On September 30 of this year, the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA) and “Green Alternative” presented a study regarding the current projects of large hydroelectric power stations in the territory of Tsageri and Oni municipalities.
The research concerns the construction and maintenance of the Oni HPP Cascade and Namakhvani HPP Cascade on the Rioni River, accompanying issues and challenges in terms of legal, environmental and human rights protection.
The report notes that the examination of the documentation attached to the Namakhvani and Oni HPPs Cascade projects revealed a number of procedural inconsistencies and contextual problems. The procedure for issuing state environmental permits not only contradicts the Georgian legislation (especially in terms of public participation) but also is inconsistent with international obligations. The procedure for preparing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports, their content and decision-making process clearly shows that the Government of Georgia does not fulfill its obligations undertaken pursuant to the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia.
As recommended by GYLA and Green Alternative, it is imperative that the government of Georgia revise the current HPP development policy and fully comply it with the requirements of our country's legislation as well as international obligations. Otherwise, it will be impossible to implement successful energy projects, as the divergence, on the one hand, between the government and the initiators of the projects, and the local population and civil organizations on the other will further deepen, leading to deterioration of the natural and social environment, which may finally result in further impoverishment of the local population and economic hardship.