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

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  • CENN: 74 Issue of the CENN Electronic Bulletin - 11/2004

    Caucasus Environmental NGO Network

    74 Electronic Bulletin:
    Caucasus Environmental News

    Dear Colleagues! Dear Reader (DR)!

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

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

    Thank you in advance for your assistance and cooperation.

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

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

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

    We are happy to inform you that current number of CENN members constitutes
    of 7709!
    Thanks for your interest in CENN!
    ************************************************** *************************


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    9. New Publications
    9.1. Welcome to "Vital Waste Graphics"

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



    Dear All,

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

    I will be happy to hear your comments on itÀ

    Sincerely Yours,

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

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


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

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

    EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of Environment
    (68, Kostava Str., VI
    floor) and at the Department of Environmental Permits and State Ecological
    Expertise (87,
    Paliashvili Str., Tel: 25 02 19). Interested stakeholders can analyze the
    document and present
    their comments and considerations until December 14, 2004.

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


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

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

    EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of Environment
    (68, Kostava str., VI
    floor) and at the Department of Environmental Permits and State Ecological
    Expertise (87,
    Paliashvili Str., Tel: 25 02 19). Interested stakeholders can analyze the
    document and present
    their comments and considerations until October 26, 2004.

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


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

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

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

    EIA report is available at the press-center of the Ministry of Environment
    (68, Kostava str., VI
    floor) and at the Department of Environmental Permits and State Ecological
    Expertise (87,
    Paliashvili Str., Tel: 25 02 19). Interested stakeholders can analyze the
    document and present
    their comments and considerations until December 28, 2004.

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


    Dear Colleague,

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

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

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

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

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

    You can also order a brochure online.

    Mariëlle van Gelderen
    Information Officer

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    A Suggestion from Wyoming:

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


    Source: The Messenger, October 26, 2004

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


    Source: The Messenger, October 26, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, October 29, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 1, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 4, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 4, 2004

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

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

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

    Construction of pipeline saves the village from the serious problems

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 9, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 10, 2004

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 12, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 16, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 17, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: Upstream Newspaper, November 19, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: Upstream Newspaper, November 19, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 19, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 19, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 22, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: The Georgian Times, November 22, 2004

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


    Source: The Messenger, November 22, 2004

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

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

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

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



    Baku-Ceyhan Campaign

    Corner House

    Friends of the Earth


    For Immediate Release November 24 2004

    Government Admits Failing BP Pipeline was Experimental Engineering

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

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

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

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

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

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

    For more information, contact:

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


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

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

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

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

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


    Source: AssA-Irada, October 31, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    The Project executor is the "Azersu" Stock Company.


    Source: CBN, Number 3, 2004

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


    Source: Interfax, November 5, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: Interfax, November 9, 2004

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

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

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

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


    Source: AssA-Irada, November 13, 2004

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

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

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


    Source: Baku Today, November 17, 2004

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: Arminfo, November 3, 2004

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


    Source: A1 Plus, November 8, 2004

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

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


    Source: A1 Plus, November 8, 2004

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

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


    Source: Arminfo, November 8, 2004

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

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

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


    Source: Arminfo, November 8, 2004

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

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

    There are some 12,000 enterprises in Yerevan.


    Source: ArmenPress, November 10, 2004

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: Azg/Arm, November 10, 2004

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

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

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


    Source: The Times/UK, November 16, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    November 10, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source: Aravot Daily, November 13, 2004

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


    Source :IUCN, October 28, 2004

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

    7. NGO NEWS

    Tbilisi, Georgia
    October 30, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    George Magradze
    GMO Campaign Coordinator

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

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


    Tbilisi, November 18, 2004

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

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

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

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

    For further information please contact Save the Children:

    Natia Deisadze
    Programme Manager

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Documents of the meeting are available at:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    International and local experts on environmental law are conducting the

    For further information, please contact:

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


    Source: IUCN, November 5, 2004

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    For more information contact:

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

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


    Source: RFE/RL, November 9, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Brussels / Baku 14 November 2004
    Press Release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


    Source:, November 15, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

    For the more detailed information please se:

    Perth, Scotland, UK, 1-5 October 2005

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

    For the more detailed information please see the following link:


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

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

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

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

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

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

    For further information on the High-level meeting visit:

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

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    From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress