The government of Georgia (Prime minister of Georgia, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture); embassies and international organizations.
This petition is run by The Greens Movement of Georgia/Friends of the Earth
There are 2 things you can do to support The Greens Movement of Georgia/Friends of the Earth-Georgia:
1) Sign this petition.
2) Share this petition on social media. You can attach pictures on your social media channels using the following proposed text and hashtags: The Georgian police forces attacked a peaceful protest site against the Namakhvani Hydro Power Plant in Georgia. They demolished the tents of locals that were protesting the destructive project for 169 days already. We demand that the Georgian government stops the violation of human rights and the destruction of pristine ecosystems.
Why is this important?
On 11th of April, the Georgian police forces attacked a peaceful protest site against Namakhvani Hydro Power Plant and demolished tents on the private property of the local protesters near the construction site. People were protesting there already for 169 days. See this video for footage of the eviction. The police have now restricted protests near the construction site. As the political situation in Georgia becomes more unstable, the civil society cannot trust the authorities and feels threatened.
The main investor of the Namakhvani Hydro Power Plant cascade and 90% shareholder is the Turkish corporation ENKA, the other 10% belongs to Norvegian company “Clean Energy Group''. As the investor states on their webpage: It is the largest energy project in the history of Georgia’s independence, which is implemented with a direct foreign investment up to $800 million.
Unfortunately, despite numerous appeals to different agencies - the relevant structures of the executive branch of the country, the project investor and the builder have not taken any effective steps to improve the project documentation and EIA, as well as to actually assess the situation and expected risks. This makes the country's energy independence policy even more opaque and causes mistrust of the local population and CSOs towards these projects.
Why do we protest?
- There has been a horribly history of accidents with the previous Hydropower stations due to landslides, incomplete environmental impact assessments, mudflows and floods. A significant part of the country is a mountainous, landslide-prone and seismic zone. (CAN made a video covering the risks of Namakhvani HPP being built within 20 kilometers from Kutaisi. In case of collapse, the dam will threaten the second largest city in Georgia with a flood wave.)
- Another reason to worry is the pristine ecosystems found in the forest near the area of construction. This is one the world's most untouched natural territories which will be annihilated, amid the ongoing sixth mass extinction.
- In addition, people's homes are being destroyed and the government is forcing entire villages out of the way for construction. Some human rights violations have been declared by the protesters as well as obstruction for the journalists to cover the story.
This is a matter of international interest. Georgia has ratified Paris agreement and, thus, promised to work for the 1,5-degree goal and protection of its ecosystems. Georgia has also signed an Association agreement with the EU and is supposed to comply with the human rights protection standards, the environmental impact assessment on the level which the EU requires.
The civil society demands are as following:
- Improve the legislative-regulatory framework for risk assessment and prevention during the implementation of hydropower projects, as well as ensuring the safety of existing hydropower facilities;
- Cancel the construction of the Namakhvani project;
- Establish moratorium process for all the planned HPP projects in Georgia;
- Develop a long-term strategy for the energy sector with wider society involvement (including local populations).
Georgia has great potential to develop alternative, renewable energy sources and receive: wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and waste energy, etc., whose total potential will increase the country's energy independence and at the same time protect and preserve the unique nature of Georgia. It will also contribute to the safe and sustainable development of local communities.
To realize this potential, the Government of Georgia needs to develop a renewable energy development strategy, which will involve non-governmental organizations along with the local population as one of the stakeholders.
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