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CENN: 70 Issue of the CENN Electronic Bulletin - 07/2004

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  • CENN: 70 Issue of the CENN Electronic Bulletin - 07/2004

    Caucasus Environmental NGO Network

    70 Electronic Bulletin:
    Caucasus Environmental News

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


    1. Announcements
    1.1. Information regarding the IMF / World Bank annual meetings
    1.2. EIA Report of "Accomplishment and research of the inert materials
    of Krtsanisi, Gardabani Region"
    1.3. EIA Report of "Project of the cement grinding mini enterprise in
    Tbilisi." by the `Georgian Tazm' Ltd
    1.4. EIA Report of "Manganese processing mini enterprise in Chiatura" by
    the `Laguna' Ltd
    1.5. EIA Report of the "Project on the processing of the Saskhor
    carbonate deposit, west section in Mtskheta region " by the
    `Kaspicement'' Ltd

    2. News from Georgia
    2.1. Major BTC story: BP, its pipeline, and an environmental time bomb
    2.2. BTC Co. represent naives visit Borjomi portion of
    Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
    2.3. $2bn already invested in Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline
    2.4. CIP Improved School Project contract awarded
    2.5. Georgia to sell 5 hydro plants
    2.6. BTC construction suspended

    3. News from Azerbaijan
    3.1. Caspian region's ecology to be in focus
    3.2. Turkey and Azerbaijan sign agreement on environment protection
    3.3. BP conducts seminar
    3.4. Ecological situation under supervision

    4. News from Armenia
    4.1. The lake Sevan's level increase
    4.2. One killed, 7 injured in explosion at Armenian power station
    4.3. Rapid poverty monitoring methodology developed by UNDP Armenia
    4.4. Summer school was held at the Yeravan State University

    5. NGO News
    5.1. Campaigners urge halt to BP "environmental timebomb"
    -Whistleblowers expose Turkey pipeline

    6. Legal News
    6.1. State Sanitary Supervision Inspection of Tbilisi
    6.2. The government of Georgia adopted resolution #50

    7. International News
    7.1. Caucasian reserve: Whether explosions will thunder nearby?
    7.2. Five new natural world heritage sites designed
    7.3. Childhood pesticide poisoning: Information for advocacy and action
    7.4. The Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health
    7.5. Expert Group on Public Participation in International Forums
    7.6. Pine trees send a warning to nuclear community
    7.7. World Bank faces calls for poverty test on energy projects

    8 Calendar (International)
    8.1. Second International Ukrainian Conference on Biomass for Energy
    8.2. Call for paper: Bioenergy in Wood Industry



    Dear Civil Society Colleagues:

    This is to update you on relevant information related to the
    accreditation process and civil society dialogues during the upcoming
    Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank that will take place in
    Washington, DC on October 4-5, 2004. You can also find this information
    at the World Bank's website for CSOs at:

    You can now apply online for accreditation to attend the 2004 Annual
    Meetings and related events. To do so, please go to: Once you submit
    your request for accreditation, you will receive an instant email reply
    confirming the receipt of your request, and advising you how to check on
    the status of your application while it is being processed. As you
    might know, all requests for visitors, including civil society, are
    subject to clearance. Your request will be cleared by the Executive
    Director of the country from which your request originates.

    If you are unable to submit this request on-line, please fax your
    written request, on your institution's letterhead paper, to the Special
    Guests and Visitors Office at: (1-202) 522-7408. Your request should
    include your full name, title, complete mailing address and
    telephone/facsimile numbers, and an e-mail address if possible.

    We strongly encourage you to apply for accreditation as soon as
    possible. Many of you will need a visa to enter the United States and
    that could take a long time to obtain. Please initiate the visa process
    as soon as possible. If the US authorities in your country request a
    confirmation letter or fax in order to get your visa, please contact:

    Special Guests and Visitors Office, World Bank
    Telephone: (1-202) 458-0264
    Facsimile: (1-202) 522-7408

    After you've completed the online registration and have received the
    email receipt they will be able to issue such letter/fax for you.

    The deadline for accreditation is September 3, 2004. NO REQUESTS WILL BE


    Please note that as of this year, the NGO/PRESS badge will be
    discontinued. We will provide the accredited CSOs with a meeting space
    close to the press room in the IMF building for meetings with
    journalists, CSO press conferences etc. The room will be equipped with
    work stations and a live feed from the press conference room. We will
    also distribute in that room all communiquÈs and other press releases as
    soon as they become public and available to journalists. Also, a number
    of seats in the press conference room will be reserved for CSOs, who
    will be accommodated on a first-come, first-serve basis. We will do our
    best to facilitate your contacts with the press covering the Annual


    In an effort to address the major development challenges and in response
    to requests coming from civil society, a number of Policy Dialogue
    Sessions for interested CSO representatives will be organized before and
    during the 2004 Annual Meetings, between Wednesday, September 29 and
    Wednesday, October 6. We welcome any suggestions and ideas of topics of
    these discussions. You can submit your comments to:
    [email protected] for World Bank or: [email protected] for IMF
    meetings. Details of these dialogues will be made available at: closer to the date.

    We're looking forward to seeing many of you in Washington!

    World Bank and IMF Civil Society Teams

    Civil Society Team
    The World Bank
    Phone: (1-202) 473-1840


    Source: `Sakartvelos Respublica' (`Republic of Georgia'), July 7, 2004

    In accordance with the Georgian legislation, entrepreneur Paata Chokheli
    submitted EIA report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain
    an environmental permit for the activity of second category
    -Accomplishment and Research of the inert materials of Krtsanisi,
    Gardabani Region.

    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 September 2, 2003.

    Public hearing will be held on September 2, 2003 at 12:00, at the
    conference hall of the Ministry of Environment.


    Source: `Sakartvelos Respublica' (`Republic of Georgia'), July 16, 2004

    In accordance with the Georgian legislation, `Georgian Tazm' 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 cement Grinding Mini Enterprise in 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 August 31, 2004.

    Public hearing will be held on August 31, 2004 at 12:00, at the
    conference hall of the Ministry of Environment.


    Source: `Sakartvelos Respublica' (`Republic of Georgia'), July 16, 2004

    In accordance with the Georgian legislation, `Laguna' Ltd. submitted EIA
    report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain an
    environmental permit for the activity of first category -Project of the
    oil and Flour Producing Enterprise from the fish, in Poti.

    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 August 31, 2004.

    Public hearing will be held on August 31, 2004 at 12:00, at the
    conference hall of the Ministry of Environment.


    Source: `Sakartvelos Respublica' (`Republic of Georgia'), July 16, 2004

    In accordance with the Georgian legislation, `Kaspicement' Ltd.
    submitted EIA report to the Ministry of Environment of Georgia to obtain
    an environmental permit for the activity of second category -Project on
    the Processing of the Saskhor Carbonate Deposit, West Section in
    Mtskheta Region..

    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 August 31, 2004.

    Public hearing will be held on August 31, 2004 at 12:00, at the
    conference hall of the Ministry of Environment.


    Please find below two related articles about the BTC pipeline from
    Saturday's edition of the UK's "Independent" newspaper.


    Source: Independent, June 26, 2004

    The safety of a controversial oil pipeline being built by one of
    Britain's largest companies has been jeopardize by cost cutting,
    incompetence and shoddy workmanship by contractors, whistleblowers have

    Former senior workers have revealed a catalogue of failures they say
    could lead to a major oil leak that would devastate one of the world's
    most environmentally sensitive areas. A dossier including their
    evidence, seen by The Independent, indicates BP's contractors and
    sub-contractors are cutting corners to get the job completed on time.

