Road news October 2023
In June 2023 the EBRD’s Compliance Review Report was finally published – re the NTG’s long standing complaint about the road. (The NTG’s almost identical complaint to the ADB was declared ‘ineligible’). It was published over a year and a half late and admitted to a number of non-compliance errors made by the Bank. The initial complaint can be found here. The final report can be read here. The National Trust of Georgia’s response to the preliminary, ‘Restricted’ draft version of the report can be read here.
While we waited for the report, the road continued to be built, permanent damage inflicted on the valley and its heritage sites, as well as unexpected new archeological sites. The tunnel from Kobi is now nearly finished, just one km more to be drilled, and the road to Russia will open out into the Khada valley next to the village of Skhere. Below is a photograph of Skhere October 2023.
Shock at Korogho church, October 2023
Photo below is a before and after of the National Monument, Korogho Church on the west side of Khada valley. First image taken October 2023, second image two years earlier. The medieval watch tower has been demolished during the church renovation – unnecessarily in most people’s opinions.
Road news April 2022
The NTG raised a complaint with the EBRD’s IPAM bureau. The complaint process was delayed because of Covid-19, but finally the officers came to the valley in November 2021 and made an inspection. We are currently waiting for their report.
Additionally, the Green Alternative made a complaint to the ADB and they have recently also visited the valley. Meanwhile, the Chinese construction company are building worker’s camps and have already started the tunnel at the Kobi end.
We are still hoping, that this disastrous project can be stopped before too much damage is done. There is some concern, that Tusheti is next in the firing line.
New report about the road construction over the winter 21-22.
News December 2020
Preliminary construction by the Chinese construction company has begun. But it can still be stopped, as in some other poorly considered Caucasian projects funded by the international development banks. The NTG officially appealed to both bank’s internal complaints mechanisms about the project’s lack of due diligence. In response the Asian Development Bank (ADB) declared the NTG ‘ineligible’ to complain. International banks operate outside international law and create their own specifically designed guidelines, that in the ADB’s case appears to protect themselves against criticism. Interestingly the other funding bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development EBRD, found the NTG’s identical complaint, ‘eligible.’ It is currently engaging with us through their more independent, IPAM system. We strongly recommend the ADB adopts a similar system – so as not to be branded an unlistening funder. Both banks have been keen to tout themselves as environmentally concerned, yet remain too able to carry out environmentally disastrous projects – such as the Khada valley route for the road – beyond the law. It should be noted that the EBRD, while listening to the NTG’s complaints, continue to release money for the project, throwing some doubt at the entire complaints mechanism.
Points to note.
Following the NTG’s criticism in June 2019 that the project’s 1000 plus page, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), had shown almost no awareness of Georgia’s tourism potential or direction, the ADB abruptly allocated a $600,000 ‘Visitor Centre’ for the Khada valley into the budget. This when the new highway will effectively ruin the valley for the kind of visitor or tourist naturally drawn to this historic valley.
The point has to be raised – why throw a tiny and virtually useless sticking plaster over the gaping wound created by such a poorly researched enterprise? Instead we argue, they should reconsider the road’s route – there is one completely unresearched right next door; the Lakatkhevi – and give that money to proper eco-tourism development for Khada. This would not only regenerate the local economy, but encourage the local inhabitants, Georgia’s future generations and align the banks with their own policy.