Challenges of approximation of Georgian Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system to relevant EU requirements

This policy brief discusses a new draft regulatory act developed on initiative of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, which offers a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system that is quite different from the one currently in force. The analysis shows that the EIA system provided in the draft law generally meets the relevant EU directives, but it still contains some shortcomings, which can be eradicated through consultations with the stakeholder groups.

Besides the improvement of the EIA system, the draft law also introduces new instruments: Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA); Transboundary EIA and SEA, and the permitting procedures for the continuation of so called “ongoing activities”. The latter raises special concerns because, as the authors of the policy brief claim, this mechanism has been introduced to legalize illegal activities/projects; it is biased towards non-abiding entrepreneurs and unfair towards law-abiding ones; moreover, it opens up wide opportunities for making corrupt deals.