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Updated to: 25 February 2015Download as PDF
Country contact on EIA
Contact details for the country contact on EIA.
Ministry of Environment Protection of Georgia
Address: 6 G. Gulua Str., 0114 Tbilisi, Georgia
History of EIA
Brief description of the history of the EIA system in the country, including when it was introduced and any major milestones in its development.
In the period after independence in 1991 and until the legal establishment of EIA in 1995, hardly any EIA was conducted due to lack of investments caused by the instable political situation. Georgia inherited an EIA system that was developed by the Soviet Union. It was characterised by a quality review that is known as state ecological expertise.
After the adoption of the new Constitution of Georgia on August 24, 1995, EIA was introduced by the Law of Georgia on the Protection of the Environment (1996). The Law on Environmental Permits (1996) and the Law on State Ecological Expertise (1996) followed as specific laws on EIA. Detailed EIA regulations were approved by the environmental minister in 2002 and 2003. The EU provided support in developing legislation and regulations. Starting from the second half of the 90s, Georgia gradually started modernizing the EIA system in line with the EU and other international standards. The EIA legislation set up during the phase from 1995 until 2003 was considered as rather ambitious.
With the rose revolution in November 2003 a new phase started and EIA legislation was changed considerably. A new law on licences and permits (2005) was prepared by the Ministry of justice, followed by three laws on EIA regulations in 2007. The new law supports business investment by simplifying permitting procedures, including EIA. Integrated permitting was established. Most important changes in the EIA legislation were the following: the number of activities requiring EIA was limited, the time for review was shortened from 90 to 20 days, and the responsibility for public participation was transferred from the EIA authority to the proponent. The EIA legislation became thus less ambitious.
Year of introduction of EIA legislation
NB: this field is only meant for the world map. It is a hidden cell that is not published on the website. If available, mention the year when detailed national EIA regulations were issued. If such regulations do not exist and if EIA practice is base
Legal framework for EIA
Year of introduction of enabling law
Year when the enabling law for EIA was issued
The Law on the Protection of the Environment (1996) introduced in its Chapter X, Articles 35-41 EIA into legislation.
It was complemented by the following two laws:
- Law of Georgia on Environmental permits (1996)
- Law on State Ecological Expertise (1996)
Approving authority of enabling law
Authority that approved the enabling law for EIA.
The enabling laws were approved by the Parliament.
Year of introduction of first national detailed regulation for EIA
Year when when the first national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) through which EIA was operationalized.
A detailed Regulation on EIA (Order No. 59) was issued in 2003.
Approving authority of first national detailed regulation for EIA
The authority that approved the first national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) through which EIA was operationalized.
The Regulations for EIA were approved by the Minister of Environment.
Recent updates and additions to the EIA legislation
Revisions of the EIA provisions in the enabling law or the national detailed EIA regulation (procedural requirements) are named. The year is listed, and the main changes since the first regulation are mentioned, if available. Also, additional EIA-re
As described in the section of "History of EIA" a genera change in EIA legislation has taken place in Georgia from 2003 onwards. It replaced the former one.
The updates in old EIA legislation which is not in place anymore are the following:
- Regulation on Rules to carry out State Ecological Expertise (2003)
- Amendment of Law on State Ecological Expertise (2003)
New EIA legislation that is currently in place is the following:
- General Administrative Code of Georgia (1999): Establishes rules of common administrative proceeding for the issuance of the permit
- Resolution on approval of the regulation on rule and conditions for issuance of environmental impact permit (2005)
- The Law of Georgia on Licences and Permits (2005)
- Law of Georgia on Ecological Expertise (2005)
- The Law of Georgia on Permits for Impact on the Environment (2007): defines procedures of the permit for impact on the environment.
- Ordinance No 193 on legalization of the statute on "rules for conducting state ecological expertise" (2007)
- Law of Georgia on Services of Environmental Protection (2008)
- Decree on Approval of the EIA Regulations (2011)
Sector specific procedures or regulations on EIA
Any existing sectoral procedural or content regulations are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each.
No sector specific EIA frameworks are available under current legislation.
Any government issued guidelines on EIA (general, or sectoral) are listed here, as well as the authority that issued each. Describe the legal status of the guidelines.
A guideline on necessary procedures to receive the permit for Environmental Impact Assessment from the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia exists.
Objective of EIA
The objective of EIA as stated in the above described legal basis.
