CENN: 75 Issue of the CENN Electronic Bulletin – 12/2004

Caucasus Environmental NGO Network

75 Electronic Bulletin:
Caucasus Environmental News

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).

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Thanks for your interest in CENN!


1. Announcements
1.1. DIUC press release
1.2. EIA Report of the Project on “Silicomanganese Experimental
Producing Plant in Kutaisi” by `M&Comlany’ Ltd
1.3. EIA Reports Submitted to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia

2. News from Georgia
2.1. Exxon spurns BP’s pipeline in favour of trains
2.2. Bendukidze lashes out at forestry department head
2.3. BTC costs increase
2.4. RTRS-Italy’s Banca Intesa quits BTC oil pipeline project
2.5. BTC construction preserves
2.6. BTC backer looks to sell shares
2.7. BP and British council announce successful scholarship candidates
2.8. Additional funds for protection of oil pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan

3. News from Azerbaijan
3.1. US company to ship oil from Azerbaijan via Georgian ports
3.2 Seminar on involvement of NGOS in state program on poverty reduction

3.3 Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources denies conjecture of
Russian expert
3.4 Shah-Deniz field rich in gas condensate resources
3.5 SOCAR spent $50 mln for `Shah-Deniz’ project
3.6 Detained poacher has wounded employee of Ministry of Ecology and
Natural Resources
3.7 SOCAR thinks Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline may be 11 % over budget
3.8 BP, TNK-BP discuss Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipe

4. News from Armenia
4.1. Premier hopes for “changes in region” as Iran-Armenia gas pipeline
4.2. OSCE Office awards journalists for reporting on environmental
issues in Armenia
4.3. Climate change: A disappointing start for the clean development
4.4. EU aids Armenian gas network In Metsamor closure hope
4.5. United press Int’l: Energy watch
4.6. SLZ company to invest about $1.5 mln in Vanadzor chemical plant in
4.7. Human rights and environment
4.8. By the end of 2004 Sanir Company to announce tender for
subcontractor work on Armenian section of Iran-Armenia gas pipeline

5. NGO News
5.1. Major private backer pulls out of embattled BP oil pipeline
5.2. CENN launches Environmental trainings/workshops
5.3. Community center opens in Gyumri

6. International News
6.1. Environmental scandal threatens ABN AMRO’s Caucasus oil pipeline
6.2. Kazakhstan signs agreement to prevent spread of bioweapons

7. New Publications
7.1. New book: “Ecological Agriculture and Rural Development in CEE
7.2. Follow the money
7.3. Culture of secrecy enforced by repression

8. Calendar (International)
8.1. II International seminar on Mountain Tourism
8.2. Regional Civil Society Meetings towards the 6th Global Civil
Society Forum (19-20 February 2005, Nairobi, Kenya)
8.3. Ecological Impact Assessments: Science and Best Practice



Dear All,

DIUC Press Release covering the latest information on our BTC Monitoring
is available on the following address:

Sincerely yours,

Razi Nurullayev
Co-chair of Society for Democratic Reforms
Demokratik Islahatlar Ugrunda Cemiyyet (DIUC)

Deputy-chairman on Foreign Affairs of Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan

Mailing Address: AZ 1117, house 11/103, kvartal 5057-68,
Bilajari Settlement, Baku, Azerbaijan
Tel/fax: (+994 12) 449 88 00; 436 18 40
Mobile: (+994 50) 323 70 24
E-mail: [email protected]
[email protected]


Source: `Sakartvelos Respublica’ (`Republic of Georgia’), December 9,

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, `M&Comlany’ Ltd. submitted
EIA report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
environmental permit for the activity of first category –
Silicomanganese Experimental Producing Plant in Kutaisi.

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 January 25, 2004.

Public hearing will be held on January 25, 2004 at 12:00, at the
conference hall of the Ministry of Environment.


Source: `Sakartvelos Respublica’ (`Republic of Georgia’), December 23,

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, `Simba’ Ltd. submitted EIA
reports to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
environmental permit for the activity of first category – Acid Starter
Accumulators Producing Enterprise in Tskaltubo, Maglaki Village.

In accordance with the Georgian legislation, `Procredit Bank’ submitted
EIA reports to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
environmental permit for the activity of second category -Planned
Functioning of the Heater and Diesel Generator on 154 David
Agmashenebeli str., Tbilisi.

EIA reports are available at the Service of Environmental Permits and
Licensing of the Ministry of Environment of Georgia at the following
address: 15 A Tamarashvili str., Tbilisi. Interested stakeholders can
analyze the document and present their comments and considerations until
February 8, 2005.

Public hearing will be held on February 8, 2005 at 12:00, at the
conference hall of the Ministry of Environment of Georgia 68 A Kostava
str., VI Floor, Tbilisi. Tel: 36 45 41.

Service of Environmental Permits and Licensing of the Ministry of
Environment of Georgia


Source: The Times, November 25, 2004

After billions of dollars and billions of headaches, BP’s mammoth
project to pipe oil from the Caspian to the Mediterranean is almost
complete but ExxonMobil will not use it. It is too expensive, the
Americans say. ExxonMobil is ignoring BP’s new pipe and, instead, has
chosen to export its Caspian oil via rail tankers to a Black Sea port.

BP was quick to insist that Exxon’s decision would not hurt the
economics of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) link. Exxon speaks for 8% of
BP’s Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli offshore Caspian oilfield but the American
penny-pinching is as much a political embarrassment as a financial blow
to BP.

A decade ago Washington threw its diplomatic weight behind a project
that was once dismissed as foolish and dangerous: a 1,760-km steel pipe
linking oilfields offshore of Baku to a Turkish Mediterranean port.
Passing through the troubled Georgian republic and skirting Armenia, BTC
is a political statement as well as infrastructure: a route for Central
Asian oil to reach Western markets without touching Russian soil.

The American oil giant confirmed that it had signed a five-year contract
with Azpetrol to ship 10 million tonnes of oil by rail from Baku to
Batumi. “There was a cost issue and we signed with Azpetrol for
competitive reasons,” said an Exxon spokesman.

The complexity of Caucasian politics has dogged the BTC project, which
has also had to end off campaigning by environmental groups determined
to make an example of BP’s project. The pipeline rises from sea level to
2,800 metres and passes through national parks.


Source: The Messenger, November 26, 2004

Minister describes plans for rehabilitating tourist infrastructure and
removing IDPs from hotels

Minister of Economic Development Kakha Bendukidze hit out at the Head of
the Forestry Department Bidzina Giorgobiani over disagreements between
the two regarding the privatization of Georgia’s forests.

Although Mr. Giorgobiani said in an interview with the media that
government members had been able to come to an agreed view regarding
forestry reform at lat week’s government session and that there were no
longer any questions on the issue, Bendukidze told the media on Monday
November 22, 2004 that `it seems Mr. Bidzina has forgotten that he is
working at the government.’

`The government has not yet made any decision with regard to forestry
reform. When Mr. Giorgobiani talks about the `government view’, he means
the view of him and his deputy,’ the minister said.

`The forestry department is a part of government and it is the
government which is responsible for making decisions on this issue,’ the
minister added.

Mr. Bendukidze says that the position of his ministry is to be maximally
careful in creating new state owned enterprise with new functions, such
as looking after the forests.

`As a rule, state owned enterprises are badly managed and a source of
corruption. If we want to create a joint stock or limited company
someone should write a special plan concerning its functions. Creating
some kind corporation does not mean that the problem is solved,’
Bendukidze said.

Also on Monday the minister addressed the issue of the possible transfer
of Trade Union property to the state, property that includes numerous
hotels throughout the country that are currently inhabited by IDPs.

