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Concern Arises After Georgian Government Amends Law of Environmental Protection

Recent amendments to the 1996 Georgian Law of Environmental Protection spark outrage concerning their approval of government authorized contracts permitting unregulated activities in environment and natural resource usage.

23.04.2012 |Anna Samwel & Amanda Peterson

WECF and WECF local partner The Greens Movement of Georgia wish to draw immediate attention to the striking amendments signed by the President of Georgia as a draft law titled, “On Changes and Amendments to Some Legal Acts of Georgia.” According to the draft law, which was completed without any public participation or review, any contractor interested in work in environment and natural resources may pay governmental compensation in order to sign a contract with Georgia’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. All the activities under these contracts will be considered legal and in perpetuity, and appeal of a contract will only be considered if it was improperly authorized originally.  Under these amendments, contractors would henceforth not be subject to any civil, criminal and administrative responsibility or consequences related to their activities in accordance to the contract (e.g. fines and damage compensation).

The Greens Movement of Georgia declares that this draft law:
  • Contradicts the Constitution of Georgia
  • Denies universally recognized principles of sustainable development and “green economy”
  • Ignores the obligations of Georgia before the EU and may jeopardize Georgia’s political face within the international community and under obligations of international agreements
  • Sets the tone for the path to establishing selective justice
  • Threatens the destruction of intact ecosystems under Georgian territory
  • Limits the rights of third parties to appeal contracts, previously established by the Arhus Convention
Additionally, the Greens Movement of Georgia requests that the Georgian government and parliament not only suspend the operation of this draft law but also work to begin consultation with NGOs and experts concerning such laws affecting the environment. These legal changes in Georgia have significant impact on the work in which WECF is involved and on the positive changes WECF and local partners wish to promote in this and other regions. It is therefore vital that concern is raised and pressure placed on the government of Georgia to repeal this draft law.

You can download the statement from the Greens Movement of Georgia here

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