Scope of EIA application
Describes which types of activities require EIA (public and/or private activities; national and/or foreign initiated project; or all such projects)
All activities (public and/ or private, national and/ or foreign) imposing significant risks on human life or health relate to especially important or public interests or connect to use of country resources. These activities are specified under Article 4 of the Law of Georgia on Environmental Impact Permit, 2008.
Exemptions from EIA application
Describes any (groups of) activities identified in the regulation that are exempted from the requirement to do EIA (e.g. military or emergency activities).
There are provisions for exemptions. Exempted activities are not specified an activity may be exempted from EIA if:
- the requested permit repeats or continues an activity, which has already undergone an EIA procedure and a repeat of the EIA will not give the extra information;
- common state interests require that the activity be undertaken and the decision has been made in a timely manner.
Institutional setting for EIA
Central EIA authority
Is there a central authority in charge of implementing EIA? Is it independent or linked to a higher body (e.g ministry)? What are its tasks related to EIA?
The Ministry of Environmental Protection of Georgia is the central authority on EIA. It replaced the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources in 2011.
Other key (governmental) parties involved in EIA, and their roles
Lists other key parties (e.g. a review commission, knowledge institute) that have a role in many or all EIAs.
- The Ministry of Economic Development of Georgia becomes involved in the EIA system when an activity, subject to permit for impact on the environment, also requires a construction permit;
- Ministry of Justice: Responsible for promulgating and enforcing EIA legislation;
Mandate for exemption of EIA obligation
Describes if there is a legal mandate for a competent authority to make exemptions of EIA obligation. And if yes, under which conditions (e.g. national security, disasters or no conditions/when deemed necessary).
There is a legal mandate for the competent authority to make exemptions on a case by case basis. The Minister of Environment Protection takes the decision on exemptions from EIA. Recommendations for it are provided by a special council on Environmental Impact that is formed by the MoE.
(De)centralisation of EIA mandates
Describes if EIA mandates are (de)centralised. Vertical decentralization refers to the extent to which the responsibility for EIA processes are delegated by the central government to the provincial or local authorities. Sectoral or horizontal decen
The responsibility for all EIA processes lies with the national authority.
Overview EIA procedure
Characterizes the overall EIA procedure. If relevant, interesting aspects of the EIA procedure are mentioned such as: which procedural steps are part of the EIA procedure? How are they linked to each other? Are there different levels of assessment di
The legislation does not require Screening and Scoping as formal steps of the EIA process. The assessment process is also not further specified. The review of the EIA report is required as it is part of conducting a State Ecological Expertise as a verfication mechanism of several documents submitted by the proponent in order to obtain the environmental impact permit afterwards. Compliance monitoring of the permit conditions is also required in Georgia.
Screening requirement and authority
Describes if a formal screening decision required, and if so, which authority is responsible for this decision. Is this decision published?
Screening is not formally required according to the current EIA legislation. (To be confirmed)
The Department of Ecological Expertise and Inspection together with his staff and other experts of MoE are responsible for screening if it is done.
Describes the screening process: steps in screening, the stakeholders involved and outcomes of the process, status of screening advice of different stakeholders, etc. Also describes any prescribed methods for screening. If preliminary EIA's / light EIA's / Initial Environmental Evaluations (IEE) are done in this country and which criteria determine whether a preliminary or a full EIA is requested
Presently, there is no screening procedure defined for Georgia.
After receiving the project proposal from the proponent, the Department of Ecological Expertise and Inspection together with his staff and other experts of MoE makes a decision based on a provided screening list. The list of projects that need to undergo screening is provided by the 2007 Georgian Law on Environmental Permit. The screening decision is recorded and communicated in writing to the proponent
Provision for sensitive areas
Are specific requirements formulated for environmentally sensitive areas? (e.g. no minimum thresholds, full EIA instead of partial EIA)
Not specified in the legislation.
Contents of the starting document
Describes the required content of the starting document (if any) that the proponent should submit to the competent authority for EIA screening. Mentions if the starting document is published.
Not specified in the legislation.
Maximum number of (working) days allowed between submission of the starting document and the screening decision.
Not specified in the legislation.
Is a formal scoping step required as part of the EIA process?
There are no requirements for scoping in the legislative framework.
Assessment and reporting
Steps and roles of stakeholders in the assessment and status of the input of the stakeholders. Also sets out methods for assessment of the environmental impacts of the activity, if prescribed, and whether the assessment covers environmental, social, economic and/or transboundary effects.