Mr. Bendukidze said, ‘There is no talk of Trade Union property being
transferred to the state. We are saying that there are very many hotels
and sanitariums in the ownership of the Trade Union, where over 11, 000
refuges are living. That is why we agreed to create a special fund that
will be called the Fund for Developing Resorts.’

According to the minister, ‘the National Fund for Developing Resorts
will be charge of management the hotels and sanatoriums, developing the
tourist infrastructure and removing the refugees from these building,’
adding that some of assets under the ownership of the Trade Union will
also be included in the fund.

`The Trade Union expressed the desire to finish rehabilitating some of
these assets and the National Fund will provide funding for the
realizations of their aims,’ he said.

He said that Tkhaltubo and Borjomi regions would be the main
beneficiaries from this process.

`Tskhaltubo as a resort town is `dead’, as over 6000 refugees are living
in the sanatoriums located there. We should do something with regard to
these people. So we are moving to a new mechanism of managing the
property and we have also offered this to the Trade Union,’ said Mr.


Source: The Messenger, December 1, 2004
Interfax, November 29, 2004

Major Oil Company choose rail transit via Batumi over pipeline

According to President of State Oil Corporation of Azerbaijan (SOCAR)
Natik Aliev, the 1760-km Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is 99% complete.
USD 3 billion has already been spent on its construction and Aliev says
that costs are set to exceed expectations by around 5-6%.

Speaking at a press conference on November 25, 2004 Aliev said that the
BTC pipeline will cost more than had been planed. The project cost was
initially estimated at USD 2.95 billion, but USD 3 billion has already
spent and the pipeline has not yet entered operation.

`Overall project costs are $3.6 billion, allowing for $200 million to
pay for oil and other expenses,’ Aliev said as quoted by Interfax, `Now
we think those expenses will rise by $300-350 million. But we want to
allow for other costs as well, and think overall project costs will rise
to $4 billion. However the actual cost will only be known once the work
has been finished.’

In Tbilisi, BTC said they had always expected price fluctuations in the
course of the construction.

As part of construction of the pipeline, BTC must purchase roughly 10
million barrels of oil to keep it filled during the operation.

As for the reason of the price increase, Aliev said there is a mix of
natural and outside causes. `The main one is that construction has
fallen behind schedule. Talks between government and banks are
protracted, and the noise created by NGOs has taken into toll,’ he said.
Construction delays could push the cost of the BTC pipeline up to $4
billion, said Aliev.

`Construction firms have been forced to idle, and the dollar has
weakened we made all our cost estimates in dollars and a lot of
equipment has been purchased in Europe. So their are natural causes for
the increase in costs,’ Aliev said, nothing optimistically that the
pipeline has almost been completed.

A more serious issue emerged last Wednesday when ExxonMoblile announced
that it had signed a five-year contract to export 10 million tons of oil
from the Caspian `s Batumi Oil Terminal.

`ExxonMobile and AzPetrol signed an agreement in November to pump its
first volumes of oil by rail from Baku to Batumi,’ ExxonMobil’s
spokeswomen in Azerbaijan, Leyla Rzakuliyeva, said as quoted by Agence
France Press.

AFP reported that the decision `is likely to irritate Azeri
authorities,’ who have already lost Lukoil from the BTC project because
of its high cost.

Although ExxonMobil signed the `deal of the century’ in 1994, the
company has for the time being pulled out of the pipeline because of a
conflict over fees.

Responding to ExxonMobil’s announcement, SOCAR’s Aliev explained, `There
has been friction.’

`This is a consequence of Exxon not having been able to come to a
consensus with BTC concerning the concerning the tariffs,’ Aliev said as
quoted by AFP.

Despite these unexpected problems, the 1760-km -445-km in Azerbaijan
245-km in Georgia and 1070-km in Turkey – is sill expected to begin
operating in May 2005.


Source: Reuters, December 1, 2004

Italy’s Banca Intesa <BIN.MI> confirmed on Wednesday that it had pulled
out of an international syndicate financing the BP-led
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline project. “We confirm the sale of
part of our investment and we are in addition negotiating with several
parties for the complete sale of our position,” an Intesa spokeswoman

She did not give a reason for the decision.

Earlier the Baku-Ceyhan Campaign, a group opposed to the BTC, said the
bank, a member of the syndicate that has signed off a $1 billion
financial package for the pipeline, had quit the project and had already
sold part of its $60 million share.

The BTC that is expected to become operational early next year, will
link Azerbaijan’s oilfields to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan,
providing a direct outlet for Caspian oil to European markets. But
several environmental and human rights groups comprising the Baku-Ceyhan
Campaign say the project will be disastrous for the fragile ecology of
the Caspian and will not benefit the region’s population.

“This extraordinary move shows just how widespread concerns about the
safety of BTC now are,” said Greg Muttitt of Platform, a member of the
Baku-Ceyhan Campaign.

The oil companies and lenders argue that the one million barrels per day
(bpd) BTC is key to unlocking the impoverished region’s economic

They say the pipeline conforms to the highest environmental standards.


Source: The Messenger, December 8, 2004

The construction of the Georgian segment of the BTC pipeline is
scheduled to be finished by March 2005 and despite two recent business
setbacks for the overall pipeline construction in Georgia is

After the completion of the Georgian section the pipeline in Turkey must
also be completed and then filled with oil. As soon as BTC begins
operating, construction will begin on the parallel Shah-Deniz natural
gas pipeline project. The implementation of the both projects is of
vital political and energy security spheres.

Although the pipeline is nearing completion – Natik Aliev, head of the
State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), told reports in
late November, `We expect the Azerbaijani section to be launched in
January and the Georgian section in March,’ problems have also surfaced
in the overall business plan.

At the same press conference, Aliev announced that construction costs
have increased over preliminary estimates. He noted, ‘Turkey assures us
that its section will be ready by the end of March, although BTC
shareholders are a little pessimistic.’ Also in November, a British
parliamentary committee held a hearing relating to the pipeline’s safety
standards, though little new revelations or accusations were made.

More serious business issues are that last week one of the largest
Italian banks – Banca Intesa announced it was selling its share in the
financing of the pipeline. The Financial Times reported that the bank
was selling hits stake at a loss from the original loan amount. Another
setback came when ExxonMobile announced it was signing contracts to ship
crude oil by rail over next five years. Thus skirting the BTC. UK’s
Sunday Times described the move as `American penny pinching’ that `is as
much a political embarrassment as a financial blow to BP.’

But despite these setbacks, they cannot hinder the successful completion
of the pipe. A solid core of investors – and governments – are keenly
interested in its operation and price increases can be easily defrayed
thanks to the high price of crude in the world market.

In Georgia, the president of GIOC (Georgian International Oil
Corporation) Nika Vashakidze tells the paper Rezonansi that BTC
construction has played an important role in developing the Georgian
economy. Most of the investments have already been made in connection to
the project he states; adding that new jobs were created and a variety
of Georgian companies were involved in its construction.

The operation of BTC will also deliver budgetary revenues and increased
global importance of Georgia. Once the sister pipeline Shah-Deniz starts
pumping natural gas to Turkey via Georgia, the country will
significantly strengthen the security of its natural gas supply system.
According to current calculation Azeri natural gas could reach Georgia
by the end of 2006, thus giving Georgia a viable alternative to Russian
Gazprom supplies.


Source: The Messenger, December 9, 2004

The Financial Times reported on Thursday, December 2, 2004 that the
Italian Bank Banca Intesa has sold part of its interests in financing
BTC pipeline, and is in talks to sell the remainder of its USD 60
million stake in the project.

`We can confirm to you the sale of part of our investment in the BTC
project,’ the bank said in a statement in response to questions from the
FT. `We are, in addition, negotiating with several parties the complete
sale of our position.’