    The whistleblowers, qualified professionals, say BP made a major mistake
    in handing control of the section of the 1,000-mile pipeline through
    Turkey to a government-owned company, BOTAS, on a fixed-price contract.
    The full line runs from the Caspian Sea to the Turkish Mediterranean
    port of Ceyhan.

    The project ran into opposition from civil rights and environmental
    groups when BTC, the 11-member consortium led by BP, sought funding from
    public bodies such as the World Bank and the UK's Export Credit
    Guarantee Department (ECGD). Opponents said the pipeline, which would be
    driven through some of the world's most earthquake-prone and
    conflict-ridden areas, would wreak environmental, social and economic
    havoc. A spokesman for the ECGD said the department believed it had made
    a full assessment of the project before it decided to support it.

    The whistleblowers' statements, which will be given to the MPs next
    month, say that:

    o builders cut off villages' water supplies, flooded farmland and
    allowed oil leaks;
    o there were insufficient checks for the risk of the pipe buckling in
    earthquake zones;
    o crucial welding work often failed inspections;
    o those who complained were sacked or made to leave;
    o workers handled toxic coating materials without proper health and
    safety equipment.

    Dennis Adams, a senior engineer who quit after six weeks after not being
    paid, said the contractors' work was disorganized and mismanaged. Pipes
    were left exposed for longer than specifications allowed and trenches
    were filled with materials that might allow uncontrolled movement of the
    pipes. "Safety violations were occurring at all times, including workers
    in deep unprotected and unstable areas," he said.

    "I don't have much hope for the future integrity or proper maintenance
    and operation of a pipeline of this size and importance being primarily
    sponsored by one of the largest petroleum companies in the world. It is
    quite obvious that [BP] are not in control of the Turkish section of
    this pipeline."

    Another manager, who asked not to be named, said he was removed from his
    job after he raised concerns over the way the project was being managed.
    "I have over 20 years' pipeline experience and this project is unique.
    It's a complete mess-up. No one wants this on their CV. It's an

    Documents were not properly kept and problems with inspections and the
    quality of the work being done were covered up. "Everything is done
    badly," he said. "I believe at this stage that quality issues - health,
    safety, environment - will be substantially affected."

    Colynn Burrell, an American with 35 years' experience, said he was
    dismissed after 10 weeks working at the Ceyhan terminal for highlighting
    major design problems. He complained about a problem with the drainage
    system that meant toxins flowed straight into the ground. "I insisted on
    getting the subcontractor to seal the perforations at the bottom of the
    pipe to create a channel. The manager said it was expensive." Mr.
    Burrell said he was told at one point that all pipe welding was being
    failed by inspectors; the normal failure rate was 6 per cent.

    Mike Morley, a Briton who was sacked as a weld-coatings inspector, said
    "numerous" welds had to be redone; many others had been laid before
    inspection. Even when inspections did take place, the results were not
    filed. The House of Commons Trade and Industry Committee has started an
    inquiry into the decision by the department to use taxpayers' money to
    underwrite loans of $150m (£83m). Martin O'Neill, Committee chairman,
    said he would look at all allegations "without prejudice". The ECGD has
    commissioned a new report into the pipeline, which is expected next

    A spokesman for BP said last night: "We, along with Botas, will continue
    look at any serious allegations and if they are valid make sure they are
    put right." He said Botas had pledged to maintain the highest health,
    safety, environment, labour and human rights standards and good
    international practices. "Botas has an obligation and BTC [the
    consortium] expects that Botas's construction techniques and testing
    regimes will ensure the pipeline will be laid safely and that it will
    operate safely in accordance with those standards," he said.

    "Inevitably with construction projects of this size there are
    challenges, but BTC will continue to work with our partner to resolve


    Source: Independent, June 26, 2004

    Where there's oil, there's trouble - and never has that been truer than
    today amid fears of a price surge that could pitch the world's economy
    back into recession.

    More than a decade ago the West, and particularly the United States,
    realized that it needed to guarantee oil supplies well into the next
    century in an increasingly war-torn world.

    And that was before Osama bin Laden threatened to take control of Saudi
    Arabia, the world's largest producer, and oil-rich Russia's government
    embarked on a plan to take control of its vast reserves.

    The answer was to cut out those two tinderbox regions by building a
    pipeline that would bring crude from the Caspian Sea to the
    Mediterranean coast and the safe hands of fellow Nato member Turkey.

    Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, two former Soviet states that border the
    Caspian, between them have oil reserves three times the size of
    America's. The challenge was to find a secure way of getting the oil
    into the petrol tanks of gas-guzzling SUVs before oil shortages and
    soaring prices pushed the price of gas on America's forecourts to
    sky-high levels.

    By 2010 the Caspian region could produce 3.7 million barrels per day.
    This could fill a large hole in world supplies as world oil demand is
    expected to grow from 76 million a day in 2000 to 118.9 million by 2020.
    By this time the Middle Eastern members of Opec would be looking to
    supply half of that need.

    The answer was to drive a 1,090-mile, 42-inch wide pipe - the world's
    longest export pipeline - along a 500-metre-wide corridor from the
    Caspian Sea port of Baku in Azerbaijan to Ceyhan in Turkey via some of
    the world's most unstable and conflict-ridden nations. When it is
    complete next year, the pipeline will pump 4.2 million barrels a year,
    easing the US's reliance on the unstable Gulf states for oil.

    The project will cost up to $4bn (£2.4bn) and is being built by BTC, a
    consortium of 11 companies led by BP. Almost three quarters of the
    funding will come in the form of bank loans, including $600m from public
    bodies such as the World Bank.

    In the face of opposition from British pressure groups such as Friends
    of the Earth and civil rights groups such as the Kurdish Human Rights
    Project, BP set up an independent group, the Caspian Development
    Advisory Panel (CDAP). The panel, which included people such as Jan
    Leschly, a former head of SmithKline Beecham, and the former US Treasury
    under-secretary Stuart Eisenstat, raised concerns about the project at
    the end of last year. In their report they said they were worried
    whether BOTAS, the company awarded the contract to build the Turkish
    section, would meet its social, environmental and health and safety
    commitments given its "weak but evolving environmental and social
    compliance culture.

    "The panel heard concerns that BOTAS and its contractors might feel
    pressure to cut corners on environmental, social and technical standards
    to remain on schedule."

    It added: "The panel encourages BP... to use all its leverage, including
    stoppage of work, if necessary, to ensure BOTAS fulfils its
    commitments." But CDAP's concerns went wider, offering detailed advice
    on how to better protect human rights given that Azerbaijan, Georgia and
    Turkey have all recently seen "internal or external conflict".

    "The poor human rights record of host governments' security and military
    forces create a significant reputational risk for BP and BTC," it said.

    Objectors say the impact goes even wider. They say the threat is twofold
    - what happens if the pipeline goes wrong, and the destruction it would
    wreak even if it goes right. They say that the project will worsen the
    already polluted Caspian Sea, where sturgeon numbers are reckoned to be
    collapsing. In Georgia, the project will clear areas in two dense
    primary forests, cross the buffer zone of a protected natural park, and
    could badly affect several rare and endangered species.

    In Turkey there are more than 500 endemic plant species within the
    corridor, while a third of the country's globally threatened vertebrates
    are found within 250 meters of the corridor.

    The route crosses two sites protected under national legislation,
    including a wildlife protection area for the Caucasian grouse, a
    threatened species. There are two critically endangered plant species
    and 15 bird species with nesting pairs numbering 500 or less within the

    Campaigners say legal agreements make BP the effective governing power
    over the corridor, over-riding all environmental, social, human rights
    or other laws, present and future, for the next 40 years. Amnesty
    International says the consortium concluded an unprecedented agreement
    with the Turkish government that, it claims, would in effect strip local
    people and workers of their civil rights. And that's if the project goes
    to plan.