The assessment process is not specified. Nevertheless, prior to submitting the final EIA report to MoE, the proponent is required to arrange a public hearing in a district administrative centre, where the activity is planned to be implemented. The proponent then submits the final EIA report to the MoE with regard to the comments of the public and other stakeholders.
Contents of the EIA report
Explains what should be contained in the EIA report. Specifies if a potential Environmental Management Plan is part of the EIA report or if it is a separate document that contributes to the EIA process.
No information was found for EIA legislation from after 2003.
Overview of the review process, including: steps in the process and roles of the stakeholders, status of the input of the stakeholders. Is the process open to public? Review method: internal review, external review, panel/commission (permanent or temporary), are the review results documented? Are the review criteria general or case by case? Are the review results documented? Is a potential review
In Georgia it is common practice to conduct a preliminary review, even though this procedure is not formal. It provides the Ministry experts an opportunity to become familiar with the EIA report prior to the formal review procedure. The Ministry sends comments to the proponent who has the opportunity to address and eliminate gaps before the final EIA report is submitted for the formal review process. A preliminary review usually takes place before a public hearing. Its timeframe is with 40-45 days considerably longer than the one of the formal review process which is 10-15 days.
The formal review process is in Georgia the process of ecological expertise. It follows the permit application and is part of the official procedure for permit issuance. Ecological expertise is an essential measure that applies to project documentation that is submitted by the proponent as part of the application, among them the EIA report.
In general, the MoE is responsible for carrying out the ecological expertise and thus for reviewing the EIA report. In each particular case, a commission of experts is established that includes Ministry staff from different sectoral divisions. When needed, the MoE can also hire external experts to be part of the commission. The commission reviews the documents given by the proponent including an EIA report, a situation map, volume and types of possible emissions and a non-technical summary. The review also includes the comments from the public and other stakeholders. The commission then formulates a final statement of ecological expertise that can be positive or negative. The decision taken is relayed to the proponent who is required to inform other stakeholders including the public of the outcome of the process.
Describes if the EIA is checked by external parties, and if so to what extent these represent required disciplines/expertise. Also sets out if measures have been taken to ensure that reviewers are impartial?
The legislation of Georgia does not envisage an independent examination of adequacy of environmental information given in the EIA report. The main verification mechanism is the State Ecological Expertise to be undertaken by MoE or hired external experts after the project proponent submits the application (including the EIA report) for obtaining the environmental permit. That the hiring of independent experts is optional is one of the major changes in the Law of Ecological Expertise compared to the ones from before the rose revolution in 2003.
Number of (working) days for review of the EIA by the competent authority.
The informal preliminary review usually takes place within 40-45 days. The time frame for the ecological expertise is 10-15 days.
Integration of EIA into decision-making
Describes what kind of decision-making processes the EIA is intended to support. We look specifically at the decision on EIA approval, and how this relates to envirionmental approval for the project, and other project approval decisions (permits) needed before a project can proceed. This category describes which decisions are influenced by EIA and how they are linked to each other.
The EIA report is necessary for the final decision on the permit and the process of ecological expertise is integrated into the permit application. The outcome (positive or negative) of the statement of ecological expertise is an essential ground for issuing the environmental impact permit and the construction permit. The processes of ecological expertise and decision making are thus barely separated.
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), 2004. Assessment of Effectiveness of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System in Georgia
Describes which authority/authorities is/are responsible for each of the main decision-making processes on EIA (EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval). It is explained if those decisions are taken by the same or different authorities.
The environmental impact permit is issued by the MoE.
Mentions if the decision (on EIA approval and/or environmental approval) is linked to certain documents (e.g. environmental management plan, permit conditions) in order to facilitate the management of environmental risks during project implementation. Also describes if commitments of the proponent are incorporated into legally binding instruments.
The environmental impact permit comes along with permitting conditions. The law on Licenses and Permits stipulates that the conditions and findings of the conclusion made by the state ecological expertise present the permitting conditions.
Sets out requirements for justification of the consideration of the EIA information in decision-making (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval).
Decisions by the decision-making authority are justified to the public if the public requests it. It is not clear if a reference to EIA information has to be made in the justification.
Does the decision (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval) have to be published? Also, is the decision justification published as well?
The proponent is informed of the decision in the form of the conditions to the permit. The decision is further justified to the public if the public requests it.
Maximum number of (working) days available to the competent authority to make the EIA based decision (EIA approval, environmental clearance and/or project approval).
