ms.
Peterson were also
enthusiastic about the presentation, especially after having toured ATP’s
Karin Nursery earlier in
the week.

For additional information about the First International AgroForum in
Armenia, visit
For information about Armenia Tree Project and its
programs, visit


Source: Aravot Daily, November 13, 2004

Recently the members of the project “Birds of Armenia” have found out, that
a villager in Lori
region keeps a Black Vulture in his yard.

It is already a year that this vulture lives here. To insure the security of
this bird that is included
in the Red Book, we do not dare to mention its location and the owner’s
name. The thing is that
the poachers have great interest towards this bird. Why this man keeps the
bird in his house is not
clear yet, however, by the assurance of the neighbors there were many people
offering him
money for that bird that he never accepted. According to the information of
the “Birds of
Armenia”, the vulture came to the yard of that villager by its own will,
however the “naive” man
harried to chain the unexpected guest and made it a family member. According
to the information
of Mamikon Ghasabyan, expert, the reason of weakness of the vulture may be
the fact that it had
been fed on an animal corpse poisoned by a rodent (Fight against rodents in
this area is carried
out by chemicals). However, it is also possible that the bird had escaped
from another home
preserve. According to the information of the expert many people try to make
raptors as pets, but
their boast does not last long, as raptors feed on meat. The cases are not
rare when people being
unable to take care of birds bring them to Yerevan Zoo. And quite often the
Zoo cannot cover the
expanses of its survival either, and thus refuses to take the bird. Raptor,
which lives in human
environment even for a short period of time, becomes a helpless food beggar.
raptor is allowed to fly only 5-10 meters, and consequently looses
flexibility of muscles, ability to
get food on its own, etc.

Thus, after living in bondage many of the raptors are unable to get used to
previous life style.
According to “Birds of Armenia”, at present the population of Black Vulture
are at the high risk
of disappearance that why it is included in the Red Book of Armenia and in
the list of IUCN. It is
worth to mention that Black Vulture’s clutch consists of one egg only.
According to the
“Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds” there are only 30-35 Black
Vultures in Armenia,
which breed in Khosrov Preserve. According to the data of 2004 the
population of Black Vulture
was added with 7 more nestlings. Mr. Ghasabyan mentioned, that they managed
to put wing tags
to 6 of them, while last year they succeeded only with 3.

The experts, who are worried about the fate of this bird, have promised to
do their best to make
its life better.



On November 18, 2004 the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued
a statement on
the Kyoto Protocol. He noted that he received the Russian Federation’s
instrument of ratification
for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change.
He congratulated President Putin and the Russian Federation for their
leadership in making it
possible for the Protocol to enter into force — as it will, 90 days from
November 18, on 16
February 2005.

Secretary-General stressed that it was a historic step forward in the
world’s efforts to combat a
truly global threat. Most important, it ends a long period of uncertainty.
Those countries that
have ratified the Protocol, and which have been trying to reduce emissions
of greenhouse gases
even before its entry into force, now have a legally binding obligation to
do so. Businesses that
have been exploring the realm of green technology now have a strong signal
about the market
viability of their products and services. And the financial community and
insurance industry,
which have been trying to “put a price” on the risks associated with climate
change, now have a
stronger basis for their decision-making on incentives and corporate

All countries must do their utmost to combat climate change and to keep it
from undermining
efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Mr. Annan urged those
countries that have not ratified the Protocol to ratify it and limit their

The parties to the Climate Change Convention will have their next major
meeting in Buenos
Aires from 6 to 17 December. I hope they will use that occasion to seize
the promising
possibilities that have been opened up by this major development.



During November 16-17, 2004 the environmental issues affecting the Armenian
capital Yerevan
were the focus of a two-day meeting which brought together more than 40
representatives from
the municipality, ministries, academia and NGOs.

The event organized by the OSCE Office in Yerevan, the Aarhus Centre and the
Mayor’s Office
highlighted national and international legislation as well as the
implementation of the Aarhus

Jeannette Kloetzer, Economic/Environmental Officer at the OSCE Office,
stressed the
importance of the participation of the civil society in discussions and
decision-making processes
on environmental protection within the framework of the Aarhus Convention.
She noted that there are linkages between environmental stress and potential
social tensions, thus
referring to the OSCE-UNDP-UNEP Environment and Security Initiative, which
offers each of
the southern Caucasus countries a combined pool of expertise and resources
to deal with
environmental and security concerns.

Dr. Lia Sieghard, an expert in the field invited by the OSCE Office,
introduced the subject of
good governance and best practice of sustainable water and waste management
and European
Union legislation.

Vano Vardanyan, Yerevan’s Deputy Mayor noted the necessity for continued
dialogue and co-
operation between official and public stakeholders on solving the
environmental problems of the

Proposals from the workshop was summarized by a coordinating group and
submitted to the
government, the municipality and NGOs to design and implement targeted
follow-up activities.