    If the project were to go wrong, for instance if an earthquake broke the
    pipe or the project fell into the hands of terrorists, the consequences
    would be far more serious. Turkey lies in an earthquake zone, with 17
    major shocks in the past 80 years. Since the Baku line will be in place
    for some 40 years, there is a high chance of a major earthquake during
    its operation.

    The World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development,
    Britain's Export Credit Guarantee Department and the World Bank's
    International Finance Company all carried out extensive assessments of
    the project before they decided to lend or underwrite money.

    The four whistleblowers that contacted The Independent all said the way
    the pipeline was being built failed all international standards. This
    included incorrect materials being supplied, work being started before
    the land had been surveyed, and the pipe installed before it had been

    Greg Muttitt, of the campaign group Platform, said: "Environment groups
    have raised concerns about the design of this pipeline for the past two
    years. What we are seeing now though is that the problems are far worse
    than we had imagined. This is a deeply flawed project. Now the banks,
    which ignored the warnings and financed the project regardless, have
    some serious questions to answer."


    Source: Sarke, June 25, 2004

    On June 24, 2004 the representatives of Board of Directors of BTC Co.,
    Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Company, visited the Borjomi canyon; Sarke
    has been told in the BP representation. The construction of the oil
    pipeline will shortly be launched on this ecologically complicated


    Source: RBC, June 28, 2004

    Some $ 2bn have been spent on the project of constructing the
    Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Trend news agency reported citing
    Nagit Aliyev, the President of the Azerbaijani State Oil Company
    (GNKAR). On the whole, according to him, shareholders in the project
    will invest about $3bn.

    The current pace of construction is about 1 kilometer of a pipeline a
    day. Aliyev noted that the oil pipeline would be ready for operation by
    the time oil production started in the central part of the Azeri field.

    The GNKAR head also declared that many European companies were
    interested in the project of laying the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum gas
    pipeline. Moreover, he mentioned that the European Bank for
    Reconstruction and Development had decided to allocate a $170m credit to
    GNKAR to finance its share in Phase-1 of the Shah-Deniz project and $1m
    on reorganizing the state company.

    The construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline is planned to
    be finished by the end of 2004. The capacity of the 1,760-kilometer
    pipelineó is 50m tons of oil per year. The cost of the construction is
    estimated at $2.95bn. Among shareholders in the project are BP (30.1
    percent), GNKAR (25 percent), Unocal (8.9 percent), Statoil (8.71
    percent), TPAO (6.53 percent), Eni (5 percent), Total (5 percent),
    Itochu (3.4 percent), In³ex (2.5 percent), ConocoPhilli³s (2.5 percent)
    and Amerada

    Press Release

    Source: The Georgian Messenger, July 15, 2004

    BP, as the operator of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil export pipeline
    and South Caucasus (SCP) gas pipeline projects, is pleased to announce
    the launch of the USD 2.4 mln CIP --- Improved School Project in Georgia

    Improved School Project is an extension of the Community Investment
    Program (CIP), implementation of which started a year ago, in March
    2003. The aim of CIP is to deliver tangible benefits to the communities
    along the pipeline route by promoting sustainable social and economic
    development, focusing on the projects relating to infrastructure
    repair/rehabilitation, agricultural improvements, sustainable income
    generation through micro credit and community capacity building. CIP has
    focused on the villages within the 2 km corridor on either side of the

    Based on the consultations with various NGOs, government, local
    communities, and with the aim to spread the CIP benefits to the towns
    along the pipeline route, BP and its partners in the BTC and SCP
    projects have decided to implement the CIP -- Improved School Project in
    the towns along the pipeline in addition to the current CIP activities.

    The aim of the CIP -ISP is to promote sustainable socio-economic
    development of urban areas along the pipeline route by preparing
    adolescent to participate more effectively in Georgia's future social
    and economic growth.

    CIP -- Improved School Project provides an opportunity to invest in both
    physical infrastructure rehabilitation and capacity building for
    teachers, administrators, partners and students of secondary schools,
    thus also supporting the Government of Georgia's Education System
    Realignment and Strengthening Program.

    Key outputs of the CIP -ISP project will include:

    ž Infrastructure rehabilitation in over 50 secondary schools in the
    towns of Gardabani, Marneuli, Rustavi, Tetristkaro, Bakuriani and
    Akhaltsikhe, benefiting over 28,000 students and 2,000 teachers;
    ž Over 275 teachers and administrators will be trained in specialized
    teaching or management techniques;
    ž Parents, teachers, administrators and students will be prepared for
    the national wide move to the Schools Board model of school management.

    As a pilot project, which if successfully, may be replicated in other
    towns in the future, one school in Tsalka, Bakuriani and Akhaltsikhe
    will be selected for installation of a computer lab powered by solar
    panels. This will enable students in those schools to improve the skills
    that will better prepare them to find employment in the future.

    The CIP-ISP is being carried out by the two lead CIP implementing NGOs -
    Care International and Mercy Corps, in cooperation with Technical
    Assistance in Georgia as a local partner.

    CIP-ISP is yet another example of how expansion related to the
    implementation of the two major oil and gas pipeline projects in the
    region - BTC and SCP - has resulted in significant investment by the BTC
    and SCP partner groups to benefit the countries through which these
    projects pass.

    The CIP-ISP demonstrates strong commitment of the BTC and SCP projects
    to being good neighbors, and will deliver real and tangible benefits to
    the towns along the SCP and BTC Pipeline route.


    Source: Interfax, July 20, 2004

    The Georgian Economic Development Ministry has included five
    hydroelectric plants in the west of the country, with a total capacity
    of about 250 megawatts, in the list of companies slated for
    privatization over the next year and a half, a source in the Georgian
    Energy Ministry told Interfax.

    The five plants to be privatized are Rioni, Shaori, Lajanuri, Gumati and
    Dzevruli hydroelectric plants.

    The privatization of these plants was considered back in 2002, but
    following a recommendation from the World Bank the Georgian government
    dropped its plans to privatize them. This was due to the poor technical
    and financial condition of the plants, which meant that they would not
    have generated much revenue.

    A representative with the Energy Ministry said that in 2003 USAID was
    ready to provide Georgia with a grant of $15 million to carry out urgent
    repairs at the five hydro plants in the run up to their privatization.
    This work was expected to increase the effectiveness of the plants and
    make them more attractive to future investors.

    It was hoped that after the repair work, the privatization revenue from
    the sale of the plants would amount to at least $50 million.

    However, this repair work was not carried out, Energy Ministry sources
    said. Consequently, the Rioni plant requires urgent repairs to its water
    pipe, the Gumati plant needs significant mechanical repairs and the
    Shaori plant needs repairs to its dam.

    According to Energy Ministry experts, the total value of the five
    hydroelectric plants does not currently exceed $20 million - $25

    The source was unable whether the plants would be sold separately or as
    one lot. According to preliminary information from the Energy Ministry,
    there are already investors interested in acquiring these plants as one


    Source: The Georgian Messenger, July 26, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag,
    June 29, 2004

    Participants of the international scientific-practical conference
    organized by Kazakh national University after Al-Farabi jointly with the
    close joint stock company `Kaztransoil' discuss prospects of stable
    development of ecosystems of littoral Caspian region.

    Scientists-ecologists of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and
    several Central Asiatic states attend the conference, AzerTAj
    correspondent referring to Kazakh news agencies reports.

    Aim of two-day conference is to join efforts of different specialists
    and departments for elaboration of the join plan on improvement of
    ecological situation in the region.


    Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag,
    July 9, 2004

    A signing ceremony of the Azerbaijan-Turkey agreement on cooperation on
    environment protection was held July 9, 2004 at the Ministry of
    Environment of Azerbaijan. Minister of Environment of Azerbaijan
    Huseyngulu Bagirov and Minister of Environment and Forestry Protection
    Osman Pepe signed the agreement. The agreement defines directions of
    cooperation on management of forestry and reforestation, protection of
    biodiversity and environment of the Caspian and Black seas, realization
    of environmental conventions and some other aspects that are of
    significance to ecologists.

    During the meeting with the Turkish delegation led by Osman Pepe
    preceding the signing ceremony, Minister Huseyngulu Bagirov noted that
    it is scheduled to form a joint working group composed of experts of
    environmental bodies of Azerbaijan and Turkey. Turkey is destined to
    assist Azerbaijan in modernizing of waste disposal plants, forest
    regeneration and to participate in drinking water improvement projects.

    Azerbaijan, which has a substantial experience in geological solutions
    promotion, will therefore share its experience with its Turkish
    counterparts. He also reported on representatives of business circles of
    Turkey who held preliminary talks on construction of modern waste
    disposal plants, regeneration of forest to be later used in furniture


    Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag,
    July 10, 2004

    Big projects boosting various groups of the population are being
    implemented in the settlement located along the Azerbaijani stretch of
    the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Mass media was explicitly informed
    on the projects at the press conference conducted July 9, 2004 AzerTAj
    correspondent learnt from BP-Azerbaijan.

    Manager for Social Investment Michael Hackenbrook, head of the
    humanitarian and social support center `Umid' immediately involved in
    projects implementation, Israil Iskandarov updated the journalists on
    the work done to date. Reportedly, BP and its partners for Azeri,
    Chirag, Guneshli, Shahdeniz, and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan projects financed 8
    big projects worth $5,5 million. These projects are being successfully
    implemented in the Azerbaijani stretch of the BTC export pipeline and
    Bibiheybat, Sangachal, Zikh and will be completed in 2006.

    Winners of BP-led tender - non-governmental organizations «Umid» and
    «Hayat» implement the projects related to population development.

    The seminar participants touched upon the issues of tackling social
    problems of the people living along the pipeline route.


    Source: State Telegraph Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AzerTag,
    July 20, 2004

    A meeting devoted to discussions of the program prepared by the Ganja
    regional center took place within the frameworks of the `Local activity
    program' project related to the ecological situation in the Ganjabasar
    region. Representative of the Caucasus Ecological center for Azerbaijan
    Matlab Hasanov, program coordinator Irshad Abbasov reported on the
    territory, natural resources, and economic and ecologic situation. It
    was decided to send a program to revision.


    Source: The National Hydrometeorological station of the RA, June 30,

    According to the latest news received from the Hydrometerological
    Station of the RA, the level of the Sevan during last year has increased
    and makes 1897.94m at the moment. It is higher on 46 cm than the level
    of the lake this time last year. As it's reported by the Hydromet this
    quite significant increase is due to the great amount of precipitation
    fallen in the lake Sevan region during last year.


    Source: ITAR-TASS News Agency, July 1, 2004

    A worker was killed and seven others received injuries when a tank
    holding sulfuric acid exploded on Wednesday at an Armenian power

    One of the injured workers is in critical condition, a spokesman for the
    Armenian department for emergency situations told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
    Despite the accident, the Razdan power plant, the biggest in Armenia,
    keeps operating in a routine regime, Nikolai Grigoryan said.

    The power station accounts for over 20 percent of electricity produced
    in Armenia. The station was under construction for ten years and was
    commissioned in 1976. In 2002, an agreement was signed under which a
    block of shares of the Razdan power plant goes to Russia to settle part
    of Armenia's debt to Russia.

    The power plant worth 31 million dollars is now governed by the
    International Energy Corporation, which makes part of the Unified Energy
    Systems of Russia power utility.


    Source: Armen Press, July 2, 2004

    On July 1, 2004 in the UN House, the United Nations Development Program
    (UNDP) convened a discussion on the National Human Development Survey
    (NHDS) and the Poverty Monitoring Methodology (RPMM) used during the
    NHDS. Government officials, donors and civil society experts focused on
    survey indicators, regional human poverty indices and the National
    Social Monitoring System.

    The NHDS was conducted in spring 2003 within the framework of a joint
    UNDP and Government of Armenia project on the "Creation of a Social
    Monitoring and Analysis System." The survey covered 6,000 households in
    170 rural and 41 urban communities, representatively selected from all
    eleven regions of the country, including Yerevan. For the first time,
    the survey was based on a Rapid Poverty Monitoring Methodology developed
    by UNDP. The information collected during the survey was disaggregated
    by region and population group and incorporated into databases used to
    track human development, human poverty and progress in achieving the
    Millennium Development Goals. The main findings of the NHDS are
    summarized in the fifth issue of Armenia Social Trends, a bi-annual
    bilingual informational-analytical bulletin.

    The results of the National Human Development Survey indicate that human
    poverty is more widespread in rural areas, where people have limited
    access to education, particularly pre-school and professional education.
    People living in rural areas are also negatively affected by reduced
    access to healthcare, particularly primary care, and to modern
    information technologies.

    According to Ms. Grande: "UNDP is confident that a better understanding
    of human poverty in the regions will help the Government and civil
    society to sharpen the country's pro-poor policies, ensuring that they
    are aimed at reaching the eight Millennium Development Goals and
    supporting the Poverty Reduction Strategy."

    In the framework of the "Creation of a Social Monitoring and Analysis
    System" project, a special training program in the Economics Department
    of Yerevan State University on the theoretical and practical aspects of
    databases was organized for the regional M&A units established by the
    Government. In addition, seminars and workshops on methodological and
    computerized analysis of data have been organized for the 18
    non-governmental organizations participating in the survey.


    Source: `Aravot' TV news, July 10, 2004

    Summer school on ecology and environmental management organized by
    `AZGK' NGO, Armenia, was held at the Yerevan State Universuty from June
    28 to July 10. Financial support was granted by OSI-AF-Armenian office.
    25 participants from Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Byelorus, Tadjikistan,
    Poland took a course on the following subjects - EIA (environmental
    impact assessment), especially EIA in transitional countries, water
    resources management, and environmental legislation, international
    cooperation in the field of environment, international conventions on
    environment etc. Courses consisted of lectures and field trips. Lectures
    were from the YSU, other Armenian state universities, Central European
    University (Budapest, Hungary).

    All the participants successfully left summer school and received

    5. NGO NEWS

    Friends of the Earth
    Kurdish Human Rights Project
    The Corner House
    The Baku Ceyhan Campaign

    Saturday 26th June 2004

    Environment and human rights groups have called for suspension of
    construction on a major BP oil pipeline, following new evidence
    published in today's Independent of major technical failures on the

    Four senior pipeline experts who worked on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC)
    pipeline in Turkey have revealed a catalogue of incompetence,
    cost-cutting and shoddy workmanship, which raises major questions about
    the safety of the pipeline.

    All four have successful careers of over 20 years in pipeline
    construction, and have said this is the worst project they have ever
    worked on. Their revelations include:

    o not hiring proper specialists to advise on engineering, including on
    crossing seismic faults in the earthquake-prone region;
    o using inappropriate materials and construction methods, which will not
    perform the function they are needed for;
    o not following construction design specifications and procedures;
    o failing to carry out checks or keep records on construction quality;
    o using staff without proper training or qualifications;
    o ignoring environmental or health and safety requirements;
    o causing bankruptcy of local business suppliers along the route.

    Two of the experts were sacked for raising concerns about the problems.

    The Baku Ceyhan Campaign has talked to all four whistleblowers, and is
    now calling for an urgent halt to construction activities until the
    problems are resolved. The findings run counter to repeated BP promises
    that this would be an environmentally and socially beneficial project.

