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Dr. Grigori Abramia
Director
Georgian Center for Environmental Research
geocer@mmc.net.ge
http://www.georgia-gateway.org/NGOinGeorgia/WB/001.htm


for Discussion Roundtables 1, 4, 7, 8, 22, 24, 26, 28, 33, 36, and 47


Table of Contents









 
Elements of sustainability in the history of Georgian legislation

Increasing environmental consciousness over the last 20 years should not blind us to the fact that there have been laws concerning the environment for centuries.(David Hughes -environmental lawyer)

State policy on environmenal protection in Georgia has a long history. Legal measures to protect the natural environment are recorded in ancient edicts; of 1087 refer to the appointment of watchmen of the elder forests. Quieen Tamar's appointment of 1189 demand protection of the forest. In the legal document , Dasturlamani, the uses of water and pasture lands were regulated and the nesting areas of falcon and hawk were protected.

In the Eighteenth Century , King Vakhtang the Fourt promulgated laws to regulate the use of forests, waters and pastures.

The environmental protection laws and policies of the Soviet period were based upon on principles of unitarian state control of natural resources, of waters, forests and mineral wealth.

'' In sustainable development, everyone is a user and provider of information considered in broad sense". ( chapter 40 of Agenda 21)

Signing UN/ECE was an important step for Georgia towards democracy and sustainability.

Currently Georgia participates in a number of international multilateral and bilateral environmental programs. Negotiations on bilateral agreements in the field of environment are going on with Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Greece and Turkey.

Republic is actively participates in the Black Sea Environmental Program (BSEP of GEF), established in September, 1993 by 6 littoral countries.

Desiring to rehabilitate and protect the Black Sea States, participants to the BSEP adopted Strategic Action Plan in the City of Istanbul, Turkey, in 30-31 October, 1996.

Currently National Black Sea Strategic Action Plan (NBSSAP) is being developed. NBSSAP reached its final stage.It identified wide range of actions should be undertaken as well as:

∑ Actions related to Institutional and Legislative framework of; Environmental Management;
∑ Actions related to monitoring and Information Management;

The National Environmental Action Plan designing process in Georgia enhanced to make sectoral analyses addressing particular national problems, plannes actions and their sollution, as well as identifies National policies and strategies in:

∑ Water resources management
∑ Air Quality Management
∑ Waste mangement
∑ Biodiversity Protection

"However, among numerous problems urgent arrangements should be responded in the first instance on national gevernments were International and regional framework of actions regional treaties and conventions are undertaken"

The legislation of Georgia corresponds with universally recognized norms and principles of international law. International treaties or agreements concluded with and by Georgia and they are not in contradiction to the Constitution of Georgia have prior legal force internal normative acts.

Georgia has signed several International Conventions on environmental protection among them:

∑ The Convention on the Biological Diversity signed in Rio-de-Janeiro in 1992 - April 21,
Convention of Climate Change signed on May 9, 1992 in New York - May 16, 1994;
etc. ( See Annex 1 )

Currently Georgia adopted three legal acts: Law on Environmental Permissions, Law on Ecological Expertise, Law of Georgia on Environmental Protection and Marine Code of Georgia are already enforced too. (See Annex 2) Georgian Parliament is expecting to enforce 113 environmental legal acts.

Law on Protection of Africa-Asian Migratory Waterfowls, Law on Biodiversity Protection, Law on Environmental Protection and Nature use Policy, Law on Eco-Tourism, Law on EIA in Transboundary Context, Law on Wastes, Law on Sanitary Zones, Law on Water Cadastre, Law on Protection of Small Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Forest Code etc.

The Law on Environmental Protection regulates major legal relations in the area of environmental protection on the entire territory of Georgia and is guided by the following key principles:

∑ "polluter pays" principle -
∑ "biodiversity conservation principle"
∑ "recycling principle"
∑ "restitution principle"
∑ "environmental impact assessment principle"
etc.
and "information availability principle" - information on the condition of the environment shall be open and available to public.

The law on Environmental Permits establishes the legal basis for the issue of the environmental protection permits on the territory of Georgia, state ecological expertise, environmental impact assessment as well as the legal basis for the public notification and participation in the decision-making.

In accordance with the present law the activities shall be grouped into 4 categories by their scope, importance and the quality of their impact on the environment.

The first category is the category which. due to its scope, location and essence. can cause serious and irrevocable impact upon the environment and human health.

The IInd category is represented by an activity the scope, location and content of which can have a significant impact on human health and the nature of the region where the activity will be carried out.

The obligatory integral part of the procedure for the issue of the permission shall be:

- state ecological expertise; the procedure shall be carried out in a manner established by the law;
- public participation in the decision-making process.

The IIIrd category comprises activity, the scope, location and content of which will not bring about serious impact on the environment.

The IVth category is not included in points 2, 3 and 4 of Article 4. and its the impact of which on the environment is insignificant.

The public participation is provided in other pieces of legislation. In particular:

- Law on environmental Protection
- Law on Environmental Permits
- Law on State Ecological Expertise
- Water Code
- Forest Code
- Air Protection Code
Etc.

And also various resolutions of the Cabinet of the ministers on the attitude(relation) to NGOs
There is the procedure of publication given concerning the large-scale projects on construction in Republican mass media, however such activity has, in basic, formal character.

On occassion NGOs have the right of access to the documents, received from the enterprises and environmental bodies, responsible authorities for the territory. The exception is made with confidential materials.

Article 16 of the Law of Georgia on Environmental Permits ( to come into force from January 1, 1997) states the terms of participation of public representatives in EIA as following:

Public representatives shall be entitled to provide the investor with their considerations and comments on the first category activity.

With the view to take into consideration public opinion and to ensure public participation, the investor shall be obligated to familiarize himself with public representativesí written considerations and comments on the first category activity and give heed to their arguments in the process of final issuance of evidential documentation.

Public representatives shall be entitled to carry out independent environmental impact assessment for the first category activity for their own account and present it to the body issuing environmental permits.

The results of independent environmental impact assessment should be taken into consideration during the decision-making process on the issue of environmental permits.

If the public representative deems that his rights have been violated, he shall be entitled to apply to Court.The restrictions to provision information, based on adequate argumentation, only if:

- the demanded information includes a state, commercial or industrial secret;
- the specific investigation pertaining to EIA, has not yet been finalized and, accordingly, the information is not complete and does not describe the actual state of affairs.

In the event of a denial to provide the information, the public representative shall have the right to appeal to the Court.The investor shall be obligated to provide the Ministry of Environment of Georgia with the complete scheme of the technological process even in case the activity contains industrial, commercial or state secret.

The part of the application which contains industrial, commercial or state secret should be submitted separately by the investor.

The part of the application including the secret should be labeled and kept separately. This sector should be inaccessible for public representatives. In order to obtain an environmental protection permit for the Ist category activity, the investor shall be obligated to conduct environmental impact assessment.

Between 1990 and January 1994, ECE membership increased from thirty-four to fifty-four countries, including twenty-six countries in transition from a centrally planned to a market economy. Among them: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia.

Georgia has already become the Party to the UN ECE legally binding instruments, on: air pollution, and public access to environmental Information"

The process of joining to new Regional legal mechanisms of environmental protection is an additional confirmation of: "..active, direct and action-oriented international co-operation at the regional level."