The bank, Italy’s largest in terms of assets, declined to name the buyer
due to confidentiality reasons.

The Ft also wrote `Banca Intesa had expressed concerns about the
pipeline sealant. Executives from the bank sought a meeting with Derek
Mortimer, the whistleblower who highlighted potential problems with the
sealant in an independent report for BP.’

Once the BTC is put into operation, a group of banks, which would have
included Banca Intesa, was to take over financing of the project. The
remaining syndicate members are ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Citibank, Credit
Agricole, HVB, ING, Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale and WestLB.


Source: The Messenger, December 17, 2004

On December 16, 2004 BP Georgia and the British Council announced the
selection of their candidates for a new international scholarship
program, targeting leaders in a wide range of study fields from
businesses to media.

The Bp-funded program, launched in October, will send 10 students to
study Masters level courses in the UK for a period of 12 months. The
British Council will manage this program that received more than 250
applications alongside the UK government’s Chevening scholarships

The announcement follows BP’s recent commitment to a new social
investment program for Georgia, through which – in consultation with the
Georgian government – it will invest US $10 million in arrange of
projects covering areas such as education and healthcare.

Head of BP Georgia, Wref Digings says: `This scholarship program is part
of our commitment to successful, long term relationship with Georgia. It
is the first step in our education program that is set to expand to
include other long distance learning opportunities for Georgians. It
also fits well with BP’s global emphasis on the role of education in the
development of enterprise and civil society.’

Jo Bakowski, Director of the British Council in Georgia, adds: `WE have
been managing scholarship programs for the more than 10 years and they
are one of our most important activities, clearly demonstrated by the
achievements of our alumni. The candidates selected fort the BP program
are of similarly high standard and have shown how their studies could
contribute to positive change in Georgia.’

The fields covered by the scholarship are: banking, finance and
economics (including insurance); business studies; management
(agriculture, education, energy, health and transport); human rights;
law; media; social and political studies; built environment (includes
architecture, urban planning and design); and international relations
and diplomatic studies.

For further information on program, please visit the British Council
website at:


Source: Sarke, December 20, 2004

The draft of the budget-2005 envisages disbursing of 30.9 million lari
to the special state protection service, what exceeds the financing
volume of the current year by 56%. The Finance Ministry explains the
volume has been increased due to the funds, directed to protection of
the oil pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, which launches in 2005.


Source: The Messenger, December 22, 2004

British Petroleum and its partners in the Baku- Tbilisi- Ceyhan (BTC)
pipeline project will not ask international financial institutions for
an extra loan to cover the 10% increase of the project cost, BP
Azerbaijan President David Woodward said at a press conference in Baku
on Tuesday, December 21, 2004. The shareholders borrowed USD 2.6 billion
from foreign credits this February. Mr. Woodward said they borrowed more
than needed, so an extra loan was unnecessary. He said the stakeholders
would bear any extra expenses.

Projects like BTC always imply a 10-15% change from the initial estimate
and the increase of the Baku- Tbilisi- Ceyhan pipeline project cost does
not go beyond that, Mr. Woodward said.

He said over 90% of work had been done in the Azerbaijani sector of the
pipeline, over 85% in the Georgian section of the pipeline and 85% in
the Turkish sector.


Source: The Messenger, December 23, 2004

Akhali Taoba reports that the Head of the Forestry Department Bidzina
Giorgobiani together with the newly appointed Premier of Tbilisi Temur
Kurkhuli made a statement concerning the sale of the New Year’s trees
all over the city.

According to them, because of the coming New Year, the fir-trees are
being sold everywhere without any control. `We ask regional
administrations, president’s representatives and the policy service to
strengthen their control over this issue,’ the authorities.

`The sale of the New Year’s trees will be allowed only at four locations
– on the territory of the Sports Palace, near Vake Hospital No: 9, near
Akhmeteli theater and near Varketili metro,’ stated Mr. Giorgobiani at a
press conference on December 21, 2004.

As it was said at the press conference, the Patrol Police as well as
their employees will jointly control the situation there, in order to
prevent the theft of these threes and there ban the illegal cutting of
trees. The purchase of the New Year’s tress will be possible from
December 25 until December 31. Mr. Giorgobiani also said that for every
illegally cut tree, distributors will face a minimum fine of GEL 10.


Source: RIA Novosti, November 29, 2004

The US ExxonMobil subsidiary, Exxon Azerbaijan Ltd., has made a deal
with the Azerbaijanian Azpetrol Holding on shipping part of its oil from
Azeri and Guneshli (Azerbaijan) deposits via Georgian seaports.

Novosti-Georgia reports with reference to a press release of the US
company that according to the agreement, oil is to be shipped along the
Baku-Batumi (Georgia) railway in the amount of ten million tons during
five years.

Despite being a participant in the project to develop sea oil deposits
Azeri-Chyrag-Guneshli, ExxonMobil at a time did not find it necessary to
become a shareholder in BTC Co. that builds the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
pipeline. For this reason, ExxonMobil is considering all possible
options for exporting oil from Azerbaijan, including the northern
(Russian) route of the Baku-Novorossiisk oil pipeline.

Oil pumping through the BTC pipeline will cost $3-odd per barrel on the
average. But these tariffs will only be applicable to the companies that
participated in constructing and financing the oil pipeline as
shareholders of the BTC company. Other companies wishing to transport
their oil through BTC will have to pay more.

Azpetrol Holding shipped over 15 million metric tons of oil and oil
products via the South-Caucasus transport corridor when it began
operating (2001). In 2003 alone, this company transported 4,045,656
metric tons of oil and oil products along the Baku-Batumi route.


Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azertag,
December 2, 2004

Seminars under the project `Assistance in Intensification of Local NGOs
in the State Program on Poverty Reduction and Economic Development in
the Azerbaijan Republic in 2003-2005′.

During these seminars organized by representatives of local NGOs,
municipalities, the participants were updated on the work done among
youth and efforts towards directing the activities of local communities,
allocation of micro credits.


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

The press-service of the ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of
Azerbaijan has distributed a message containing refutation of
conjectures of the Russian expert I. Zonn, announced by him in the
report `Caspian Is One of Hot Points of the World’ with which he has
addressed the 10th Conference of the sides of the Frame Convention of
the United Nations on change of climate in Argentina. In the message, it
is stated that consequences of wreck of ferry “Mercury” with 16 tanks
onboard, sunk in October 2002 at coast of Azerbaijan, within the nearest
1-2 years will lead to ecological catastrophe, is nothing but cheap
propagation. Periodically conducted, including with participation of
foreign experts, monitoring has not revealed on present time of any
traces of outflow of oil.

Making comments on the far-fetched facts, I. Zonn has demonstrated the
slides fixing “absolute” records of Azerbaijan in pollution of the
Caspian at the Conference. On the data of the Ministry of Ecology and
Natural Resources of Azerbaijan, the basic sources of pollution of the
sea are the large rivers running into it from which fall on the share
only of the Volga River 70-80% from the total pollution. The pool of
Volga is a zone where the largest industrial enterprises of the Caspian
region are concentrated. From 200 big cities, 220 large enterprises
located in pool of the Caspian, only insignificant part is located in
the territory of Azerbaijan. From the above-stated, it becomes clear
that Azerbaijan cannot be considered as one of the basic polluters of
the sea.


Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azertag,
December 16, 2004

The first batch of gas from Shah-Deniz field in the Azerbaijani sector
of the Caspian Sea is expected to be produced in mid-2006. The credit
agreement on Shah-Deniz field development was signed on December 14 this
year in London.

