Environment Ministry downgraded
03 March, 2011
Environment Ministry downgraded

To make the environment and natural resources Ministry more effective Georgian government decided to dissect the organization and redistribute its functions among several ministries. The sector pundits worry the underway reforms downsize the instance that may lead to piling environmental problems and contradictions with the international responsibilities.

In the epoch of global challenges to the environment when the entire world applies tremendous efforts to make their environmental regulation and protection bodies as strong as possible to meet all arising climate

challenges well-prepared Georgian government downscales its environment-oriented ministry, this is the message Georgian non-governmental environmental watchdogs send to society.
The underway reforms of the environment and natural resources ministry carried out too hastily make non-governmental watchdogs worry.  This ministry is responsible for state control [including protection and regulation] over four key categories including land, water, air, and biodiversity. To make its wok more effective government separates two key functions like the management of natural resources/economic benefit from environment protection function.
“The natural resources function will be separated from the environment ministry and it will attain much stronger control function for it will be focused on environment protection issues alone. This ministry will be implementing stronger policy,” Nika Gilauri, Prime Minister of Georgia, stated on February 22, 2011.
According to the bill that has already passed the first parliamentary hearing past week, the Ministry of Environment Protection and  Natural Resources will be renamed as the Environment Ministry and be deprived of natural resources inventory and licensing function for land, water and biodiversity. Only air and surface waters remain within its competence.
The competence for control and licensing of the remainder three key sectors is redistributed among several ministries. Experts fear that function confusion and an interest clash looms in prospect as a result.
Two things alarm environmentalists most of all: hand-over of the Agency for Forests and the Agency for Protected Areas [both public law entities] to the energy ministry and economic ministry respectively.  Both ministries are focused on consumption and economic benefit while the environment ministry cares for protection. Forests that cover two third of Georgia is a potential firewood for energy ministry, and the primary purpose of the country’s Protected Areas is conservation of biodiversity, the unique natural heritage and preservation of undisturbed environment for future generations while economic ministry assesses them as potential tourist haunts expected to give economic profit.    
The World Wild Fund (WWF) office in Georgia reminded Georgian government that 98% of forests grow on mountain slopes in Georgia and have highest ecological value for erosion, landslide and avalanches control first of all as well as for regulation of water balance, recreation is evidently increasingly important vessel in the context of global climate change. And in the long-term perspective, hand-over of forests and protected areas to energy and economic ministries may lead to drastically negative results impairing not only the health of environment, but also country’s economic welfare.
Nanuka Janashia, an environmental expert with the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), reminds of ecological migrants from Georgian highlands who left homes due to landslides and natural disasters like floods, that about 600 lives were taken as a result of these natural disasters during the last ten years, and most probably much more is in store if forests are divested and cut that can happen if energy ministry will be put in charge of forests.

According to Nugzar Zazanashvili, project coordinator at Georgian WWF Caucasus Programme office, government argumentation is that the environment ministry failed to manage with forests properly. “In this case it would be better to give forests to agriculture ministry and not to the energy ministry that includes conceptual risks,” He said.  “I cannot claim whether or not the underway reform is good or bad, reform was essential but it is too hasty I say and hasty decisions include risks.”   “We all are well aware that the environment ministry was an ineffective body swamped in corruption and it really needs reforms, but not in this humpty-dumpty manner when the ministry is ruined in fact,” Janashia told Georgian Journal. “It is responsible for the state control and protection of environment but now when three key areas of environment land, water and biodiversity is beyond its competence what on the earth this body is responsible for ? What does the state control on environment mean actually?”
The reform project was not consulted with any independent expert and non-governmental watchdog. The only expert involved in the project is Georgian government, Nino Enukidze, Deputy Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, said. Such nonchalant approach contradicts responsibilities assumed by Georgia against international community including European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as Aarhus Secretary that forbids government to make decisions without preliminary consultations with the non-governmental organizations.  “Georgia takes about EUR 300 million in frames of ENP and part of this financing should be diverted on environmental issues, and the underway reform contradicts with the ENP demands. EU has already sent a letter to Gilauri that includes cautious warning. We [Georgian non-governmental watchdogs] plan to send a complaint to Aarhus Secretary in Geneva and inform that the provision on compulsory consultations with interested sides was not observed by government during preparation of the bill for refoms,” Janashia said.


