Government-proposed legislative amendments on abolishing the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection and assigning its functions to other ministries, has triggered controversy among the ruling majority lawmakers.
Georgian Dream MPs united in the six-member Georgian Dream-Greens faction, as well as members of the Parliament’s environmental protection and natural resources committee voiced their objections to the reform plan.
“I think it will weaken the system of environment protection, and at the same time, the transfer of some functions to the Ministry of Economy - the mining component - will result into serious conflict of interests,” said MP Gia Gachechiladze, chairman of the Georgian Dream-Greens faction.
Kakha Kuchava, chairman of the Parliament’s environmental protection and natural resources committee, questioned the proposal as well. Speaking to Maestro TV on November 30, Kuchava said that the Ministries of Agriculture and Economy were “consumers” of natural resources, and therefore, “having a regulator, like the Ministry of Environment, is be very important.”
Shalva Tadumadze, the government’s parliamentary secretary, who presented the bill at the plenary sitting on December 6, said in response that there would be “no weakening in the environmental protection component.” “The submitted bill does not contain any provision that weakens the environmental functions or overlaps the functions with other ministry,” he added.
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 functions 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.