EU Energy Community to assist civil society, gov't in dispute over Namakhvani HPP
EU Energy Community to assist civil society, gov't in dispute over Namakhvani HPP

“We look forward to working together with civil society, experts and the government to find a solution, the Chair of the Secretariat’s Dispute Resolution and Negotiation Centre, Deputy Director Dirk Buschle said in a statement on Thursday.

According to the Georgian Economy Ministry, the government has invited Dirk Buschle and Environmental Expert Aleksandra Bujaroska to mediate the discussions between the parties. They will review all documents and procedures concerning the project against Energy Community law and best European practice. 

“The Energy Community is not a community of governments or project developers alone. I would like to manage expectations, however, for a fast and easy way out. In this process, we will ensure that everybody is given the chance to be heard, and all concerns are put on the table. In parallel, the Secretariat will review the documentation of the past environmental procedures,“ Dirk Buschle said in a statement.

The Energy Community Secretariat informed that it has been repeatedly approached with concerns by civil society representatives over the environmental impact and safety of the Namakhvani Cascade hydropower project. 

“Over the past months, the implementation of the project has been facing opposition and protests from civil society and the local population alike. In March, the campaigners and the government agreed to suspend the construction of the dam for at least nine months,” the statement of the Secretariat reads.

Georgian Government invited Energy Community Dispute Resolution and Negotiation Centre to join the dialogue over Namakhvani HPP construction between the Georgian government and NGOs last week.

The Energy Community Secretariat’s Dispute Resolution and Negotiation Centre focuses on the facilitation of negotiations for the settlement of disputes between private parties, between private parties and states and/or their national authorities, and between states and/or their national authorities. It also engages in negotiation support to national authorities in their negotiations with private parties.

The opponents of Namakhvani HPP construction have been holding rallies for about 6 months. Georgian NGOs stressed a number of ‘shortcomings’ in the contract between Enka Renewables and the government. They claim the project implies understudied seismic and geological risks and force resettlement of some households.