Source :IUCN, October 28, 2004

The World Summit on Sustainable Development recognized the importance of
programmes for the environmentally sound, effective and efficient use of
soil fertility. A sound
legal and institutional framework for managing soils is not only critical
for food production, but
also for biological diversity conservation and poverty alleviation. This
Guide to Drafting
Sustainable Soils Legislation, the latest in the IUCN Environmental Law
Programme (ELP)
series, addresses all of these aspects. It also responds to Resolution 2.59
from the 2nd IUCN
World Conservation Congress, which called upon the IUCN ELP to “prepare
guidelines and
explanatory material relating to principles and elements of national
legislation and policy to assist
States to manage their specific soil degradation and land degradation
problems”. This Guide is
the result of the efforts of the IUCN CEL Sustainable Soils Specialist
Group, with support from
the IUCN ELC and the International Water Management Institute.


Tbilisi, Georgia
October 30, 2004

On October 30, 2004 The Greens Movement of Georgia / Friends of the Earth –
Georgia has
organized the workshop for Georgian NGOs on the issue of Genetically
Modified Organisms
(GMOs) and biosafety. The workshop was organized in the ranges of project:
biosafety in South-East Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia” that is
implemented by Friends
of the Earth Europe in collaboration with FoE-Croatia (South-East Europe
Component) and FoE-
Georgia (Caucasus and Central Asian Component). The workshop was first event
in the ranges of
mentioned project and it mainly aimed at introduction of Georgian NGOs in
the main objectives
and activities of the project.

The workshop was attended by following NGOs: Union 21st Century, Young
Association “Bio-Rhythm”, Society for Harmonic Human Development, Institute
for Ecology
and Justice, Environmental Information and Development Center, Animal
Right’s Protection
Union “LOBO”, and students of State University. The workshop was organized
in the hall of
Regional Environmental Center for Caucasus.

Participants of the workshop discussed different issues of GMOs and
biosafety and necessary
activities in this direction. Especially was emphasized the need for
increasing participation of
NGOs in the process of creation of National Biosafety Legislation in
Georgia. Also was stressed
the urgent need for precise investigation of GMOs import and dissemination
in the country.

General view of participants was that it is very essential to raise the
awareness of population and
especially of NGO sector itself in order to overcome that lack of interest
towards GMO problems,
which exists currently in the country and in the region.

It was decided to create mail-list on GMO and biosafety issues in order to
simplify the exchange
of information between interested NGOs and ensure their access to the
resources that already
exist in some NGOs, namely in the Greens Movement of Georgia / FoE-Georgia.
In the ranges of
the project FoE-Georgia will also create the web-site on GMO issues that
will be available in
Georgian and Russian. Organizations that are interested to be included in
the mentioned mail-list
can express their interest by sending the letter to: [email protected]

In the course of November and December similar meetings with different
sectors will be
organized in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. At the end of the project also
will be organized
Regional Meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia that will also include some training
component for NGOs
on practical GMO campaigning issues.

Organizations interested in more detailed information regarding project and
their possible
involvement in project activities can contact the Greens Movement of Georgia
/ FoE-Georgia at:
[email protected]

George Magradze
GMO Campaign Coordinator

The Greens Movement of Georgia / FoE-Georgia
182, D. Agmashenebeli ave, Tbilisi, Georgia, 0112
Mushtaidi Park, Greens House
Tel.: (995 32) 35 19 14
Fax: (995 32) 35 16 74

[email protected] (NEW MAIL !!!) for general issues
[email protected] (NEW MAIL !!!) for GMO issues
[email protected] (NEW MAIL !!!) for waste issues


Tbilisi, November 18, 2004

On November 18, 2004, Save the Children was held an official launch event
for Environmental
Investment Programme’s (EIP) Small Grants Programme for NGO Capacity
Building along the
SCP and BTC Pipeline Routes.

The two and half-year programme is launched under the EIP initiated and
funded by BP and its
partners in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Company (BTC) and the South
Caucasus Pipeline
Company (SCP).

The programme will be implemented by Save the Children (SC) together with
its local partner
organization, Noah’s Ark Center for Recovery of Endangered Species (NACRES).
The goal of
the programme is to develop the capacities of local NGOs operating in the
districts crossed by
BTC and SCP pipeline routes to engage citizens in environmental awareness,
public education
and social development. This will be accomplished through the provision of
small grants to
promote sound environmental practices and enhance knowledge. A key priority
for the
programme is developing local capacities through training to ensure

The target regions for the programme are Kvemo Kartli and
Samtskhe-Javakheti, specifically the
seven districts of Gardabani, Marneuli, Tsalka, Tetri Tskaro, Akhaltsikhe,
Borjomi and Adigeni.

For further information please contact Save the Children:

Natia Deisadze
Programme Manager

Tel: (995 32) 996400; 995454
Fax: (995 32) 99843
E-mail: [email protected]

Tel: (995 32) 996400; 995454
Fax:(995 32) 998943
E-mail:[email protected]


Source: Armenian NGO News in Brief – 10/11/2004

On October 15-17, 2004 the Academy for Educational Development, with
financial support of
USAID and in collaboration with World Learning and the AAA NGO Training and
Center, organized the NGOs 2004 Conference and Exhibition. Almost 280 NGOs
from all
regions of Armenia participated in this event, introducing their programs
and discussing new
ways of networking with stakeholders. Representatives of state structures,
international and donor
organizations and experts also participated in the event, which highlighted
various sectors of
NGO activities. NGO representatives shared their experience and knowledge
and discussed
common issues. Among the topics addressed during 14 working
sessions/roundtables of the
conference were NGO Collaboration with State and Local Governments, NGO
with International Donor Organizations and Diaspora, NGO Collaboration with
the Business
Community and Mass Media, Developing Regional and Community-Based NGOs, NGO
Code of
Conduct, NGO Legislation, NGOs and Poverty Reduction, NGOs and Fighting
Corruption. During the conference, NGOC specialists A. Lazarian, N.
Harutiunyan and A.
Kurdova spoke respectively on the Armenian Picture of NGO-Business
Cooperation: Analysis
and Suggestions; Strategic Approach to Fundraising; NGO Legislation and

Contact: Academy for International Development
10 Aygedzor St.
Tel.: (374-1) 26-69-36; 26-69-87
E-mail: [email protected]


Source: European ECO-Forum Digest N 86, November 2004

Geneva, November 1, 2004, 3rd Working Group of the Parties to the Aarhus
Representatives of European environmental citizens’ organizations accused
the European
Commission and several EU Member States of preventing, on the pan-European
level, public
participation rights on GMO-related decision equally to other types of
decisions with a potential
impact on the environment. This strong accusation came after four meetings
of a special working
group of Parties and Signatories to the Aarhus Convention did not lead to a
result, making it
unsure whether in May 2005, the Second Meeting of Parties of that Convention
can put an end to
the exemption that this Convention now makes for GMO- related decisions.

The Aarhus Convention, agreed in 1998, and dealing with Access to
Information, Public
Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters has fairly
detailed rules about how
to involve the public in decision-making, but it allows national governments
to ignore these rules
when it comes to GMO-related decisions. The First Meeting of Parties
decided, in Lucca (Italy),
October 2002, to try to put an end to this exception and put its officials
to work.

John Hontelez, Secretary General of the European Environmental Bureau and
Chair of the Public
Participation Campaigns Committee of the European ECO- Forum said: “Since
the Lucca
meeting, the European Commission and several EU-countries apparently have
changed their
minds and decided to oppose such a change. The EU-coordination is being used
to put pressure
on other EU Member States to take part in this obstruction. This
coordination takes place behind
closed doors, so we do not even know which countries take which positions”.

Serhiy Vykhryst, a member of the European ECO-Forum from Ukraine added: “We
felt it was
time to openly attack the European Commission and some countries on their
lack of political will
and opposition to establish equal legal rights for all citizens of Europe
with regards to
participation in decisions with regards to GMOs. We think that the
opposition is based on
concerns by industry (represented in this discussion by Croplife
International) and pro-GMO
countries that public participation might slow down the introduction of GMOs
for use in
agriculture and food production. Any country that claims to be democratic
should be prepared to
face public scrutiny for such decisions, exactly the same way as when it
aims to allow the
construction of nuclear power plants, chemical facilities etc. It is extra-
ordinary where “new”
democracies east of the EU want the Aarhus Convention to give the public
such democratic
rights; some “old” democracies now appear to undermine this process.

The Working Group of Parties of the Aarhus Convention decided to resume the
discussion on the
February 1st,2005.

For more information contact:
Serhiy Vykhryst,
European ECO Forum expert,
Email: [email protected];

John Hontelez,
Chair Public Participation Campaign Committee of the
European ECO Forum,
[email protected]

The third meeting of the Working Group took place on 1-3 November 2004 and a
number of
issues, including status of ratification of the Convention and the PRTR
Protocol, preparations for
the second meeting of the Parties (25-27 May 2005, Almaty, Kazakhstan),
progress in different
areas of work, such as PRTR, GMOs, Access to justice, Electronic information
tools, capacity-
building, Clearing- house and compliance mechanisms, Public participation in
forums and in strategic decision-making and others. It also discussed the
work programme for
2006- 2008, Long-term strategic plan for the Convention and financial

Documents of the meeting are available at:


Source: Russian Environmental Digest — the world’s major English-language
press on
environmental issues in Russia 18 – 24 October 2004, Vol. 6, No. 43

Moscow — The Russian parliament voted yesterday to ratify the Kyoto
international climate
change protocol, leaving it just months away from coming into effect.

The deputies voted 334-73 in favor. Now the 126 countries that have endorsed
it have until 2012
to cut their emissions of six greenhouse gases to 5.2% below their 1990

The protocol needed 55 industrialized countries representing 55% of the
world’s greenhouse gas
emissions to sign it before it could come into effect.

The United States, which was responsible for 36% of the emissions in 1990,
and Australia, has
already refused their signatures, so Russia was the last hope of saving it
from collapse.

The vote will be seen as a sign that Moscow is keen to curry favor with
Brussels after the EU’s
bruising attacks on its human rights abuses in recent months.

The bill has still to be passed by the upper house of parliament and signed
into law by President
Vladimir Putin, but these steps are regarded as a formality.

The protocol will come into effect 90 days after it is ratified by Russia.

The EU welcomed the vote last night and the French ecology minister, Serge
Lepeltier, said it
was “a truly decisive event”.

But the US expressed no qualms about its own reluctance to sign. “We do not
believe that the
Kyoto protocol is something that is realistic for the United States and we
have no intention of
signing or ratifying it,” state department spokesman, Adam Ereli, said.

Mr. Putin procrastinated over the bill while key aides warned that Russian
ratification would
cripple the country’s economic development.

Bu he publicly announced that he would ratify it after a meeting with EU
officials in May, on the
same day as the EU dropped its objections to Russia joining the World Trade

Mr. Putin said at the time: “The fact that the European Union has met us
halfway at the
negotiations on membership in the WTO cannot but influence Moscow’s positive
attitude towards
ratification of the Kyoto protocol.”

Mikhail Delyagin, head of the Institute for Globalisation Problems and a
former government
economic adviser, said it was “a purely political step”. He said the EU’s
emphasis on human
rights could have led to a “storm of criticism in Europe” about Mr. Putin’s
recent political
reforms, which enable him to appoint regional governors and further increase
his strength in

“Signing Kyoto is a bone thrown to Europe to make them shut up,” he said.

He added that Russia had a chance to receive “serious eco nomic advantages”
from the treaty.

Russian industry does not produce the carbon emissions it did in the early
90s, and this will
enable the government to sell to other countries the “carbon credits” it
gains by these reductions
in emissions.

But he said Russian governmental incompetence meant that the market had been
created without
taking into account Russia’s interests.

“Western Europe will now first buy from eastern European countries, and then
Ukraine, with
Russia last. There will be very few benefits to Russia.”


Source: Russian Environmental Digest — the world’s major English-language
press on
environmental issues in Russia 18 – 24 October 2004, Vol. 6, No. 43

Russian security forces have seized two containers full of highly
radioactive uranium-238 that
were found by tramps at a waste dump in central Russia and taken to a scrap
yard to sell.
Radiation levels at the dump in Saratov, a town on the River Volga, were 358
times higher than
normal, officials said.

Depleted uranium, where uranium-238 is usually found, can be used to make
nuclear “dirty
bombs”. The find will renew fears that radioactive material at dozens of
poorly guarded sites
around Russia might fall into the hands of terrorist groups.

The United States and other countries have been pressing Russia, which has
the world’s second
biggest nuclear arsenal, to do more to protect its atomic sites since the
September 11 attacks on
New York and Washington in 2001.

One of the few points on which President Bush and his election challenger,
Senator John Kerry,
agreed in recent television debates was that the possibility of terrorist
groups acquiring nuclear
material was the biggest threat to the United States.

“This is obviously a worry,” said a Western diplomat. “There is a huge
amount of nuclear
material just lying around in Russia. Not only is it a threat to local
people, but it is potentially a
threat to the world at large.” Nuclear officials in Moscow said yesterday
that they could not
confirm the report.

The Interfax news agency said that a number of homeless people found three
stainless steel
containers at the dump and took them to a local dealer in scrap non-ferrous
metal. The scrap
dealer raised the alarm and alerted emergency services in the town.

Atomic energy experts were called in and were quoted by the news agency as
saying that one of
the containers was used for the transportation of uranium, and the other two
for the storage of
depleted uranium-238, which is an extremely dense and highly toxic material
mainly used in
ammunition and armour.

A spokesman for the Russian Atomic Energy Agency said: “That type of uranium
looks very
much like lead, so I would not be surprised if someone had simply mistaken
it and dumped it at
the scrap yard.”

Highly enriched uranium and plutonium -found in spent nuclear fuel -can be
used to manufacture
a standard nuclear bomb. Spent fuel, as well as other by products of uranium
enrichment such as
uranium-238, can also produce a “dirty bomb” that spreads radioactive
material through a non-
nuclear explosion.

Ecodefense, the independent Russian environmental group, has claimed that
more than 16,000
tons of spent nuclear fuel is kept stored in dozens of Soviet-era nuclear
facilities in Russia alone.
To keep radioactive material safe, the UN atomic agency has suggested
building the world’s first
global nuclear waste dump in Russia, where it can be stored.