    Hannah Griffiths, of Friends of the Earth, commented, `BP and financial
    institutions have ignored the warnings on this pipeline. Now the extent
    of company failings and consequent environmental risk have come to
    light, work on the project must be stopped until these issues are sorted

    Kerim Yildiz, Executive Director of the Kurdish Human Rights Project,
    added, `Villagers we have interviewed have consistently told us they
    were not properly consulted, nor informed of the risks of this pipeline.
    These new findings show the risks are even greater than we had feared'.

    Greg Muttitt, of PLATFORM, said, `BP has tried to create a reputation as
    being better than other oil companies. But, thanks to the professional
    integrity of these four and other experts, we now hear about the
    shocking reality. It is to their credit that they have taken personal
    risk to inform the public of these serious issues.'

    Anders Lustgarten, of the Baku Ceyhan Campaign, added, `We have already
    heard of faulty weld coatings being used in the Azerbaijan and Georgia
    sections of this pipeline, which BP has tried to claim were one-offs
    which are now rectified. This new dossier shows that in fact the whole
    pipeline is rotten.'

    Nicholas Hildyard, of the Corner House, commented, `We know the banks
    are already concerned about the risk their reputations from this
    project. BP has told them all is in order. It isn't, and the banks
    should now undertake their own investigation.'

    For more information
    Hannah Griffiths, Friends of the Earth: 07855 841 994
    Greg Muttitt, PLATFORM: 07970 589 611


    On June 4, 2004 the Mayor of Tbilisi adopted Order #7 `on the
    Establishment of State Sanitary Supervision Inspection of Tbilisi'.
    According to the Order, State Sanitary Supervision Office of Tbilisi
    shall be reorganized by staff cuts. Tbilisi State Sanitary Supervision
    Inspection shall be created on the basis of the reorganized city office,
    the property and material-technical base of which shall be transferred
    to the newly established Inspection.


    On June 12, 2004 the Government of Georgia adopted Resolution #50 `on
    the approval of the Regulation of the Ministry for the Protection of
    Environment and Natural Resources'. According to the Regulation the
    Ministry for the Protection of Environment and Natural Resources is a
    governmental agency of the executive power, which provides for the state
    governance in the field of environmental protection and rational use of
    natural resources, also in the ecological safety of population.

    The Regulation defines in detail the fields of activity of the Ministry
    and its objectives, also the system of the Ministry and competences of
    its structural entities. The system of the Ministry consists of
    structural entities (divisions and offices), territorial organs,
    relevant governmental agencies of autonomous republics of Abkhazia and
    Adjara, state agencies subordinated to the Ministry and legal persons of
    public law within the system of the Ministry.

    There is an acting organ - Conventional Inspection for the Protection of
    the Black Sea, which operates and its competences are determined in
    compliance with the Constitution of Georgia, principles and norms of
    international law, Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea from
    pollution, other international treaties and agreements, laws and by-laws
    of Georgia.


    Source: "Environmental Watch on North Caucasus", July 15, 2004

    Environmental Watch on North Caucasus supported by German Union of
    Conservancy (NABU) monitors the environmental problems of Caucasian
    Biosphere Reserve and adjacent areas.

    In process of monitoring information on the new dangerous project in the
    forest part of Lagonaki Uplands was collected. "Resource-Trade' Company
    from Krasnodar is going to begin exploitation of dolomite quarry 6
    kilometers southeast of Mezmay village (Apsheronsk District of Krasnodar
    Territory). It is planned to place the quarry in Mokry Zhelob Tract near
    the unique natural object of Upper Kurdjips Gorge. Border of the quarry
    closely approaches 100-meter rocky precipice of this gorge.

    Nesting sites of rare birds, including Vulture White-headed (Gyps
    fulvus), situated near planned mining area. Teply Stream flowing through
    Mokry Zhelob Tract is a powerful source of cleanest underground waters.
    Karst caves located nearby, are of great scientific and recreational
    interest. Lagonaki Plateau, a part of Caucasian Biosphere Reserve, is
    merely in 5 kilometers from this place. It holds the status of the World
    Natural Heritage. Mokry Zhelob Tract is located on a way of hiking and
    backpacking trails; it is of great recreational importance. Well-known
    mountain-skiing resort "Lagonaki' is in several kilometers vicinity.
    Wildlife complexes of this area have substantially suffered from the
    mass felling, which took place there several decades ago. Thus, less
    valuable secondary wood stock grows by separate parcels. However the
    whole area is of tremendous natural value. Pass in rocky wall of Upper
    Kurdjips Gorge that plays important role in wild animals' migration is
    located in mining area.

    Purpose of the quarry is to provide glass industry with raw material.
    According to unofficial information, quarry development is connected to
    future construction of large glass factory in Adygeya Republic. The
    expected initial area of the quarry is 5 hectares. It is the area of
    Mezmay dolomite deposit, one kilometer wide and four kilometers long
    band, stretched from Upper Kurdjips Gorge to Kamyshanova Glade. It is
    obvious that 5 hectares are only the beginning, and further dolomite
    development will take place on the much broader area. It is planned to
    build the road as well as the water collector pond on Teply Stream for
    quarry needs. Sewage disposal will also be made into this stream.
    Opencast dolomite mining with extensive use of explosives will become
    distress factor for animals.

    Thus the unique wilderness area became a target of industrial activity
    that will negatively affect its nature. This activity is planned
    parallel to decision of authorities of Apsheronsk District and Krasnodar
    Territory to develop tourism and recreation in Mezmay Rural District.

    It is a paradox that such an ecologically destructive project has
    received absolute support of MNR RF's Department of natural resource and
    environment on Krasnodar Territory. At the earliest possible date
    "Resource-Trade' Company received license "on exploration with
    simultaneous mining of dolomite in Mezmay deposit for the glass
    industry", mining lease act and the positive conclusion of the state
    environmental review. Apsheronsk leskhoz has already marked trees for
    chopping in the site of future quarry. Apsheronsk District
    Administration and "Resource-Trade' Company signed the agreement on lot
    allocation for the quarry. Biologists of the Kuban State University
    protest against this project. Biological station of the Kuban State
    University "Kamyshanova Glade" is located in several kilometers from the
    planned quarry. This area is a place of studentsÒ field practice.
    Scientists have sent an official letter to the Chief of Apsheronsk
    Administration in which they noted the great environmental and
    scientific value of the area "due to the wide expansion of karst
    forms, endemic and relic vegetation".

    In their letter scientists emphasize, that "by the quarry development
    karst landscape and karst systems will be destroyed, hydro-geological
    conditions will be broken", "new mining area creates a serious pollution
    threat to underground and surface water", "explosions will lead to
    destruction of karst cavities which are valuable in paleontological,
    archeological and excursion sense". By scientistsÒ opinion, the stream
    flowing through the area of projected quarry "is the backup source of
    pure water which should be preserved".

    Scientists asked the Head of Apsheronsk Administration "to make the
    decision to deny opening the dolomite quarry".

    At this time promotion of quarry project is suspended due to wide public
    resonance acquired by the environmental problems of Mezmay area. However
    the question on quarry construction is not taken out of agenda. The most
    part of agreements concerning this project has already been made. If the
    core decision will not be made in the near future, putting a halt to it,
    shortly explosions will thunder next to the Caucasian Reserve.


