International Aid should not be Spent to the Detriment of the National Park

29 Jan, 2010


On November 19, Coalition “Transparent International Aid for Georgia” and Green Alternative have conducted press-conference in the offices of Open Society – Georgia Foundation. The meeting has been planned within the framework of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park protection campaign in response to problem posed by the Black Sea Regional Transmission Line Project.

Mr. Irakli Matcharashvili of Green Alternative has thoroughly discussed how installation of the 500 kv transmission line will endanger the National Park. Construction of the line to connect Western Georgia with Azerbaijan and Turkey borders is being funded by European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment Bank (EIB), and German Reconstruction Bank (KfW), as part of the international aid directed at elimination of the crisis following August War.

Transparent International Funding for Georgia Coalition is monitoring commandment of allocated funds. National Park Protection Campaign has been initiated by the very Coalition. ‘We do not pursue ‘post-factum’ monitoring in order to publish our findings, but we’re putting our efforts to monitor the process itself trying to provide as much positive impact as possible through our recommendations’ – states Mr. Tamar Kaldani, Deputy Director of the Open Society – Georgia Foundation.

Routing of the line through the National Park is considered to be the most cost-effective solution by the Government of Georgia. Yet, according to Green Alternative, selected route will inflict even more damages upon the Park that already suffered the most from the Russian aggression. According to Mr. Irakli Matcharashvili of Green Alternative, ‘We would like to stress great importance of Black Sea Regional Transmission Line Project both to our country and region as a whole, but regional importance of Borjomi-Kharagauli Natinoal Park should not be written off either. Proposed alternative provides for cutting 100m wide and 11.5 km long route through forest-clad strip rich in species under threat of extinction’.

Despite the fact that selected alternative of the route means lowest costs, Ms. Mariam Valishvili, First Deputy Minister of Energy that attended the meeting has expressed readiness on behalf of the ministry to take into consideration recommendations put forth by the Coalition in order to arrive at a decision for the benefit of the country. ‘This is not the sole alternative being considered by the Ministry of Energy. We welcome all rational recommendations from non-governmental organizations and we are ready to review other alternatives as well in order to select the optimal one’.