A new report from Georgian non-governmental organizations reveals that the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline continues to impose serious social and environmental impacts on local communities. The report from Association Green Alternative, Georgian member of CEE Bankwatch Network, and the Georgian Young Lawyers Association finds that the ongoing difficulties on the ground stem from violations made by the BP-led BTC Company (BTC Co) during the project's planning period.
Following extensive monitoring along the pipeline route in Georgia, the report's authors discovered that:
problems persist with the project's land compensation/acquisition process
violations of the BTC information disclosure policy have resulted in the maltreatment of women and children
there are serious shortcomings with the BTC Co grievance mechanism and community liaison program.
The involvement of BTC's key international lenders, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), as guarantors of international standard safeguards for the project is also criticized by the authors.
The report details how in spite of the "nine layer" monitoring system promoted by the EBRD and the IFC, Georgian citizens are suffering as a result of reckless behaviour from the BTC subcontractor companies and from community liaison officers who believe that they have no duty to mitigate the negative social impacts for the population.
Kety Kvinikadze, of Association Green Alternative, commented, "The so-called 'additionality' that the EBRD and IFC were supposed to bring disappears as soon as the BTC reality takes over. The number of people with justifiable grievances increases daily. For example, valid compensation claims for land plots are typically rejected by community liaison officers on the grounds that claimants are trying to cash in."
The report also illustrates the gap between official BTC Co announcements about the available community benefits and official disregard for the problems which ordinary people are experiencing.
Kety Gujaraidze, of Association Green Alternative, said, "These people are directly affected and they will have to live side by side with the pipeline for years. They and everyone else have heard lots of promises about the safety and benefits of the pipeline but it is not known yet whether any BTC executives are planning to settle along the pipeline route."
Association Green Alternative
Tel: +995 32 93 24 03 / 99 04 72
Fax: + 995 22 38 74