    Source: IUCN, July 1, 2004

    The World Heritage Committee inscribed five new natural World Heritage
    sites yesterday, 30 June 2004, during its 28th session in Suzhou, China.
    These include, Ilulissat Icefjord (Denmark), the Tropical Rainforest
    Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia), the Natural System of Wrangel Island
    Reserve (Russian Federation), the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas of
    South Africa, and the Pitons Management Area (Saint Lucia). For the
    first time ever, two natural sites in the Arctic have been inscribed on
    the prestigious World Heritage List. Following the positive
    recommendations of IUCN - The World Conservation Union, the UNESCO World
    Heritage Committee of 21 countries unanimously approved the listing of
    Ilulissat Icefjord of Denmark and Wrangel Island in the Russian
    Federation. `The inclusion of these two sites in the high Arctic is a
    very exciting development. The World Heritage Convention is now becoming
    a truly global instrument for conservation,' said Adrian Phillips, Vice
    Chair for World Heritage with the IUCN World Commission on Protected


    Pesticide poisoning is a serious health problem that disproportionately
    affects infants and children. Pesticides are designed to kill, reduce or
    repel insects, weeds, rodents, fungi, and other organisms that can
    threaten public health and national economies. However, when improperly
    used or stored, these chemical agents can also harm humans. Key risks
    are cancer, birth defects, and damage to the nervous system and the
    functioning of the endocrine system.

    For the more detailed information please see:


    Source: European Eco-Forum News Digest, N 83, July 2004

    The Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health "The Future
    For Our Children" took place in the Budapest Convention Centre on 23 -
    25 June 2004. It brought together 1000 delegates from 50 pan-European
    countries and 4 observer countries (USA, Canada, Argentina and Brazil)
    as well as a delegation of 20 civil society representatives. European
    ECO-Forum was represented by Sascha Gabizon, coordinator of the
    Environment and Health Issue Group. All together, this Issue Group was
    present with about 40 people at the parallel Healthy Planet Forum. Other
    ECO-Forum Issue Groups were also represented by individual members.

    The Ministers had come to Budapest to agree on three main documents: the
    Ministerial Declaration, the Children's Environment and Health Action
    Plan for Europe (CEHAPE), the Table of Child-Specific Actions on
    Environment and Health. All texts of these documents had been negotiated
    beforehand at the intergovernmental meetings. Unlike Kiev-2003
    Ministerial Conference, no legally binding agreements or protocols were
    signed in Budapest. The most interesting parts of the conference,
    according to many delegates, were the negotiations on phthalates and the
    Roundtable session organised by ECO-Forum and European Public Health
    Alliance (EPHA).

    Phthalates were the only one issue remaining in brackets in the
    Ministerial Declaration. Denmark proposed the text on agreeing on a
    general ban for phthalate (dangerous chemicals) made of soft PVC toys.
    Before the arrival of the Danish Minister of Environment on Wednesday
    evening, Denmark had not accepted any proposals for a compromise as
    negotiated by a group of EU countries. Some delegates were warning that
    the entire conference would fail and that the Ministerial Declaration
    would not be signed. In a final compromise, the text no longer refers to
    'a general ban' but in exchange for that it now mentions dangers of
    using artificial fragrances in baby toys.

    ECO-Forum was the official representative of environmental NGOs in
    Budapest. In this position ECO-Forum was asked to give one key- note
    address to the plenary on Wednesday, 23 June.

    Sascha Gabizon spoke for ECO-Forum in the session on housing and health.
    In her 5 min. presentation, she called the attention to two urgent
    topics: plastic waste-burning indoor; and toxic chemicals in our homes.
    She urged the ministers to address poverty and growing inequalities and
    develop social schemes to allow the poorest families to have heating in
    winter without destroying their health. She stressed the need to inform
    doctors, nurses, teachers, local administrators, and the general public
    about the health dangers of burning plastic waste. She asked to ban PVC
    packaging and all chlorinated plastic and promote less dangerous types
    of plastic as well as re-usable packaging. She also urged to develop a
    strong action plan for children's health, which also focuses on toxic
    material in houses. She stressed the urgency of developing a good
    chemicals legislation which will give incentives to progressive
    companies to substitute thousands of dangerous chemicals by non-toxic


    ECO-Forum was the co-organiser (with EPHA) of the Roundtable between
    Ministers and Civil Society. As Jan Pronk, who had accepted to chair the
    session, was called urgently to Sudan by UN Secretary General Kofi
    Annan, the Minister of Health of Ireland kindly agreed to chair the
    session. The session brought together 7 ministers and 8 civil society
    representatives. Each spoke about an action already being implemented by
    their country or organisation and which are an example of how to
    implement the CEHAPE.

    The ministers participating were from Denmark (Environment), Turkey
    (Health), Slovakia (Environment), Slovenia (Health), Bulgaria
    (Environment), Ireland (Health) and Moldova (Environment). Denmark spoke
    about phthalates in children toys and made a remark about cost benefit
    analysis. The Slovak minister talked about expensive PCB clean-up
    programme. He stressed it would have been much cheaper had previous
    governments taken precautionary action and not allowed the wide use of
    PCBs in the first place.

    The civil society representatives gave examples of how they are already
    implementing the CEHAPE. Catherine Boulont of Regional Authorities
    Brussels spoke of their 'green ambulances' which do toxic audits of
    people's houses. Silvia Hesse of Local Authorities Hannover spoke about
    their Mac Carrot organic food programme for schools, and their school
    mobility plans to stop the 'parents taxis'. Ingrid Shulstrom of Hennes &
    Mauritz clothing company spoke on how the company has voluntarily taken
    dangerous chemicals out of children's clothes. Professor Belpomme of the
    French Academy of Medicine presented the Paris Appeal of scientists on
    the link between chemicals and cancer.

    Katerina Ruszukova of Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) spoke on HCWH
    projects with leading hospitals in Europe (Prague, Vienna) on phasing
    out phthalates and PVC out of medical devices. Estefania Blount of
    Spanish Trade Unions spoke on how trade unions are trying to reduce
    health effects from chemicals to workers.

    Michaela Vasilescu of M&S Romania presented the experience of a
    demonstration project to improve drinking water by reducing pollution
    from farming and latrines. She called on governments to urgently address
    the needs of 150 million people in the pan- European region without
    access to safe water and sanitation by promoting preventive measures
    such as eco-sanitation toilets and organic farming. Svetlana Slesarenok
    of MAMA-86 Ukraine described how they used the Aarhus convention,
    lobbied the authorities to close a chemicals plant in Odessa, and
    cooperated with local business to clean up the plant site and install
    instead a waste- water plant.

    Healthy Planet Forum
    The Healthy Planet Forum (HPF) was organised logistically by the
    Regional Environment Center Hungary. The HPF was opened on Tuesday, 22
    June, by the Hungarian Minister of Health and the Hungarian Minister of
    the Environment. The programme was mainly prepared by ECO-Forum and EPHA
    with support from Greenpeace. Every day had a plenary in the morning and
    3-5 parallel workshops in the afternoon.

    There was very little funding to bring NGOs to Budapest. WECF was the
    largest funder of NGOs (brought 40 people, mainly from CEE and NIS
    countries), followed by EPHA (15 people, mainly from EU, and 20 youth).
    Some countries had sponsored a few NGO delegates (Germany, Netherlands).
    There were very few Hungarian NGOs participating in the HPF. Finally,
    most of the international NGOs found a way of getting into the
    ministerial conference and this left only very few NGOs in the HPF.

    In the closing session, after the discussion with EU Environment
    Commissioner Margot Wallstrom, an evaluation discussion took place. It
    was concluded that at the next E&H Conference, the HPF should take place
    in the same building as the Ministerial Conference. Since NGOs have been
    very professional in Budapest- 2004, for the next conference NGOs have
    to insist to have NGO space in the same building and more entrance
    passes. The next conference will take place in 2009, probably in Italy.