The time line between the assessement by ecological experts and the issuing of the permit is 5 days.
Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement
Is compliance monitoring required to check if the project is implemented as described in the EIA documents and/or if mitigation of environmental impacts complies with applicable standards and other measures set out in the EIA documents? Who is responsible for ensuring compliance? How does this authority ensure compliance (for example, through inspections)? And what requirements are there for the p
As part of the EIA report, it is a requirement for the proponent to (i) determine methods of environmental control and monitoring; (ii) develops prevention and mitigation plan of identified or expected negative impacts on the environment; (iii) elaborates environmental strategy and management plan for each stage of the activity.
The monitoring of permit conditions and EIA implementation is not properly regulated in the current legislation as there are no legal procedural instruments for it.
The Service of Environmental Protection (former Inspectorate of Environment Protection) is the controlling body. It is empowered to perform control and inspection of entreprises. Also the Law on Licenses and Permits enables for annalselective control through the body granting the permit. However, this procedure is not further regulated and the rights and responsibilities of the Service of Environmental Protection remains obscure.
Are there monitoring requirements that involve external parties, such as citizen monitoring (for example, through a complaints procedure), or third party auditing?
Are there penalties that the authority responsible for compliance can apply if environmental conditions are not met? What are these? (for example, fines, suspension of license)
If, after 3 penalties no improvements have been made, the permit can be suspended.
Are there any requirements to monitor if the impacts in reality are as they were predicted in the EIA, with the purpose of evaluating the EIA itself and improving future EIA practice?
Is the proponent required to pay a fee when applying for an EIA? Is this fee linked to a permitting fee, or separate? If yes, when is this paid and to whom (to the agency that issues the license or to a central agency)?
The proponent bears the costs associated with the EIA process.
Public participation requirements for EIA process stages
Describes for which of the EIA process stages public participation is required.
Public participation is envisaged during the EIA report development stage only.
Gugushvili Tamar. 2008. Observers Report. Environmental Impact Assessment Process in Georgia. Aarhus Centre Georgia
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network
Resolution No. 154 of 2005 on Approval of the Regulation on Rule and conditions for Issuance of Environmental Impact Permit (Article 3)
Public participation arrangements
Relevant information regarding the arrangements for public participation are provided here (e.g. who is responsible for it, who is consulted, does the legislation mention consultation or participation, for which project should consultations be held, are public hearings held etc.)
The legislation specifies that public involvement is implemented through the procedure of public hearings during the EIA report stage. The proponent organizes them. Firstly an announcement is made informing the public about the planned activitiy and leaving possibilities for the public to send comments to the proponent. Between 50 and 60 days after the announcement has been made, a public hearing is held. A hearing protocol is compiled afterwards.
Gugushvili Tamar. 2008. Observers Report. Environmental Impact Assessment Process in Georgia. Aarhus Centre Georgia
Public participation guidance
Has any guidance on participation been provided?
There is no public participation manual available.
Access to information
Which of the information that is generated in the EIA process is available to the public? Specifically, which reports and decision statements?
The developer is supposed to provide the public with information on the proposed activities prior to submitting an EIA report to the MoE. A notice containing (a) objectives, title and location of the planned activity (b) address, where public representatives will be able to get information (c) deadline for submission of comments (d) time and venue for public hearing. The information can also be requested by the public and local authorities.
How can the public receive the information that is publicly available? Are there public announcement on the proceedings? How/where are these published? Is information made available locally? Is information sent on request? etc.
Information is published both in a central printed periodic and in periodic of the district administrative territory. The Aarhus centre Georgia provides Guidelines - How to request and receive information from the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia. The centre website also documents current information on public hearings (since May 2007 to date).
Timeline for public comments
The number of (working) days available for the public to make comments on the EIA decision document.
Within 45 days after the public announcement has been made, the public can provide comments to the proponent.
Costs for public
Are there any specified costs public parties will incur if they partake in EIA?(e.g. costs for the receiving report, costs of losing an appeal, etc. Costs associated with travel to meetings or such are not included here)
The majority of the costs are for the public themselves. Small documents (<15 pages) are sent for free by the ministry. Larger documents and/or transport costs need to be covered by the public.
What options do the public have to provide their comments. Should comments be written, or may they also be verbal? To which agency should they provide their submissions?
The pubilc can make comments both orally and in writing. Oral comments are recorded in the form of meeting minutes which have to be signed by the proponent and a representative of MoE.
