The Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), a Tbilisi-based environmental organization, issued a statement on the planned structural changes in the Government of Georgia and called for “an in-depth analysis and extensive discussion” over the issue.
As part of the proposed changes announced by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on November 13, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection will be abolished and its competences will be handed to other ministries, with its natural resource management component being transferred to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the environmental component being merged with the Ministry of Agriculture. The latter will be renamed into the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture.
“Based on CENN’s preliminary assessment, the Government’s announcement risks decisions being made in haste, without justification and public participation, in a non-transparent manner,” the organization said in its statement on November 15, adding that it could potentially “hamper the democratic development of the country and harm the international image of Georgia.”
“The primary area of concern is the abolishment/reorganization of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection,” CENN also said, calling on the Government to present to the public “strong justifications for the necessity of the announced changes,” as well as to prepare and present for public discussions “a detailed handover and implementation plan of the Ministry’s responsibilities, functions, current programs, and policy documents to the respective agencies.”
According to the organization, a reasonable timeframe should be given to local and international organizations for conducting detailed analysis of the proposed changes, and the Government should move on with introducing the legislative proposal only after a respective plan is agreed through “a participatory process.”