    For more information contact:
    Sascha Gabizon
    Coordinator of Environment and Health Issue Group at European ECO-Forum
    Director of Women in Europe for a Common Future
    E-mail: [email protected]


    Source: European Eco-Forum News Digest, N 83, July 2004

    The First Meeting of the Expert Group on Public Participation in
    International Forums took place on 3-4 June 2004 in Geneva to prepare
    for Guidelines on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention principles
    in international forums. The European ECO- Forum was represented by
    Anastasia Roniotis (MIO-ESDE, Greece) and John Hontelez (Public
    Participation Campaign Chair, European Environment Bureau, Belgium).
    ECO-Forum representatives received input from CEE-Bankwatch and from the
    Third World Network beforehand.

    The Expert Group also included representatives of Governments (Armenia,
    Belarus, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Moldova, Serbia- Montenegro, Sweden,
    UK, Ukraine, Uzbekistan), academics, REC, IUCN, the Stakeholder Forum,
    several representatives of Conventions and others.

    It was agreed to aim for adoption of Guidelines by the second Meeting of
    Parties of the Aarhus Convention in May 2005. That means that the
    Working Group of the Parties in its session on 1-4 February 2005
    basically has to adopt a text.

    ECO-Forum managed to get support for quite a lot of ideas.

    * It was agreed that the Guidelines address Parties, and possibly
    Signatories. They will be addressed as agents in international forums
    for the application of what is in the Guidelines.

    * After some discussion it was agreed that the Guidelines would not
    address particular processes (like banks, MEAs, organizations such as
    WTO), but describe in general what kinds of processes would fall under
    the Guidelines. There is consensus that it should go beyond
    organisations who have as their main purpose environmental policies.

    * It was agreed to focus on rights/provisions for the public and civil
    society organisations, although some were quite keen on explicitly
    including the business community in it.

    * Furthermore the guidelines will focus on facilitation of use of these
    rights, which includes to adapt/introduce certain processes, staff,
    finances and training.

    * An important point is to underline that public participation in
    international process should not be limited to the international events
    themselves. Essential is the public participation in the national
    preparations for such international events, and it will also tackle the
    issue of (meaningful) inclusion of NGOs in national delegations.

    * The most difficult issue was the access to justice. Even the Aarhus
    Convention itself does not have a mechanism where people can complain
    when not given information from the Convention secretariat or denied the
    right to participate. It was debated whether the Compliance Procedure of
    the Aarhus Convention should be presented as an example for other
    international legally binding instruments.

    The Bureau of the Convention will have to decide on 8 July 2004 whether
    the Expert Group can go ahead with the May 2005 MOP in mind. In that
    case a small drafting group will meet in September to write draft
    guidelines for approval by the second meeting of Experts in November
    2004 and final presentation to the Working Group of Parties in February

    Documents of the meeting are available at

    For more information contact:
    John Hontelez
    PPC Chair, European ECO-Forum
    Secretary General, EEB
    E-mail: [email protected]


    Source: Baltic Newsletter of the Green World, July 17, 2004,

    Genetic malformations have been found on the pine trees of Sosnovy Bor,
    the most 'nuclear' town of Russia located 80 km west of the center of
    St. Petersburg. The mutations confirmed by the geneticists from Obninsk
    and environmentalists from Sosnovy Bor testify to the increased level of
    mutagenicity of the environment in the vicinity of nuclear-industrial

    These results have not been taken into account in political decisions on
    building new and extending the lifetime of old nuclear facilities on the
    Baltic coast.

    In the feasibility studies of new projects involving the operation of
    nuclear facilities a special attention should be paid to the safety of
    all living organisms and, naturally, to the health of current and future
    generations of people. The norms of radiological safety fail to take
    into account the long-term consequences for the environment and
    wildlife, which are caused by the slightly increased, but continuously
    present radiation doses.

    The impact on living organisms becomes dramatic, when these small doses
    are accompanied by other polluting factors.

    The methods of biological indication enable to determine the influence
    of small radiation doses on living bodies even if the concentrations of
    radio nuclides in the environment are considered to be low (within
    sanitary norms).

    The pine tree (Pinus sylvestris L.) is one of the plants, which are
    sensitive to the chemical and radioactive contamination. Any deviations
    from the norm found on it warn about a hazard for other plants, animals
    and people.

    In 1997-2001 experts from the Institute of agricultural radiology
    (Obninsk) carried out research studies on the environmental mutagenicity
    in the influence zone of Sosnovy Bor nuclear complex, i.e. in the town
    of Sosnovy Bor (5 km to the West of Leningrad NPP) and near the township
    of Bolshaya Izhora (20 km from the nuclear plant in the direction of St.

    The actively dividing cells (young needles and sprouting seeds) of pine
    trees growing near the nuclear complex and in Sosnovy Bor featured the
    level of genetic mutations several times higher than 20 km from
    Leningrad NPP in the direction of St. Petersburg. And this is a
    statistically authentic difference! Amazing is that pine trees growing
    in Sosnovy Bor have been found to suffer from certain severe mutative
    changes rare even in the contamination zone of Chernobyl NPP.

    Living organisms are subjected to the impact from the whole complex of
    external factors (radiation, chemicals, etc.), so it is difficult to
    specify the responsibility of each in their deterioration. In this case
    the synergy effect can play its role, i.e. the combination of several
    factors causes more serious consequences than the calculated arithmetic

    The authors of research work note that due to the combined impact of
    chemical contamination and ionizing radiation, the severity of cell
    injury increases, and this is exactly what has been observed in Sosnovy
    Bor. Taking into account that Sosnovy Bor is not a center of chemical
    industry, these data give additional reasons for getting alarmed and
    consider the health of nuclear town residents and their children with
    all seriousness it deserves.

    The results of research studies have been published in Russia and abroad
    (about 20 publications).

    Most available for the general public is the article:

    S.A. Geraskin (a), L.M. Zimina (b), V.G.Dikarev (a), N.S. Dikareva
    (a), V.L. Zimin (b), D.V. Vasiliev (a), A.A.Oudalova (a), L.D. Blinova
    (b), R.M. Alexakhin (a), Bioindication of anthropogenic effects on
    micropopulations of Pinus Sylvestris, L. in the vicinity of a plant for
    the storage and processing of radioactive waste and in the Chernobyl
    NPP zone, - Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 66 (2003) 171 -180,

    (a) Russian Institute of Agricultural Radiology and Agroecology,
    Obninsk, Kaluga Region, Russia,

    (b) Khlopin Radium Institute, St. Petersburg, Sosnovy Bor Regional
    Environmental Laboratory, Russia

    Will atomville Sosnovy Bor hear the alarming voice of pine trees?


    By Andrew Balls in Washington Published: July 20 2004

    A coalition of more than 30 development and environmental groups has
    called on the World Bank to invest in energy projects only if it can
    demonstrate in advance that the investment will help reduce poverty and
    can monitor the impact once an investment is made.

    In a submission to the World Bank's board of directors, the group, which
    includes Oxfam and Friends of the Earth, called on the bank to invest in
    energy projects only in countries that demonstrated a capacity for good
    governance in a transparent assessment.

    It called for a moratorium on bank involvement in extractive industry
    projects until conditions are put in place to ensure that such
    investments promote poverty reduction and sustainable development.

    "The focus should be on getting positive results from these projects,
    not just on mitigating problems," said Andrea Durbin, a consultant
    working with the coalition. "As the premier development institution it
    is pretty extraordinary that it cannot come up with examples of energy
    projects that have led to poverty reduction".

    The World Bank board will meet early next month to discuss the bank
    management's response to the independent extractive industries review,
    commissioned by the bank and conducted by Emil Salim, Indonesia's
    ex-environment minister.