The first phase of the project implies extraction of 178 million cubic
meters of gas per year and 34 million tons of condensate. Further, it is
scheduled to increase this volume up to 8-16 billion cubic meters of gas
and 2 billion tons of condensate.

BP and Statoil hold 25% stake in the Shah-Deniz project, SOCAR, joint
Russia-Italy LUKAgip Company, OIES of Iran and French company Total –
10% each.

At present, exploratory drilling works are successfully going on. First
results confirm experts’ estimations on gas-condensate reserves.


Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azertag,
December 19, 2004

State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) has spent $50
million for the Shah-Deniz gas-condensate development project. Besides,
SOCAR will direct $110 million of the $170 million credit it receives
from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to its
10-percent share in this Project.


Source: State Telegraphic Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azertag,
December 22, 2004

During a raid aimed at revealing of the illegal facts of hunting, which
was held by the 2-nd Territorial Department of the Ministry of Ecology
and Natural Resources in territory of Duyarli village of Shamkir region
was detained by poaching the resident of region Samir Ismailov.

As informed correspondent AzerTAj from the press-service of the
Ministry, the poacher who has not obeyed requirements of ecologists, has
opened fire and wound the employee of department Elmar Aliyev. The case
investigated by the Office of Public Prosecutor Shamkir region


Source: EINnews, December 23, 2004

26-11-04 The cost of building the nearly completed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
oil export pipeline could hit $ 4 bn, SOCAR said, just days after
Azerbaijan’s state oil company downplayed the extend of cost overruns.
The pipeline was originally budgeted to cost $ 3.6 bn.

“Total expenses may increase by $ 350 mm-$ 450 mm,” SOCAR General
Director Natik Aliyev said. “We’ve reached the conclusion that costs may
reach $ 4 bn.”

Aliyev said the pipeline could exceed its budget by 5 % to 7 %. Costs of
$ 4 bn represent an 11 % increase.

One reason for the increase is the rising price of oil. After a pipeline
is built, the operator must fill it with the requisite minimum amount of
oil that’s to be in the pipeline at all times. BP, which leads the
consortium of companies that own the pipeline, originally estimated that
it would have to spend $ 40 a barrel on this so-called technical crude,
Aliyev said.

Pipeline shareholders plan to buy 10 mm barrel of oil from the nearby
Azer-Chirac-Guneshli project to fill the pipeline in the first stage.

“But now it’s impossible to tell what the price will be in January or
February of next year,” he added. “It could be $ 60 a barrel, or it
could fall.”

Rising global demand and political instability in the Middle East have
caused prices to rise to as high as $ 55 a barrel in the past several
months. Other reasons behind the cost overruns include responding to
protests by nongovernmental organizations, a temporary work stoppage in
Georgia, a rise in the costs of transporting pipes from Japan and an
increase in the price of those pipes.

The falling dollar also played a role, Aliyev said.

“Most of the equipment was procured in Europe, and its
dollar-denominated price rose” with the falling dollar, he said.

Apart from BP, SOCAR, ENI, Itochu, Unocal, Statoil, ConocoPhillips and
Total are shareholders in the project.


Source: Interfax, December 21, 2004

British Petroleum and TNK-BP are discussing the possibility of
transporting TNK-BP oil through the Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, BP
Azerbaijan President David Woodward said.

He said that they have not yet reached the stage of discussing volumes
and transport schedules and that they are only discussing transport
options and possibilities.

He said that one potential option for transporting Russian oil through
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline may be to reverse the Baku-
Novorossiisk pipeline to Baku. Woodward also said that it is possible to
supply oil by sea from Astrakhan to Baku, for further transportation
through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.


Source: Mediamax News Agency, November 30, 2004

Armenian Minister of Energy Armen Movsisyan has described as “historic
event” the beginning of the construction of the Iran-Armenia gas
pipeline, Mediamax’s special correspondent reports from Syunik Region.

Speaking at the ceremony of the beginning of the gas pipeline
construction, Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan said that this
project was possible due to “big political and economic efforts”. The
Armenian prime minister said that the construction of the gas pipeline
will give the opportunity to create new working places in Syunik Region
“which is Armenia’s and Nagornyy Karabakh’s rear”.

Andranik Markaryan also said that “the gas pipeline will not only have
economic importance for Armenia and Iran but will also become a base for
certain changes in the region”.

The Iranian ambassador to Armenia, Ali Reza Haqiqian, said that
theconstruction of the gas pipeline will allow improving the
economicsituation in Armenia and will contribute to the stabilization of
thesituation in the whole region, Mediamax’s special correspondent
reports from Syunik Region.


Yerevan, 10 December 2004 – Eleven journalists from different regions of
Armenia were today awarded prizes for their reporting on environmental
issues in a competition run by the OSCE Office in Yerevan.

The competition, for TV and print media, was co-organized with the
Public Environmental Information Centre (Aarhus Centre) and linked to
Human Rights Day.

“The main objective of the 2004 competition was to explain to the public
that living in a healthy environment is a universal human right,” said
Ambassador Vladimir Pryakhin, Head of the OSCE Office, after handing out
the awards. “Being aware of environmental problems and understanding
ways of solving them is crucial for democratic development and securing
a prosperous future”.

A special prize was also awarded for explaining the issues of
environmental protection and human rights to citizens in remote regions
of Armenia.
The OSCE Office in Yerevan and the Aarhus Centre support and encourage
environmental journalism by organizing workshops, exchange of
information on the subject and facilitating international contacts.

For further information, please contact:
Public Affairs Unit
OSCE Office in Yerevan
89, Teryan Str., 375009, Yerevan, Armenia
Tel.: +374 1 54 58 45
Fax: +374 1 54 10 61


Source: IPS, December 10, 2004

In 1997, when the developing South agreed to a market incentive for
industrialized nations that would allow them to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions through development projects in poor countries, the expected
result was investment in clean technologies. So far, however, the
results have fallen far short of expectations.

Raúl Estrada, director of environmental affairs in Argentina’s Foreign
Ministry and the head of the Argentine delegation at the 10th Conference
of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
(COP-10), currently underway in Buenos Aires, admitted on Wednesday that
the projects being submitted to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) do
little to promote renewable sources of energy and involve minimal
technology transfer.

“This was not what we had in mind,” said Estrada, who presided over the
committee that drafted the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. He was addressing the
COP-10 plenary session devoted to discussion of the 2003-2004 report
from the CDM Executive Board, made up of 10 representatives from
different member countries. The results of the report are nothing less
than disappointing.

The protocol signed in Kyoto, Japan, and scheduled to enter into force
on February 16 with 129 member countries, was designed to establish
quantitative and measurable commitments on the part of the
industrialized nations to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, methane
and other gases that trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and lead to
global warming.

The CDM is one of the “flexible mechanisms” of the Kyoto Protocol, which
make it easier and less costly for industrialized nations to meet the
greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets that they have agreed to
under the protocol. The CDM is also meant to “assist developing
countries in achieving sustainable development.”

Through this mechanism, an industrialized country with a GHG reduction
target can invest in a project in a developing country without a target,
and claim credit for the emission reduction that the project achieves.

The 30 industrialized countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol
have accepted the commitment to reduce GHG emissions to levels 5.2%
lower than in 1990, by a deadline that ranges from 2008 to 2012.

To take advantage of the mechanism, a large number of private companies
in industrialized nations have submitted projects to the CDM Executive
Board, but few have been deemed satisfactory by the proposed receptor

Australia, a major GHG producer, has still not ratified the Kyoto
Protocol. As for the United States – which is responsible for 25 percent
of global GHG emissions – President George W. Bush actually withdrew
completely from the treaty in 2001, after it had been signed by his
predecessor, Bill Clinton (1993-2001).

Estrada noted that the CDM Executive Board has to negotiate with teams
from the applicant companies that work on these projects full time,
which means that the board members are at a distinct disadvantage.

For its part, the Chilean delegation recommended making more resources
available to the Executive Board, to allow its members to concentrate on
their task, and not find themselves rushed into approving projects of
doubtful environmental integrity.

As of now, the only project to be approved by the CDM board is a
Brazilian plan to capture methane gas from landfills and use it to fuel
a thermoelectric plant that will supply power to a poor suburb of Rio de
Janeiro. The initiative is expected to reduce emissions by 12 million
tons over the next 21 years.

But some environmentalists do not think the project is a model to be

Juan Carlos Villalonga, an energy specialist from the Argentine chapter
of the environmental watchdog Greenpeace, told IPS that the Brazilian
project, and others being submitted for implementation in developing
countries, make an extremely limited contribution in terms of new

He explained the challenges facing the CDM using the same “market logic”
principles that served as its foundation.

Complicating matters further is the fact that Russia, which ratified the
Kyoto Protocol in November and suffered the collapse of its industrial
sector in the late 1990s, has a large supply of emission-reduction
credits that it could place on the “emissions trading” market, another
mechanism of the treaty.

Because of the decline of industry in Russia, its carbon dioxide
emissions are already far lower than they were in 1990, and thus lower
than the target it is committed to meet through the protocol. As a
result, other countries can purchase this “surplus reduction” to help
meet their own targets.

The CDM was established to create a form of profit incentive for
projects that would not be profitable in their own right. But
unfortunately, until now, that incentive has not been powerful enough to
spur investment in renewable energy sources, Villalonga concluded.


Source: RFE/RL Armenia Report, December 10, 2004

On Friday, December 10, 2004 gas operator has officially completed the
reconstruction of some of its key facilities that has been financed by
the European Union in the hope of speeding up the closure of the
Metsamor nuclear plant.

Top executives from the Armrosgazprom Company, joined by government
officials and European diplomats, inaugurated three underground gas
storage facilities just north of Yerevan. They were refurbished with 2
million euros ($2.7 million) provided by the EU’s executive Commission
in 2002. The purpose of the program was to help to render Armenia’s gas
network more modern and reliable.

Natural gas is used for generating more than a third of Armenia’s
electricity. EU officials hope that increased use of the fuel would
create an additional incentive for Yerevan to decommission Metsamor that
satisfies over 40% of the resource poor country’s energy needs.

`In essence, the European Union is helping us to create the
prerequisites for the closure of the nuclear plant,’ Deputy Energy
Minister Areg Galstian told RFE/RL. One of those prerequisites is
`reliable supplies of energy resources,’ he said.

The EU believes that Metsamor’s Soviet-built reactor fails to meet
modern safety standards and should be shut down as soon as possible. The
bloc had hoped that this would happen in 2004. However, Armenian
officials insist that the plant is secure enough to operate for at least
ten more years.

Mr. Galstian reiterated the government’s position that Metsamor will not
be closed without an alternative source of power created in its place.
`We must have a new facility of the same capacity,’ he said, adding that
it could be a new thermal power station.

`In my view this [EU project] has in no way affected the closure of the
nuclear plant,’ said the Armrosgazprom director, Karen Karapetian. `We
had to carry out this modernization anyway.’

Karapetian said the Russian-Armenian joint venture needs an additional
$27 million for the network’s modernization and has already approached
potential investors.


Source: UPI, December 13, 2004

Armenia’s natural gas operator Armrosgazprom has officially completed
the European Union-financed reconstruction of a number of important
facilities. The EU underwrote the project in the hope of hastening the
closure of Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power plant, the country’s sole
atomic energy facility. Top Armrosgazprom officials joined by government
officials and EU diplomats inaugurated three underground gas storage
facilities north of the capital Yerevan refurbished with a $2.7 million
2002 EU Executive Commission grant, intended to upgrade Armenia’s
natural gas network. Natural gas currently generates more than a third
of Armenia’s electricity. EU officials’ hope that increased use of the
fuel would create more incentive for the Armenian government to
decommission Metsamor, which currently provides over 40 percent of the
energy impoverished country’s energy needs.

The head of technical development and foreign relations department of
the Armenian Energy Ministry Levon Vardanyan said that construction of
the Armenian sector of the Iran-Armenia natural gas pipeline would start
shortly. Construction of the 26-mile, 27.5-inch pipeline will begin in
Megri-Kadzharan. Iran will finance most of the pipeline construction.
Armenia and Iran agreed to build the pipeline in May 2004. Under the
agreement, Iran will send 47 billion cubic yards of natural will to
Armenia over the next two decades. Armenia will annually receive 1.43
billion cubic yards of Iranian gas and will pay with electric energy
exports. The construction of the 87.6-mile long pipeline will be
completed in late 2006. The gas pipeline will link Tehran and Yerevan
via the Megri border region. Turkmen gas will also be delivered to
Armenia via Iran on the pipeline.


Source: Arminfo, December 14, 2004

Till the end of 2004 the Slovak company SLZ at the primary stage will
invest $1.480 mln for launching the Vanadzor chemical plant in Armenia.
Minister of Trade and Economic Development of Armenia Karen Chshmaritian
informed journalists on Tuesday, December 14, 2004.

According to him, the agreement for it was reached during the Yerevan
meeting of the representatives of the SLZ Company with the owner of the
Vanadzor chemical complex. The minister informed that $880 mln would be
invested for purchase of raw materials, and $600,000 – for current
expenses. He added that the plant is to be launched on Feb 15, 2005.
Karen Chshmaritian noted that the plant will be launched in experimental
order within 6-8 months, and then the Slovaks sign an agreement with the
owner for trust management or leasehold use by the chemical complex. At
this stage it is planned to resume the production of carbide, corundum
and acetate film.


Source: Yerevan Press Club Weekly Newsletter, December 10-16, 2004

On December 10, on the International Day of Human Rights in Yerevan the
ceremony of awarding monetary prizes to the winners of competition
“Human Rights and Environment” was held. The competition was
administrated by the OSCE Office in Yerevan jointly with the Public
(Airbus) Center of Environmental Information.

In the nomination “Print media” the first prize was awarded to Susanna
Shakhnazarian (“Ban ev Gorts”, Syunik region), the second – to Karineh
Danielian (“Azg”, Yerevan), the third – to Arthur Sakunts and Narineh
Bulghadarian (“Civil Initiative”, Vanadzor). Encouraging prizes in this
nomination were conferred on Anush Sargsian (“Loru Marz”, Lori region)
and Sarah Petrosian (“Investigative Journalists” public organization).

In the nomination “TV Journalism” the first prize was granted to Edik
Baghdasarian (“Versus” studio, Yerevan), the second – to Satenik
Kaghzvantsian (free-lance journalist, Shirak region), the third – to
Valery Gasparian (Armenian branch of “Mir” Interstate TV and Radio

Encouraging prizes were also conferred on Nelly Danielian
(“Yerkir-Media”, Yerevan) and Stella Martirosian (“Shoghakat”, Yerevan).

Special prize was awarded to the film of Hrachia Papinian (“Ankyun+3”,
Lori region).


Source: Arminfo, December 17, 2004

By the end of this year the Sanir company from Iran will give start to a
tender to enroll subcontractors or laying the Armenian section of the
Iran-Armenia gas pipeline, says the director general of ArmRosGazprom
company Karen Karapetyan.

He says that his company will certainly take part in the tender and has
quite good chances to win it. “Even if we lose the winners will be
forced to cooperate with us considering that we have domestic gas market
monopoly,” says Karapetyan. He notes that after the Iran-Armenia gas
pipeline is built and the Abovyan underground gas depositary is restored
Armenia will have almost no energy security problems.