Other Stories
Anaklia Port and its importance for Georgia
In 2016, Anaklia Development Consortium was authorized to launch the construction of Anaklia Port.
Cryptocurrency mining threatens electrical network in Abkhazia
In the breakaway region of Akbhazia rampant cryptocurrency mining is threatening the shaky electrical network, reports an article of the news portal EuroNet.
Caucasus Wine University to be opened in Gurjaani
In the Kakheti region a new viticulture campus of the Caucasus University is in the process of planning.
Photos describing life of the poorest in Georgia
Fight with poverty should be among top priorities of every government in every country.
Training farmers to rescue the organic hazelnut production in Georgia
Even drizzling rain and unpleasant gusts of wind can’t prevent the farmers from coming and participating in the agricultural training.
Bleak times for organic farmers in Georgia – but there is hope
Organic hazelnut production is a delicate plant in Georgia that has emerged just a couple of years ago. Various pests, among them the Asian stink bug Parosana, trouble hazelnut farmers and menace their livelihood – even before their businesses could really take off.
Hybrid car imports are going through the roof in Georgia
Thanks to their fuel economy, the popularity of hybrid cars is increasing in Georgia, where fuel affordability is low and prices for fuel are unstable.
The New Year offer from MAQRO Construction - Apartments with unbelievable discounts and the parking spaces for FREE!
Location, green yard, spaces for various needs, experience of the construction company and parking space are the main important criteria for potential buyers of apartments.
Interview with the co-founder of Kiwi Vegan Café – the first vegan place in Tbilisi
Behind the Kiwi Vegan Café stands a group of activists who wants to raise Georgian’s awareness for animal rights and welfare.
Biblusi opens first shop for tourists - Georgian
The largest book shop in Georgia Biblusi opens the first shop specially designated to the needs and interests of tourists and named it Georgian.
Georgia improves by five ranks in the Prosperity Index
In the overall Prosperity Index rankings, Georgia has climbed by 5 positions from 85 to 80 when compared to last year. As such, Georgia is the best performing country in the CIS zone.
The future is bright for electric cars in Georgia
The numerous hybrid cars in the streets of Tbilisi cannot be overlooked. Entrepreneur Sulkhan Gvalia calls them “pagers”, referring to the predecessor of mobile phones.
Georgia’s fight against the big tiny enemy – Asian Parosana
It’s a tiny creature, but the harm it did to the Georgian agriculture sector was and still is immense.
New cable route: from Kobi to Gudauri in 15 minutes
On the 15th of December, cable transport is scheduled to be opened connecting Kobi and Gudauri.
Tourist boom in Gudauri – majority of hotels are booked by foreigners
Gudauri is among the most popular winter resorts in Georgia.
Medical tourism increases in Georgia
In the last 9 months, Georgia was visited by 19 500 foreigners for medical and recovery purposes.
Doing business in Georgia has become easier than in America
According to the Doing Business 2019 report published by the World Bank, Georgia ranked 6th among 190 countries in terms of simplicity of doing business. This was an improvement over two ranks compared to last year.
Problems that foreigners frequently face in Georgia
The importance of Georgia as a tourism hub is growing year after year.
Tbilisi TV Broadcasting Tower – Better than the Eiffel Tower?
It is planned to renovate the Tbilisi TV Broadcasting Tower, one of the landmarks in the capital.
Georgian Fusion Menu by The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi
5,895,914 international visitors have visited Georgia between January and August of 2018. Compared to the previous year the number has increased by 12.2 per cent.
Advertising of gambling and lucrative games may become banned in Georgia
Advertising of gambling and lucrative games may become banned in Georgia. Those who violate the new rule would be fined GEL 10 000.
Lebanese café-lounge Beirut opens in Tbilisi
What is necessary to organize an unforgettable event? – Fun, emotions, lots of surprises, good music and delicious menu.
Georgia second among the fastest growing tourist destinations in Europe
Georgia is among the fastest growing tourist destinations in Europe. The data is published by the UN World Tourism Organization.
Bitmain launches world digital mining summit in Tbilisi, Georgia
Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu and Roger Ver, CEO of Bitcoin.com Head Speaker List featuring Circle, DEX.top and Genesis Mining when Digital Mining Leaders Convene In Tbilisi on September 21-23
TBC Bank and Gazelle Finance have teamed-up to support Medical City, a leading healthcare provider in the western region of Georgia to launch the Western Regional Center Of Modern Medical Technologies.
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange
January 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31