Grigori Abramia

Derecrtor
Georgian Center for Environmental Research


Annex-1

International Conventions

Environmental Protection

The Convention of the Biological Diversity signed in Rio-de-Janeiro in 1992 - April 21, Convention of Climate Change signed on May 9, 1992 in New York - May 16, 1994; Convention on International Trade of Endangerous Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, Washington, 1973, - August 12, 1996 International Convention on Prevention of Desertification, signed in Paris ,October 1994

Maritime safety

International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, (SOLAS) 1960 and 1974; International Convention for Safe Containers, (CSC) 1972, as amended- August 26, 1996

International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, 1994
International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR), 1979, 1994

Marine Pollution

Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution, Bucharest, 1992- January 15, 1994

International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL - 1973);
International convention on Oil Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC) 1990- may 20, 1996

International Convention relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties, 1996, 1973 Protocol (INTERVENTION)

Civil Liability

International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969;. International Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982)- April 21, 1996 Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, 1976-November 23 1995

Annex-2

Administration

Constitution of the Republic of Georgia, 1995
Law on the Structure and Activity Procedures of the Executive Power Authorities, 1996
Law of the Georgian Republic on State Power, 1992
Provisional Regulations of the Georgian Parliament, 1992
Law on Parliamentary Commitees, December 1, 1995
Law of Georgia on the Cabinet of Ministers, 1992
Provisional Regulations of Local Bodies of Government and Administration of Districts (Cities) in the Republic of Georgia, 1992
Law on Environmental Protection, 1996
Regulation On the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, Decree of the President No.230 dared March 17, 1996
Law on State Environmental Expertise, 1996
Law on Environmental Permits, 1996

Environmental Liability

Law on Environmental Protection, 1996
Administrative Violation Code of Georgia 1986
Criminal Code 1961
Civil Code, 1986
Land Code, 1984
Law on Soil Protection, 1994
Water Code, 1997
Law on Subsoil, 1996
Law on Air Protection
Law on Protection of Animals
Law on Plant Protection
Law on Transit and Imports of Waste on the Territory of Georgia, 1994
Law on State Environmental Expertise, 1996
Law on Environmental Permits, 1996
sLaw on Foreign Investment, 1991,
Law on Enterpreneurs, 1995
Law on Leasing, 1994
Law on Taxation, 1993

Economy

Law on Environmental Protection, 1996
Law on State Environmental Expertise, 1996
Law on Environmental Permits, 1996
Law on Leasing, 1994
Law on Taxation, 1993
Law on Agricultural Land Leasing, 1996
Law on Air Protection 1997
Water Code 1997
Law on Fundamentals of the Tax System 1994.

Permitting Process

Law on Environmental Protection, 1996
Law on State Environmental Expertise, 1996
Law on Environmental Permits, 1996
The Land Code
Law on Agricultural Land Leasing, 1996
Law on Audit Activity, 1995
The Forestry Code
The Water Code
Law on Subsoil, 1996

Air Protection

Law on Environmental Protection, 1996
Air Protection Law, 1997
Law on State Environmental Expertise, 1996
Law on Environmental Permits, 1996

Water Protection

Law on Environmental Protection, 1996
Water Code, 1997
Law on State Environmental Expertise, 1996
Law on Environmental Permits, 1996

Noise Protection

Law on Environmental Protection, 1996
Law on Health Protection, 1997
Code of Labour Laws, 1997
Law on Transit and Import of Waste in the Republic of Georgia (adopted by the Georgian Parliament in the first reading), 1994

Waste Management

Law on Environmental Protection, 1996
Law on State Environmental Expertise, 1996
Law on Environmental Permits, 1996
Law on Transit and Imports of Waste in the Territory of Georgia, 1997

Public Participation

Law on Environmental Protection, 1996
Law on State Environmental Expertise, 1996
Law on Environmental Permits, 1996

References:

World Development Report, 1997. The State in a changing World Oxford University Press, 1997

Environmental Information Systems in Georgia UNEP/GRID-Arendal ( 1995)

UNEP Global Environment Outlook. For life on Earth Oxford University Press, 1997

Investors Guidebook on Environment and Safety, 1997 DHV , ERM

UNEP. Taking Action. Nairobi Kenya .NGLS, 1995

CEC. The state of the Environment in European Community. Brussels, 1992

Law on Environmental Protection, 1996

Law on State Environmental Expertise, 1996

Law on Environmental Permits, 1996

Georgian Constitution, 1995



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Article 2



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Article 3



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Article 4



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Article 5



 
Article 6



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