Sanir is the general contractor of the project. Iran will lend Armenia
$30 mln for laying the Armenian section of the pipeline – from Megri to
Kajaran. The loan will be given for 7.5 years at 5% a year. The project
will be finished in two years to be launched Jan 1 2007.



Baku-Ceyhan Campaign
Friends of the Earth
Corner House

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1st 2004

Major Private Backer Pulls Out of Embattled BP Oil Pipeline
Italy’s Largest Bank Selling its $60 Million Stake in Baku-Ceyhan

Italy’s largest bank, Banca Intesa, has decided to sell its $60 million
stake in BP’s hugely controversial Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil
pipeline, a new article reveals today. So concerned is Banca Intesa at
the reputational and other risks associated with the BTC project that it
has already sold one third of its share at a loss.

The decision by Banca Intesa to abandon the embattled BTC project is
disastrous for BP, as the long-term viability of the pipeline depends on
support from private finance. The move, reported in a detailed article
by journalist Michael Gillard on the Spinwatch website
(), follows Banca Intesa’s deepening concern over
evidence of safety failures and BP incompetence, first raised by former
BP consultant Derek Mortimore earlier this year.

Mortimore noted that BP’s choice of safety coating for the Georgian and
Azeri sectors of the BTC project would not work, leaving the pipeline
open to corrosion, leakage and possible explosions. This directly
contradicted repeated assurances from BP that pipeline leakage would be
`virtually impossible.’ BTC passes through several areas of outstanding
natural beauty on its way to delivering Caspian oil to Western markets.

The UK government has subsequently admitted to a parliamentary inquiry
that the coating system has no track record, contrary to its previous
assurances, and that the pipeline would be likely to fail some time
during its forty year operational life. Engineers’ reports further
suggest that the equivalent coating for the Turkish sector has suffered
`catastrophic failures’ on four other pipelines.

According to Gillard, the revelations `staggered’ Banca Intesa, which
agreed to participate in BTC only because of the involvement of the
World Bank, and was `very disturbed’ at the Bank’s lack of due

Greg Muttitt of PLATFORM, one of a coalition of human rights and
environmental organisations that have been monitoring the BTC project
for the last three years, said, `This extraordinary move shows just how
widespread concerns about the safety of BTC now are. When a major
private backer pulls out of a project, it suggests that something is
seriously wrong: the private sector doesn’t take financial losses on its
investments without a very good reason.’

Nick Hildyard of the Corner House, another group involved in monitoring
BTC, said, `Banca Intesa’s withdrawal adds yet more credence to our
demand for an independent audit of the safety of the Baku-Ceyhan
project. BP guaranteed affected people that they would not suffer as a
result of this project. Why won’t they prove that by having the pipeline

Gillard’s article, in addition to its revelations on Banca Intesa,
provides a detailed account of the safety issue and of allegations of
procurement fraud and incompetence that have dogged BP for the last two

For more information, contact:

Michael Gillard 07949 964354
Anders Lustgarten 07973164363
Greg Muttitt 07970589611
Nick Hildyard 01258 817518

Within the framework of the project `Raising level of public
environmental awareness and information in the transboundary region of
the South Caucasus Countries’ implemented by five partner organizations

CENN launched first cycle of environmental trainings / workshops within
the framework of the ENVSEC Initiative project `Raising level of public
environmental awareness and information in the transboundary region of
the South Caucasus Countries’ implemented by GTZ (GTZ Food Regional
Cooperation and Security (FRCS) project) and supported by the ENVSEC
Initiative (OSCE, UNEP, UNDP).

The trainings / workshops are focused to provide the participants with
the information on:
ž Natural resource and their use;
ž Sustainable development;
ž Environmental problems- result of non-sustainable use of natural
ž Environmental security as the cross-cutting aspect of human and
national security;
ž ENVSEC Initiative;
ž `Cause-Problem-Solution’ of the local environmental problems;
ž Elaboration of environmental action plans for solution of the
environmental problems.

The project includes two cycles of trainings / workshops and
implementation of environmental actions / campaigns to take place in
transboundary districts of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. After the
workshops in a later stage, the local community associations will
establish Public Environmental Information Points / Centers. The Public
Environmental Information Points / Centers will work in close
cooperation on solution of local and regional environmental problems and
implementation of the Aarhus Convention on the local and regional levels
together with other organizations in the neighboring districts (e.g.
CENN Public Environmental Information Centers in Bolnisi, Kazakh and
Akhtala supported by the Eurasia Foundation).

For further information on the project, please contact: GTZ FRCS office:
[email protected]

For information on the environmental trainings and workshops, please
contact the CENN office: [email protected]


Source: Armenian NGO News in Brief, December 12, 2004

On November 2, a new Community Center opened its doors in Gyumri. The
building was renovated by the Norwegian Refugee Council and houses
Community Social-Healthcare and Pedo-Psychological Assistance Centers as
well as a Kindergarten. Services of the Community Social-Healthcare
Center will be provided by Mission Armenia Charitable NGO and are
designed to meet the needs of vulnerable, single, older and disabled
people and refugees residing in temporary dwellings. This integrated
center includes a soup kitchen, social services center, health post,
bath and laundry, hairdressing room, training resource center,
conference room and other more.

The soup kitchen will be operational on weekdays and provide hot
nutritious meals to about 200 beneficiaries. The social services center
will provide health, psychological, legal trainings and individual
consultations. The in-home services for almost 600 single older
residents of Gyumri are one of the most significant activities to be
carried out through the center: provision of individual care, personal
hygiene, medical assistance, psychological, gerontological and legal
assistance, home renovation, heating of homes, and more. It will also
serve as a good place for arranging cultural events, meetings and
round-table discussions. The health post will provide primary health
care and necessary medications to beneficiaries free of charge. The bath
and laundry will meet primary hygienic needs of older beneficiaries. The
hairdressing room will provide relevant services to the vulnerable.
Through the training resource center, computer, hairdressing and
tailoring skills will be transferred to the vulnerable refugee and local
population of the town, providing them an opportunity to acquire new job
skills. Mission Armenia Charitable NGO implements these activities
through funding support received from USAID.

Contact: Hripsime Kirakosyan
Mission Armenia Charitable NGO
42 G. Nzdeh St.
Tel.: (374-1) 44-47-92; 44-47-93
E-mail: [email protected]


Friends of the Earth Netherlands

Banking giant ABN Amro asked to freeze its pipeline loan

Amsterdam (The Netherlands), 25 November 2004 — Friends of the Earth
Netherlands (Milieudefensie) wants ABN AMRO to take urgent action to
prevent the environmental disaster that threatens British oil company
BP’s oil pipeline in the Caucasus.

Experts have concluded that the methods used during the construction of
the pipeline could lead to large oil spills and even heavy explosions.
ABN Amro is an important investor in the controversial oil pipeline that
runs from Baku (Azerbaijan) through Tbilisi (Georgia) and to Ceyhan

Following irregularities during the construction of the pipeline,
experts were asked to testify before an Enquiry Committee of the British
Parliament last week. Civil servants of the British Export Credit Agency
(ECGD) admitted to the committee that there was a considerable risk that
the pipeline could leak. The experimental anti-corrosion treatment that
was applied to prevent the pipeline from rusting is not working and
apparently was not adequately tested. In the past, BP claimed that the
risk of the pipeline leaking was ‘practically impossible’.

