The Secretariat has been repeatedly approached with concerns by civil society representatives over the environmental impact and safety of the Namakhvani Cascade hydropower project. Namakhvani is located in Western Georgia on the Rioni river. Over the past months, the implementation of the project has been facing opposition and protests from civil society and local population alike. In March, the campaigners and the government agreed to suspend the construction of the dam for at least nine months. The government has invited the Chair of the Secretariat’s Dispute Resolution and Negotiation Centre, Deputy Director Dirk Buschle, to mediate the discussions between the parties, and to review all documents and procedures carried out in relation to the project so far against Energy Community law and best European practice.
In accepting the invitation, Buschle stated: “We look forward to working together with civil society, experts and the government to find a solution. 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 the 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.“ Mr Buschle will be supported by Environmental Expert Aleksandra Bujaroska in the mediation.