Meanwhile, a truck carrying radioactive materials was seized yesterday at
the far eastern port of
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the Ria-Novosti news agency reported.

Elsewhere, a number of lead containers holding uranium, plutonium and
strontium were last
week found on a train on its way from Moscow to the southern town of
Mineralniye Vody, not
far from Chechnya, according to local media reports.

Covering documents mentioned only that the sender was The Ministry of
Nuclear Industry and
the recipient Ingushetia State University. The radioactive materials were
enough to make a “dirty
bomb”, specialists from the FSB, the KGB’s successor, were quoted as saying.

A smuggler was last month arrested in Kyrgyzstan after trying to sell
weapons-grade plutonium
to undercover security officers. The Kyrgyz national, identified by the
national security service
only by the initial B, kept 60 small lead containers of plutonium-239 in an
abandoned sheepfold,
state media said at the time. Radiation in the area was several hundred
times the legal limit.
Russia has consistently denied Western suggestions that the instability of
the post-Soviet years
had made its nuclear arsenals easy prey. But in May, Moscow and Washington
agreed to lock
away tones of highly enriched uranium (HEU) stored in dozens of poorly
guarded research
reactors around the world.

Under the plan, Moscow will secure the return of all fresh Russian-origin
HEU fuel by the end of
2005 and all spent fuel by 2010 from more than 25 reactors in 17 states


ALMATY, November 1, 2004 – Two training seminars for Kazakh judges and
prosecutors on
national and international legal instruments for environmental issues
started in Almaty today.

The seminars organized by the OSCE Centre in Almaty, the Supreme Court, the
Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Environmental Protection are
intended to improve the
participants’ knowledge of environmental legislation. The goal is also to
promote a more efficient
implementation of environmental laws in Kazakhstan.

The training sessions form part of a wider programme for capacity building
in environmental law
for judges, public prosecutors and other legal professionals.

“An independent judiciary and proper administration of justice are essential
prerequisites for the
implementation, development and enforcement of environmental law,” said
Ambassador Ivar
Vikki, Head of the OSCE Centre. “The participation of the public in
environmental policy,
international co-operation and training in environmental law need to be
strengthened and

The seminars are focussing on implementation of the Aarhus Convention – an
international legal
instrument on access to information, public participation in
decision-making, and access to
justice on environmental matters.

International and local experts on environmental law are conducting the

For further information, please contact:

Beata Martin-Rozumilowicz
Political and Media Officer
OSCE Centre in Almaty
67 Tole Bi, 480091, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Tel.: +7-3272 79 37 62
Fax: +7 3272 79 43 88
E-mail: [email protected]


Source: IUCN, November 5, 2004

Energy is justly called the “lifeblood” of the global economy and modern
lifestyle. Whether it is
for cooking or lighting, heating or cooling, telecommunications or
transportation, it is difficult to
imagine life without some form of reliance on energy services. People have
always used
whatever sources of energy were accessible and affordable: beginning with
burning wood and
biomass, moving on to fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas. During the
twentieth century,
global use of fossil fuels has grown more than twenty-fold, whilst
traditional energy forms such
as biomass has tripled, leaving a significant footprint on the environment.
We therefore face the
twin challenge of expanding the quality and quantity of energy services and
at the same time
addressing the environmental impacts that go with such use. The latest in a
series of IUCN Media
Briefs focuses on energy and environment. The series explains key
conservation and sustainable
development issues with reliable facts and interesting statistics.


Dushanbe, 5 November 2004 – A pioneering international conference that
started today in
Dushanbe focuses on the monitoring of radioactive waste dumps in northern

Organized by the OSCE Centre in Dushanbe and the Institute of Water
Problems, Hydropower
and Ecology of the Tajik Academy of Sciences, it is the first meeting of its
kind to openly address
the radioactive waste problem in the country’s north and its consequences on
the health for the
local population.

The two-day conference, entitled “Monitoring of migration and accumulation
of radionuclides in
components of natural ecosystems”, is aimed at raising the awareness of the
authorities and the
public and attracting donors to help with solutions.

Over 200 participants from countries of the Commonwealth of Independent
States, as well as
representatives of the UN, the EU, the U.S. and Iran are sharing information
and experience on
similar environmental crises. The conference will issue recommendations on
further action that
will be submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the
OSCE Permanent

“Radioactive waste in Northern Tajikistan is the biggest human-made disaster
in Central Asia,”
said Saulius Smalys, Environmental Officer of the OSCE Centre in Dushanbe.

“The role of this conference is to exchange information and present the full
scale of the problem
to the public and the international community to find joint solutions.”

Information on radioactive waste sites in Tajikistan was kept in secret in
Soviet times and
research, monitoring and mapping of dangerous sites started only recently.
As a result,
radioactive material has affected some 10 million people living in the basin
of the Syr-Darya
River, where the incidence of cancer has increased dramatically in
comparison with the Tajik
national average.