Before even one drop of oil has been transported, the pipeline is
already showing hairline fractures. Research has made clear that over a
quarter of the welding seams in the Georgian part of the pipeline are
not in order. Derk Mortimore, a consultant hired by BP, who warned BP of
these risks in 2002, was fired afterwards. Mortimore concluded that the
pipeline meant BP would be burying ‘thousands of environmental time
bombs’. The effects of an accident could be disastrous to the
environment, especially where the pipeline goes through the ecologically
significant National Park Borjomi in Georgia.

In November 2003 and February 2004, Friends of the Earth Netherlands
warned ABN Amro of the risks of this project and urged the bank to
withdraw from the project until sufficient environmental measures had
been taken. The bank ignored these demands and played down the evidence
of BP’s negligence. ABN Amro is an important investor in the 3.6
billion-dollar project.

“ABN Amro must accept its responsibility and freeze BP’s loan until the
company takes adequate measures to guarantee the safe functioning of the
pipeline,” says Paul de Clerck, Friends of the Earth Netherland’s
campaign coordinator. If BP does not solve the problems sufficiently,
the bank should withdraw from the project.

Added De Clerck: “ABN Amro’s integrity is at stake. Investing in this
pipeline is contrary to its own policy on corporate responsibility and
the sustainability rules called the ‘Equator Principles’ that it also
has adopted.”

For more information:

Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) Press Office,
+31 (0) 20 5507 333 or


Security expected to improve at Kazakh biological facilities

Source: , December 17, 2004

Washington — Kazakhstan and the United States have signed an agreement
designed to eliminate the threat of proliferating biological weapons
(BW) or the use of related technology or know-how by terrorists.

On December 8, 2004 the two nations signed an amendment to a 1995
bilateral agreement that is part of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat
Reduction program. The program is designed to prevent the proliferation
of biological weapons technology, pathogens and expertise.

Under the terms of agreement, the United States will provide $35 million
for study projects, including one designed to develop medical
countermeasures for diseases than could be spread in Central Asia by
biological agents such as the plague.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar pushed for
stronger cooperation between the two nations during a visit to Almaty in
2003. The latest development prompted he to praise the Bush
administration and the Defense Department: “This is a critical step
forward in addressing the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons
of mass destruction,” Senator Lugar said.

Senator Lugar also praised Kazakhstan for partnering with the United
States “to work toward successfully eliminating the risk of biological
weapons and preventing bioterrorism.”

The U.S. assistance will be used to prevent the proliferation of BW
through cooperative research efforts, strengthen biosafety and
biosecurity at Kazakh facilities, consolidate dangerous biological
agents at secured central repositories, eliminate BW-related equipment
and infrastructure, and bolster Kazakhstan’s ability to detect
biological agents and to deter or respond to an attack.

Lugar spokesman Mark Hayes is quoted in the Global Security Newswire as
saying this is the first time the United States has had a comprehensive
biological weapons engagement with Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan has not signed the 1975 convention banning biological

More information about the convention is available on the Internet at


IOS Press is pleased to announce the launching of the book “Ecological
Agriculture and Rural Development in CEE Countries” (edited by Walter
Leal Filho, TUTech, Hamburg, Germany), published as volume 44 of the
NATO Science Series (Science and Technology Policy). The book contains a
set of papers on matters related to sustainable agriculture from a
number of countries (e.g. Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania,
Turkey, UK), paying a particular attention to the situation in Central
and Eastern Europe. The publication considers how elements of science
and technology policy in agriculture, which are intertwined, may promote
sustainable practices that may reconcile agriculture and biodiversity.

“Ecological Agriculture and Rural Development in CEE Countries” (edited
by Walter Leal Filho), 2004, 228 pp., Hardcover, ISBN 1 58603 439 1,
published by IOS Press, Amsterdam (Further details at:
or [email protected])


A new report on oil and gas revenues and budgets has found that
political repression is most extreme in countries that possess
substantial oil and gas wealth. `Follow the Money’, published by the
US-based policy program Revenue Watch, aims to help citizens of
resource-rich countries more effectively monitor government earnings and
expenditures, based on the experiences of some of the most successful
budget groups in the world. `Follow the Money’ is the first in a series
of guides promoting government transparency and accountability to be
released by Revenue Watch, an initiative of the pro-democracy Open
Society Institute, a private grant-making foundation founded by
billionaire investor George Soros.

The report is available online at:


A submission by Thomas Devine, Legal Director, Government Accountability
Project (GAP), to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Roundtable
on whistleblower protection policies of multilateral development banks A
Washington, DC-based legal advocacy groups reports it has been
‘overwhelmed’ by whistleblowers from multilateral development banks
(MDBs) who describe a ‘nightmare of repression’ when they trust MDB
reporting channels and try to use them. Addressing a US Senate
roundtable on MDB whistleblower protection policies, Thomas Devine,
legal director of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), said
nearly all the new whistleblowers GAP had seen were from the WB. The
Bank’s whistleblower policy in practice had been ‘the primary weapon
against them,’ he said, adding that the Bank’s Department of
Institutional Integrity (INT) had been more active investigating
whistleblowers than their evidence of institutional corruption. ‘Instead
of being trusted as a safe haven, many whistleblowers view INT as a
legalized plumbers unit,’ – originally, a White House creation to plug
leaks and perform political espionage – Devine told the Senate. He said
entrenched patterns at institutions like the World Bank will only be
disrupted when the US Treasury begins aggressively enforcing the
transparency mandate of the McConnell-Leahy amendment. This provision
requires the Treasury to report to Congress on progress at the MDBs
toward achieving a set of specific transparency and accountability
goals, including effective whistleblower protection, by June 2005. So
far, reports Devine, the Treasury’s initial assessments have ‘skipped’
the word ‘effective,’ and have only disclosed whether banks had a
program on paper. ‘As a result,’ he said, the ‘Treasury’s report was
only marginally better than meaningless.’ Most significant, said Devine,
has been a ‘disturbing pattern’ of personal leadership by World Bank
President James Wolfensohn in ‘sustaining both harassment and an
environment of fear.’ Mr. Wolfensohn has repeatedly personally
intervened with INT for investigations of whistleblowers. Unless he
drastically reverses course Devine warned, ‘his legacy for the Bank will
be intensified secrecy enforced by repression.’ Strong whistleblower
protection is being viewed as an essential tool in the fight against
corrupt uses of MDB funds which the Senate Committee has been told could
amount to as much as $200 billion dollars over the past 60 years.



Source: Mountain Forum, December 14, 2004

First Announcement and Call for Papers

Organized by: International Friends of Nature, Institute of Tourism and
Recreation of Cracow Academy of Physical Education

Polish Tourist Country Lovers’ Society (PTTK) – Cracow Academic Section
to be held in Szklarska Poreba (Poland)

14 – 17 April 2005

Mountain huts play a pivotal role in access to the World’s high places.
They allow climbers to commence their ascents early in the morning,
backpackers can create adventurous high-level treks, but they should not
be viewed simply as facilities; properly managed mountain huts evoke a
powerful atmosphere of fellowship, helpfulness and responsibility which
has an educational impact, especially on younger tourists. Some mountain
huts are very old, possessing rich historical and architectural values,
and should be protected as cultural monuments in their own right. On the
other hand mountain huts are a form of enterprise, which have to be
economically viable. Finally, mountain huts are invariably sited within
a very fragile natural environment, intruding upon the landscape and
impacting upon local biodiversity. Technical and economic developments
together with the growing and increasingly sophisticated demands of
people are changing the nature and extent of mountain tourism. Mountain
huts are not immune to these pressures. Larger, more accessible, and
increasingly comfortable huts inevitably results in increased impacts on
local resources.

This is why the organizers have decided to invite people involved in the
various aspects of this complex issue to jointly discuss the present and
the future of mountain huts. The objectives of the Seminar are to
exchange information, experience and ideas on topics which include:

o mountain huts as historical monuments and witnesses to the past;
o huts in the mountain landscape (disfigurement or additional value?);
o environmental impact of mountain huts and how to limit it;
o mountain huts as a place of interpretation and education;
o creating the right social atmosphere in mountain huts;
o nature – friendly mountain huts;
o mountain huts and protected areas – conflict or cooperation?

In addition the Seminar will provide participants with an opportunity to
visit the Giant (Karkonosze) Mountains National Park – an area of
exceptional bio-cultural diversity and with more than two hundred years
history of mountain tourism. Visits to other national parks in the
Sudety Mountains will be possible during the post-seminar excursions.


The organizers invite participation from all people with an involvement
or interest in mountain tourism – natural as well as cultural –
including managers of mountain huts, mountain guides, tour leaders,
interpreters, rangers, park managers responsible for environmental
education, scientists, writers and journalists interested in mountain
issues from all over the world.

Call for papers:

Participants are kindly invited to submit papers, posters or any other
kind of presentation related to the theme of the Seminar. Papers,
accepted by the Editorial Committee, will be published in the
post-conference issue of Folia Turistica – the scientific journal edited
by the Institute of Tourism and Recreation in Cracow.

All colleagues wishing to participate or to be informed about further
details are requested to send an e-mail or fax to:

Michael Prochazka – [email protected]
Fax: ++43 1 8129789
Or Piotr Dabrowski – [email protected]
Fax: ++48 12 4231697
Indicating: name, surname, e-mail address and represented
Institution/society/protected area/company/media organization. The
organizers will forward full details and a registration form.

We look forward to seeing you in Szklarska Poreba!
Michael Prochazka – Secretary General IFN
Piotr Dabrowski – Chairman of the Cracow Academic Section of PTTK


In November -December 2004, each regional office of UNEP hosted a civil
society meeting (six in total) in preparation of the 6th Global Civil
Society Forum (GCSF). Gathering around 40 civil society representatives,
each forum had a special focus on international environment governance
(IEG), the UNEP work programme 2006-07 and UNEP capacity building
cooperation with civil society. On December 3, 2004, two civil society
organizations from each region gathered in Nairobi to elaborate a global
civil society statement based on the regional outcomes.

I also attended civil society meeting in Geneva and actively
participated in adoption of regional statement. I had informed
attendants about activities in the sphere of information dissemination,
activities of working groups on GMO, European Plan on Environment and
Health and Ecostrategy.

First of all I had driven attention of attendance to water, sanitation
and human settlement issues and I am happy to say that everybody
supported to include this important (mainly for the South Caucasus
region) issue into the statement which describes the importance of UNEP
participation in realization of EU Water Initiative(See page 5 of the
attached statement of UNEP ROE)

On February 19-20, 2004 more than 100 civil society representatives from
all over the world are expected to attend the 6th GCSF. The event,
organized back to back with the GC-23/GMEF, February 21-25, 2005 is the
main venue for civil society to participate in UNEP decision-making

The regional and the global statements will be distributed to
governments in in view of the twenty-third session of UNEP Governing
Council/ Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC-23/GMEF) and are also
available online().

By decision of UNEP ROE I will be among those who will present mentioned
statement to the 6th Global Civil Society Forum (February 2005, Nairobi,

Best regards

Rafig Verdiyev, ECORES, UNEP NC, Azerbaijan


Special British Ecological Society Institute of Ecology and
Environmental Management Conference

Ecological Impact Assessments: Science and Best Practice

The venue and date of this conference is to be changed (originally Bath
Spa University College: 12-13th July 2005)

Further announcements will be made on the venue and date as soon as

The call for papers has also been extended to 1st February 2005.

Aims of the conference

Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are an important tool for
conserving ecosystems and biodiversity in the wider environment. Recent
national and international legislation has increased mandatory
requirements for EIAs, their scope and standards. However, standards of
ecological assessment have often been deficient and current ecological
principles and scientific methods overlooked or poorly applied.

The BES (Conservation Ecology Group) and IEEM are therefore organising a
joint symposium, the aim of which is to complement the Guidelines for
Ecological Impact Assessment that are being prepared by IEEM by
focussing on raising the standards of ecological science in EIAs. The
specific objectives of the conference are to:

– emphasize the need for ecological science in EIAs;
– promote current best practices in the application of ecological
science to EIAs;
– identify opportunities for applying new ecological theories and
knowledge in EIAs; and
– identify further ecological research needs with respect to EIAs.

The conference is primarily aimed at ecological scientists undertaking
research applicable to impact assessments, EIA clients and
practitioners, and others involved in the EIA process, including
developers, consultants, planners, government development agencies,
local authorities, conservation agencies, lecturers and trainers in EIA
and non-governmental conservation organisations. Attendance will be
limited to a maximum of 200.

The meeting will consist of a 2-day symposium, with presentations
reviewing key issues, and workshop sessions to produce agreed practical
recommendations on best practice. This will be followed by a web-based
discussion forum on the meeting’s conclusions and recommendations. The
symposium presentations and the workshop recommendations will be fully
published as edited and peer reviewed proceedings.

Call for papers

Proposals are now invited for papers and presentations on the following

1. Surveys and evaluation of ecological importance, e.g.
2. Design and analysis of ecological surveys (e.g. quantifying the
probability of detecting species of conservation importance).
3. Identification of valued ecosystem components and sensitive
4. Evaluating and reporting on the importance of habitats and species.
5. Evaluating the importance of a species’ population (e.g. approaches
for taking into account biogeographical importance, the role of
metapopulations and migration staging posts).
6. Defining, quantifying and assessing the significance of ecosystem
functions and services.

Predicting impacts and their significance, e.g.

– The application of risk theory to ecological impact predictions.
– Modeling and quantifying impacts from habitat loss and change.
– Quantifying disturbance impacts.
– Predicting cumulative impacts.
– Reporting on the significance of impacts.

Mitigation techniques, e.g.

– The effectiveness of translocations and the factors that promote
– Habitat restoration, enhancement and creation; predicting the
likelihood of success and the value of habitats in the short and
– Approaches for monitoring mitigation success.

Presentation proposals should initially assume a 40 minute presentation
and should focus on one or more of the topics listed above.
Presentations should include a relatively broad review of the topic in
question and then focus on a few case studies that illustrate best
practice application of ecological science to EIAs. Presentations should
conclude with key recommendations for application of ecological science
to the particular issue in question, and where appropriate, requirements
for further research that may assist with raising ecological standards
in EIAs.

All reasonable travel and conference subsistence costs will be
reimbursed for speakers from the UK and elsewhere.

Proposals for presentations should be made by submitting a detailed
abstract together with a CV to the conference coordinator Graham Tucker
[email protected] (Tel. 01480 498395). The abstract
should clearly define the topics that will be covered in the paper,
briefly describe the case studies that will be examined and outline the
key recommendations that will be made. Any publications, or papers in
press or preparation by the author(s) that relate to the presentation
should be listed with full citation details.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 1st February 2005.

Poster papers may also be presented, and instructions for offering
posters will be provided on this website in February.


Subscribing Information

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

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


Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)

E-mail: [email protected]

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Although, CENN retains the right to edit all materials both for content
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Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)

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

CENN is a moderated mailing list created by Caucasus Environmental
NGO Network (CENN) to maintain and encorage e-mail discussions on
environmental issues in the Caucasus region and abroad.
By sending the letter on address [email protected] all subscribers will
receive it. To unsubscribe, send the message <UNSUBSCRIBE CENN> to
[email protected] The message subject is irrelevant and can be left

For help, contact the list manager: [email protected]

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

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

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