    Mr. Emil's report concluded that the bank had not done enough to ensure
    that its activity in the energy sector contributed to its central goal
    of poverty reduction. Motivated by environmental concerns, it called on
    the bank to phase out all extractive industry investments in five years.

    The management response, published in June, said that the bank should be
    more selective in investing in energy projects and should put a greater
    emphasis on the needs of poor people and on good governance. It rejected
    the call for the bank to withdraw from extractive industry investments,
    arguing that the bank must remain involved to promote social and
    environmental considerations.

    The coalition said the management response contained "only a few
    explicit commitments, the majority of the response is aspirational". It
    also said the board should insist on more ambitious targets for
    increasing renewable energy projects in its portfolio of investments.

    The coalition said it had the support of more than 250 civil society
    groups from 50 countries. "Civil society groups globally have said that
    the management response is weak on conditions and commitments and needs
    to be further refined," said Steve Kretzmann, of the Washington-based
    Institute for Policy Studies.

    However, the group welcomed the management commitment to make revenue
    transparency a condition for investing in energy projects, to ensure
    that profits were not siphoned off.

    The World Bank's investment in the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline is seen as
    a test case of its ability to invest in an energy project in a country
    with poor governance standards and ensure the proceeds are put to good
    PRESS ADVISORY- July 20, 2004
    Contact: Soren Ambrose - w: 202-636-6097 m: 202-285-5836

    Focus on Imminent Controversial Decision on Oil & Mining Subsidies

    Picket at World Bank (18th & Pennsylvania, N.W.)
    Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 9 am

    WASHINGTON - July 20, 2004 -Global justice activists will gather outside
    the World Bank on Thursday to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the
    signing of the documents that created that institution and the
    International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    Coordinated actions are occurring in several other cities around the
    world, including Jakarta (Indonesia), Lima (Peru), London (U.K.), Geneva
    (Switzerland), and PotosÌ (Bolivia).

    `This is not a happy occasion for the hundreds of millions of people
    around the world who continue to suffer under the economic hegemony of
    IMF/World Bank policies and projects,' said Njoki Njoroge Njehu,
    Director of the 50 Years Is Enough Network, a coalition of over 200 U.S.
    organizations founded in 1994, on the institutions' 50th anniversary.

    `The World Bank and IMF have reinforced the structures of corporate
    globalization and imposed them from Argentina to Mexico, Senegal to
    Mauritius, and Jordan to South Korea and Fiji with disastrous results
    for millions of people,' she added.

    `The results of IMF & World Bank policies and projects are all too
    clear: ecosystems ripped apart to sell valuable minerals, communities
    subjected to ever-increasing poverty, the mounting debt burdens that
    keep countries enslaved, and record profits for multinational
    corporations,' said Morrigan Phillips of Mobilization for Global Justice
    (MGJ), a Washington activist group focused on economic justice.

    MGJ and the 50 Years Is Enough Network were among the organizers of
    demonstrations at the World Bank/IMF spring meetings in Washington three
    months ago. The demands made then have not yet been met; they include
    the cancellation of impoverished country debt; an end to imposed
    economic austerity programs; an end to financing for socially and
    environmentally destructive projects; and the opening of the
    institutions' board meetings to the public.

    Added to those demands now is one focused on the Extractive Industries
    Review (EIR), a three-year process initiated by the World Bank and
    completed last December. It found that oil and mining projects funded by
    the Bank do not contribute to poverty reduction (the World Bank's
    ostensible mandate), and that the Bank should phase-out its involvement
    in coal and oil projects. For those projects the Bank does participate
    in, it recommended that it obtain free, prior, informed consent of the
    communities affected. It also called for other practices that are not
    yet standard for the Bank: respect for human rights; establishment of
    land rights for indigenous groups; requirement of freedom of association
    (to form unions, etc.); re-direction of funding to renewable energy; and
    protecting biodiversity by establishing `no go' areas for critical

    Soren Ambrose of the 50 Years Is Enough Network noted that `The
    management of the World Bank has released a draft response to the EIR
    which pays lip service to many of its ideas, but makes very few firm
    commitments. It is apparent that the Bank's top-level staff want to
    continue providing subsidies to the mining and oil industries, including
    some of the biggest and most powerful corporations in the world.'

    Ambrose continued, `We are here to reinforce the worldwide call on the
    Board of the World Bank, which has the last word on the institution's
    position and will be making a decision in the next two weeks, to
    recognize the seriousness of the issues addressed by the Extractive
    Industries Review, and to adopt its recommendations in full.'

    `For over ten years we have been talking with the leadership of the
    World Bank, urging that care for people, especially the most vulnerable,
    and for all of creation be made the centerpiece of economic policy
    decisions. We hope that the EIR does not become one more case where the
    World Bank promises much but delivers very little,' observed Marie
    Dennis, Co-Chair of the Religious Working Group on the World Bank and
    the IMF, a coalition of religious denominations, institutions, and
    social justice organizations that educate, advocate, and bear public
    witness on global economic justice issues.

    Soren Ambrose
    New Voices on Globalization /
    50 Years Is Enough Network
    3628 12th St., N.E.
    Washington, DC 20017 USA
    office: +1-202-636-6097
    mobile: +1-202-285-5836
    [email protected]


    20-22 September 2004, Kyiv, Ukraine

    Dear colleagues,

    Organizing Committee has defined financial conditions for the conference
    participants and made up Preliminary Program. We are grateful to those
    who already registered for the Conference and inform you that the main
    conference related materials (Preliminary Program, registration Forms
    etc) can be found on website

    We will be very glad to have you among the participants of the
    Conference on Biomass for Energy.

    Dr Tetyana A. Zhelyezna
    Scientific Secretary, Conference on Biomass for Energy
    (20-22 September 2004, Kiev, Ukraine)
    Phone. (+380 44) 453 2856, f. 456 6091,
    Phone/Fax: 456 9462
    [email protected]


    The Wood Industry is a big actor in the bioenergy sector. The industry
    is a big biofuel producer for the market and biofuel users. The
    conference is held 12 -15.9.2005 in connection with the International
    Bioenergy and Wood Exhibition in Jyväskylä, Finland. The Conference will
    focus on the factors affecting the future of the bioenergy opportunities
    in fuel production, heating and power production in wood industry. The
    topics are timber felling wood residues as fuel, industrial by-products
    as biofuel, by-product refining to pellets and their use for heating and
    power production in the wood industry. Also emission trading will be one
    topic. Technical excursions will be held after the conference. Bioenergy
    2003 with over 600 participants was organised by FINBIO.

    o Conference with oral presentations
    o Poster viewing
    o Technical tours and visits to practical bioenergy targets
    o International Bioenergy and Wood 2005 Exhibition
    o Social and cultural programme
    o Language: English


    Papers are invited on the following topics:

    1. Strategies, Politics, Legislation Tools and Implementation Issues:
    possibilities to support the EU-targets, Kyoto Protocol, national
    targets and free energy markets, security of energy supply
    2. Bioenergy Markets and Business: international bioenergy markets,
    financial instruments, green certificates and emission trading, price
    competitiveness, management systems
    3. Fuel Production in Sawlog Production: production, pre-treatment,
    procurement, transport and logistics
    4. Wood Industry Fuel: potentials, quantities, measurements methods,
    qualities and properties
    5. By-product refining: Pellets, briquettes and pyrolysis oil etc.
    production and use
    6. Combustion and boiler systems: technologies and systems for wood
    7. Combined Heat and Power Production (CHP): powerplants, small scale
    technologies and systems for CHP production
    8. Environmental Technologies: flue gas cleaning, ash handling and
    recycling, sustainable development

    The different topics covers R&D results, demonstrations, cases,
    equipments, services and good practises

    More information also on the BIOENERGY 2005

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

    Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)

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