Radioactive waste has also been a cause of tension with neighboring states,
namely Uzbekistan,
Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

“We are very grateful to the OSCE for organizing this conference and
starting this process. We
hope that this will lead to the reutilization of radioactive waste for
peaceful means,” said Ulmas
Mirsaidov, President of the Tajik Academy of Sciences.

The conference is part of a broader effort by the OSCE to address
environmental and security
problems linked with radioactive dumps in Tajikistan. A similar project is
underway in Sughd.

For further information, please contact:
Eugenia Benigni
Political and Media Officer
OSCE Centre in Dushanbe
12, Zikrullo Khojaev Str OSCE Centre in Dushanbe
734017, Dushanbe Tajikistan

Tel.: +992 935 00 51 54 (mobile)
+992 372 21 40 63
+992 372 24 33 38
+992 372 24 58 79
Fax: +992 372 24 91 59

E-mail:[email protected]
[email protected]


Gland, Switzerland, 8 November 2004 (IUCN) – Loss of the planet’s plants and
animals, together
with their habitats, is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, so says the
2004 IUCN Red List of
Threatened Species and Global Species Assessment to be released on November
17, 2004.

The release raises the curtain on the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress –
the largest
democratic environmental forum, which takes place in Bangkok, Thailand
(17-25 November).
With its unique mix of delegates from high level government representation
to grass roots NGOs,
from the private sector to indigenous peoples, the Congress will define
conservation priorities for
the next four years.

Year after year, the IUCN Red List divulges record numbers of threatened
species, those facing
imminent extinction, and this year is no exception. One in four mammals and
one in eight birds
are known to be at risk, and the 2004 edition reveals more major species
groups are joining this
ill-fated line up.

The Global Species Assessment (GSA), based on the 2004 IUCN Red List, is the
comprehensive evaluation ever undertaken of the status of the world’s
biodiversity. It shows
trends in biodiversity since the last major analysis was carried out in
2000. The GSA and Red
List are produced by a consortium of leading conservation organizations:
IUCN – The World
Conservation Union, Conservation International, BirdLife International and

Their findings are not all grim. As well as reporting on extinctions, past,
current and imminent,
and the barrage of accelerating threats, the GSA reveals that many species
are being brought back
from the brink by concerted conservation action.

Around 4,000 delegates at the World Conservation Congress are poised to
debate the escalating
extinction crisis, and, highlighting to the international community its
critical implications for
human welfare and sustainable development, form urgent strategies to combat

A comprehensive information kit, including the GSA publication, will be
available on the IUCN
website from 07.00 GMT on 17 November. The news release will
also be
available in French and Spanish.

The news release (under strict embargo), interviews, background information
and photos are
available on request.

Too big to publish as a book, the IUCN Red List is available as a searchable
database with a
wealth of supporting information at The updated site
will go live on 17

For more information contact:

Anna Knee or Andrew McMullin, IUCN Species Programme Communications
Tel: +41 22 999 0153
E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]

Xenya Cherny, IUCN Media Relations
Tel: +41 22 999 0127
Mobile: + 41 (0) 79 729 0924
E-mail: [email protected]


Source: RFE/RL, November 9, 2004

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) this week
confirmed what
many in Russia, Ukraine, and Central Asia had already suspected — their
economies are booming.
In its annual Transition Report, released yesterday, the bank said higher
oil and other commodity
prices are fueling skyrocketing annual growth for many countries. In fact,
the former Soviet
Union is now the world’s second-fastest-growing region in the world —
behind only China and
neighboring countries in Asia. But the high prices won’t last forever.

Prague, 9 November 2004 — Willem Buiter, the EBRD’s chief economist, said
that from an
economic standpoint, Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union
have never had it so

Speaking to RFE/RL today from the bank’s headquarters in London, Mr. Buiter
said that with oil
prices at around $50 a barrel and prices of other commodities soaring,
growth in the former
Soviet Union could reach 7 to 8 percent next year:

“Oil and gas prices are dragging Russia itself and Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan,
and Turkmenistan
merrily along with them — and strong cotton prices [as well],” Mr. Buiter
said. “Gold prices do
the same for Kyrgyzstan, and for aluminum it’s Tajikistan. So we have a
range of very favorable
international conditions. Not only are the prices [of their commodity
exports] higher, but also for
their noncommodity exports, there’s buoyant demand.”

The bank’s Transition Report — issued each November — is viewed as a
scorecard for the post
communist countries in Europe and the Former Soviet Union the bank was
established to help.
The report forecasts economic growth in each of the countries and also
evaluates them on reform

“The main consequence of nature’s largesse seems to be a slowdown in reform
efforts,” Willem
Buiter said. “Basically, easy growth and easy government revenues from
taxation and royalties
make the sense of urgency felt by the authorities to pursue reform less
acute.” — Willem Buiter,
the EBRD’s chief economist

Mr. Buiter said, however, that while growth rates are rising, progress in
implementing reforms —
things like simplifying tax codes and cracking down on corruption — is
lagging. In countries from
Russia through Central Asia and Ukraine, he said there was relatively little
effort made at reform
in the past year.