Public comments in decision-making
Do the EIA and/or project approval decisions have to be justified on the basis of public participation results? Do legal texts indicate how public participation results should be used and to which decision-making processses they should contribute?
The law requires that comments made by the public are considered in the EIA report. In case the proponent disregards any of the comments made, they are supposed to justify the non-consideration in writing to the concerned public.
According to the legislation, the permit for impact on the environment is issued on the basis of common administrative proceeding which does not envisage public participation. However, the General Administrative Code gives provisions that affected parties can apply to the MoE and require participation in the administrative proceeding. They can also participate in the proceeding. In practice this process and public participation is hampered though.
If the statement of ecological expertise has to make a reference to the outputs of public participation, is not specified.
Possibilities for appeal
What are the legal recourse options to challenge EIA decisions are provided for within the legal framework?
There is possibility for appeal either to a superior administrative body or to the court of law. It is not specified who the superior administrative body is nor to which kind of court the appeal can be made (to be confirmed).
Decisions that can be appealed
Which EIA decisions can be appealed?
Appeals are possible for the EIA approval and the issuance of the environmental impact permit.
Who can appeal
Who can make an appeal (in other words, has legal standing)?
There is a possibility for appeal by any public representatives who deem their rights violated. The decision of the competent authority not to issue a permit can also be appealed against by the proponent. (to be confirmed)
Annual no. of EIAs
Gives an estimation for the number of full EIAs that are produced annually in this country.
Approximately 60 to 70 EIA based permits are processed annually.
Central EIA database
Is there a central database or library where information on EIAs is kept (i.e. where all EIAs are registered and/or copies are archived). If so, what is kept there and is this information publicly accessible?
Records of EIA are kept at a central place at the MoE. Reports older than 3 years are kept in an archive, reports that have been issued in the last 3 years are stored in office. An online database is being introduced.
Any EIA practice review studies that have been done (by governmental agencies or others) are listed here. Where relevant, links to studies are included, and the main conclusions of the studies are summarised.
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), 2004. Assessment of Effectiveness of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System in Georgia.
Accreditation of consultants
Is there and accreditation system operational in the country to certify consultants to do EIAs?
The MoE has a register of consulting companies, however, there is no mechanism for their accreditation.
Professional bodies relevant to EIA practice in the country, such as EIA Associations, Environmental Expert Associations, etc are listed here.
The following professional bodies have an interest in EIA:
- (CENN) Caucasus Environmental NGO Network
- Centre for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG)
- Environmental Information and development Centre
- Georgian Association of Environmental and Biological Monitoring
- International Centre for Environmental Research
- IUCN Programme Office for the Southern Caucasus
- LOBO – Union of Environmental Protection and Animals’ Rights
- Regional Environmental Centre (REC) for the Caucasus
- United Socio-Ecological Union of Georgia -SEU
- WWF Caucasus Programme Office Iakob Gogebashvili Telavi State University.
- Georgian Designated National Agency for International Data and Information Exchange.
- Scientific – Education Institute of Standardization and Meteorology.
- Committee on Studying Industrial Forces and Natural Resources.
- M. Rcheulishvili Sientific Institute of Biological Fundamentals of Stock Breeding.
- Institute of Water Management of Georgia.
Non-governmental EIA guidance
Lists any EIA manuals and good practice publications (including checklists, case studies) that have been published by parties other than government.
The Aarhus centre provides informative booklets and guidelines for consultants issuing an EIA:
- How to obtain the permit for Environmental Impact Assessment from the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia. Aahus Centre Georgia. (2008)
Ongoing training programmes (including professional and academic training) and major training events held in the past (with focus on recent events) are mentioned here.
Since the introduction of EIA a number of activities have been executed to support the development and performance of EIA in Georgia. Examples of such main capacity development programmes are the following:
- Programme on strengthening the EIA system in Southern Caucasus by CENN and NCEA. A first phase of the programme (2003-2004) provided insights into strenghts and weaknesses of the EIA system and priorities to change. The second phase (2005-2006) resulted in the development of an EIA law that was prepared in a participatory way, but it has not been approved.
- Programme on the improvement of EIA practice by CENN (2005). It resulted in the development of new sector guidelines on EIA.
- EIA strengthening project by NCEA and OSCE-Aarhus centre (1st phase: 2011)
Other relevant links on EIA
Any other relevant links (for example to country specific guidance documents) are included here.
UNECE Arhus Clearing House - Georgia