Environmental Reform’s Rap-Sheet
01 December, 2011
Environmental Reform’s Rap-Sheet

Structural and sectoral reforms that overloaded Georgian environmental filed starting this spring, fell under focus of European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) Monitoring Coalition, which organized an in-depth analysis of the issue on November 17-18, 2011.

Georgian Government called 2011 a successful year in terms of implementation of environmental commitments undertaken by the state under the EU-Georgia European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan. The restructuring of the Ministry of Environment that embarrassed non-governmental environmentalists for it was carried out in a slap-dash manner

and without inclusion of publicity, served as a main argument for this positive assessment. The main goal of structural changes was to separate the use and protection of natural resources. The LEPL Agency of Natural Resources was established within the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia (MENR) that inherited the so called “use” function” including inspection of environmental protection, forestry, licenses and permits as well as investigation from the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources that remained in charge with protection function alone.

Although the process was developed on the contrary of the policy declared in advance and all functions of natural resource management were accumulated (from establishment of conditions of use to control) under the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the argument was not changed.

In fall 2011 the main risks of implemented changes – paralyzation of state environmental functions emerged. The Government launched a series of initiatives, including the process of leasing of the whole forest fund. The new Draft Forest Law was developed too.

The following important guidelines required for 100% lease and management of the state forest fund do not exist: forestry policy, strategy and legislation (about 20 nonexistent regulations are referred in the new Draft Forest Law).

The forests are leased without prior inventory under excuse that the inventory is an expensive pleasure and Georgia cannot afford it. The categorization of forests has not been yet implemented that poses risks of improper management.

“Without determination of various forms of management in the forests of different categories the serious damages to the environment, population and economy may be expected. Activated erosive processes and deterioration of soil protective and water regulatory functions of forests due to uncontrolled forest felling lead to increased scales of natural disasters causing economic losses amounting hundreds millions  every year. Human losses increase too. Besides the degraded areas the use of untouched stands and steep slopes is a problem too. In this situation the identification of problematic areas, their exclusion and monitoring have a vital importance,” Rezo Getiashvili, the Environmental projects Coordinator at Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), told Georgian Journal.

Lease implies the possibility to change the status of forests and use the forested areas for other purposes as well as use of water and mineral resources. The biodiversity included in the list of World Biodiversity Hotspots is threatened. The reform deprives the communities, municipalities and regions of natural resources. This may hamper the development of the regions during coming 49 years [as only 49-year-long lease-terms are introduced] and the process of decentralization in general.

The proposed model of management of the forestry sector excludes the possibility of creation of new protected areas. The state monitoring of forest management is limited mainly to market surveillance, while the government lacks the opportunity and resources for monitoring the important factors such as the management of protected forests.

To check how effective is the real picture of separation of use and protection functions in natural resource CENN sent the request to 4 relevant agencies to provide their vision regarding the planned changes. However, only the Agency of Protected Areas recognized its competence.

CENN believes the declared policy of separation of the use and protection functions in natural resource management requires additional clarifications to be made by the government.

The questioned reforms counter the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) for 2011-2015 that is an official communication mean with the EU, and according to which the sequence of the measures planned in forestry sector for 2011-2013 included development of the national policy and long-term strategy of the forestry sector, development of the Forest Code, and creation of the technical and methodological basis.

However Georgian government drastically changed plans and decided to adopt the Forest Code in the current year instead of 2013 without prior development of forestry policy, strategy and relevant regulations.

One of the shortcomings of the reform is its closed nature. Public participation in the process is restricted. The local population gets the information once the forests are already privatized. The main documents of the forest reform (new Draft Law and lease agreement) have developed and disseminated in English. The request of the public sector to include competent sector pundits in the process and provide with Georgian version of the draft was ignored.

Print
Other Stories
Georgian citizens are granted the right to work in France
The French Embassy in Georgia made remarks on granting Georgian citizens the right to work in France
The New York Times: Bitcoin declines but Georgia still bet on it
The New York Times has recently published an article about reasons, challenges and causes of generating Bitcoin in the former Soviet country Georgia.
EU to allocate € 13 billion for Eastern Partnership countries, including Georgia
The European Union together with the World Bank plans to allocate investment worth € 13 billion for infrastructure projects in the Eastern Partnership countries.
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.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
21.02.2019
22.02.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6574
2.6570
EUR
1
EUR
3.0146
3.0128
GBP
1
GBP
3.4629
3.4714
RUB
100
RUB
4.0421
4.0560
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
USD
1
USD
2.6570
EUR
1
EUR
3.0128
GBP
1
GBP
3.4714
RUB
100
RUB
4.0560