There might even be an inverse relationship between oil wealth and reform —
meaning that the
more natural wealth a country possesses, the less pressure the authorities
there feel to implement
positive changes.

“The main consequence of nature’s largesse seems to be a slowdown in reform
efforts,” Mr.
Buiter said. “Basically, easy growth and easy government revenues from
taxation and royalties
make the sense of urgency felt by the authorities to pursue reform less
acute. So, if anything, I
think this commodity boom is slowing down reform.”

Mr. Buiter cited Kyrgyzstan as an exception. In this year’s report,
Kyrgyzstan was praised for
introducing economic reforms the EBRD says will serve them well in the
future: “The main
things that they’ve done right [in Kyrgyzstan] is that they liberalized
quite [a lot]. There was
progress in structural reforms. They privatized the Kumtor gold mine, which
accounts for 10
percent of [the size of the Kyrgyz economy] on its own. They have taken
steps to enhance open
transparency in businesses. They adopted an anti-corruption law in March

The report says that even in oil- or commodity-poor states — like Armenia
and Georgia —
economies are growing in step with regional growth. But Buiter said in these
successful reform efforts are important to ensure continued growth.

“Reform, reform, reform. And implement the reforms. Don’t just pass the
laws. Anybody — or
nearly anybody — can do that. Implement on the ground. And in order to
implement with the
limited public administration capacity you have, you have to keep it
simple,” Buiter said.

The EBRD is relatively active in all but two formerly communist countries —
Belarus and

Buiter said the past year simply brought more of the same misery to both

He listed Turkmenistan’s many problems: “[The] total lack of reform. The
backwardness of the public administration. In the case of Turkmenistan, the
destruction of its
human capital by its dismantling of serious higher education, and indeed
undermining even
secondary education, makes one worry greatly about the future of the

And he said Belarus doesn’t fare any better: “They had a fraudulent
[referendum recently], and
the country is moving steadily away from the canons of democratic and
transparent pluralist
societies that our bank is supposed to support and work in. Belarus and
Turkmenistan are the two
worst cases in our bank’s portfolio. One really feels for the people of
these countries who have to
live through these very difficult times.”

Neither Belarus nor Turkmenistan meets the EBRD’s democratic standards as
spelled out in its
charter, and the bank has had to greatly reduce its lending and support
activities in those two

Brussels / Baku 14 November 2004
Press Release

At the Energy and Transport Ministerial Conferences organized in Baku on
November 13-14,
2004, in the presence of EU Member States, representatives of the European
Commission and
Governments of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan,
Moldova, Russian Federation (as observer), Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey,
Ukraine and
Uzbekistan discussed and agreed on an enhanced co-operation in both energy
and transport

Enhanced co-operation has been deemed necessary given the recent EU
enlargement on May 1,
2004 and future enlargement to Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey as well as the
adoption of a new
European Neighborhood Policy. A first stage towards enhanced co-operation
would entail a
deepening of regional co-operation between the Caspian Region and their
neighboring countries
underpinning the need to overcome regional conflicts.

In these Ministerial Conferences, participants reviewed past and current EU
assistance and agreed
on the following priorities for the future.

In the energy sector, participants agreed on the mutual interest for:
o supporting the gradual development of regional energy markets in the
Caspian Littoral
States and their neighboring countries in order to facilitate, in the
future, a gradual
integration between the respective energy markets and the EU market;
o enhancing the attraction of funding for new infrastructure;
o embarking on energy efficiency policies and programmes; and
o using the existing INOGATE Programme structures for facilitating the
objectives of this
enhanced co-operation.

In the transport sector, participants agreed on the mutual interest for:
o developing TRACECA as a model of regional co-operation;
o contributing to the identification of priorities in the framework of the
extension of the
Trans-European Networks to neighboring countries including future sea
o highlighting the importance of the EU Galileo Programme in future
co-operation; and
o co-operating for enhancing transport and in particular road safety and

In the margins of the Conferences, a horizontal aviation agreement between
the EU and
Azerbaijan was initialed.

In this context, Mr. Francois Lamoureux, Director General for Energy and
Transport of the
European Commission, noted: “I am very pleased that the EU Programmes,
TRACECA, have contributed to stability and prosperity in the region.
However, it is important to
progress further. I am delighted that the Republics of Azerbaijan and
Armenia fully participate in
this co-operation in both the energy and transport sectors.”


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

BP press-service announces of 100% of the right of way opened up, 85% of the
pipe welded and
over 65% backfilled to date along the 1076 km long stretch of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil
pipeline passing through Turkey. The construction activities will be
finished in the first half of
2005, and the early oil will be transported through the pipeline to the
Turkish port of Ceyhan in
the second half of the year, as scheduled.


Source: , November 15, 2004

Sydney, November 15, 2004: Although poppy farming is usually banned in most
because they are identified as a source of harmful drugs like opium,
Australian biotechnologists
have found that genetically modified poppy can produce their own drugs to
fight cancer and

In a report to be published in the journal “Nature Biotechnology”, the
biotechnologists indicate
that when poppies are genetically modified, they cause a build up of a
particular chemical earlier
on in the biochemical pathway called Reticuline, reports ABC Online.
Reticuline is a non-
narcotic alkaloid that is useful in developing antimalarial and anticancer

The researchers say that earlier this year, they had noticed that poppy
could produce a lot of
different kind of drugs. They had done a biochemical and genetic analysis of
Norman, the
naturally occurring mutant poppy that does not produce codeine and morphine
in its latex.

They identified 10 genes that play a role in preventing the poppy from
producing codeine and
morphine and for leading to an accumulation of the pharmaceutically useful
precursors thebaine
and oripavine.

They are now hoping to use RNA interference to switch off these 10 genes
individually to see the
impact on morphine production.

They said that one advantage of creating a genetically modified version of
Norman would be that
it would give scientists an opportunity to create a high-yielding version of
the poppy used to
produce pain killers and drugs to treat opiate addiction.


Source: [GAIA] News / Arg, November 22, 2004

An incinerator exploded last Thursday November 18, 2004 in the city of
Campana, Buenos Aires,

A boiler exploded starting a fire in the site, where in addition to the
industrial waste incinerator
there was a security landfill, which was not reached by the flames.
Unfortunately a worker died
and several people got injured. The incineration plant was completely
destroyed. Suspiciously the
facility was under investigation for treating more waste than it was allowed
to, and was waiting to
renew its environmental aptitude certificate, in order to continue operating
in the future…While
the investigations were under way the plant was allowed to keep operating…

You can see some pictures of the plant in flames here:


The Citizen’s Anti Incineration Coalition emitted a PR denouncing that
incinerators are a time
bomb, and what is sold as a secure and efficient system actually has many
failures in practice.
The PR received a lot of coverage from local and national media.


The publication “Vital Waste Graphics” was initiated by the Basel Convention
Secretariat and
produced in partnership with the Division of Environmental Conventions (DEC)
of UNEP, Grid-
Arendal and the Division of Early Warning Assessment-Europe of UNEP. It is
being published
for the seventh meeting of the Conference to the Parties of the Basel
Convention (COP7).

For the more detailed information please se:

Perth, Scotland, UK, 1-5 October 2005

1. Communication of new results between scientists and researchers working
in the
mountains of both industrialised and developing countries around the world
2. A framework for long-term research on global change that can be
implemented in
Mountain Biosphere Reserves and other mountain locations in both
and developing countries.
3. Keynote addresses
4. Plenary presentations
5. Sessions for contributed papers on global change; drivers, impacts &
6. Special sessions
7. Symposium on integrated research projects
8. Synthesis: a global change strategy for mountain regions

For the more detailed information please see the following link:


Source: European ECO-Forum Digest N 86, November 2004

Will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania Thursday, 17 March to Friday, 18 March

The eleventh session of the Committee on Environmental Policy (13 – 15
October 2004) decided
to convene a High-Level Meeting of Environment and Education Ministries of
member States as a follow-up of the Kiev Conference. The meeting will take
place in Vilnius,
Lithuania, on 17 (afternoon) and 18 March 2005 at the invitation of the
Lithuanian Ministers of
Environment, Mr. Arunas Kundrotas and of Education and Science, Mr.
Monkevicius Algirdas. It
is expected that the meeting will adopt the Strategy on Education for
Sustainable Development
(ESD) and decide on the framework for its implementation.

The regional Strategy on ESD
pdf) was
developed by the UNECE Task Force on ESD, led jointly by Sweden and the
Russian Federation,
through a participatory process involving representatives from environment
and education
sectors, as well as UNESCO, NGOs, and other stakeholders.

The Strategy is meant to serve as a flexible framework. Its implementation
can be adapted to each
country’s priorities, specific needs and circumstances. The document takes
into account
comments provided by UNECE member States and different stakeholders, and is
based on a
general consensus. The Task Force also prepared two background documents for
only: one on past and ongoing international processes on education for
sustainable development
and another to clarify some terms used in the strategy.

This regional initiative will also contribute to the United Nations Decade
of Education for
Sustainable Development (2005-2015), proclaimed by the United Nations
General Assembly at
its fifty-seventh session (December 2002). In coordination with the United
Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Meeting will launch the
Decade in the
UNECE region.

For further information on the High-level meeting visit:

Or contact:
Ella Behlyarova
Secretary to the UNECE ESD Task Force,
e-mail: [email protected]

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From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress