Tbilisi, Georgia: A meeting of the Consultative Council of the Agency of Protected Areas was held at the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture.
The board members discussed issues related to the Baldi Canyon development project. They also noted that ensuring the sustainable development of Bald Canyon is of the utmost importance for all parties, considering stakeholders’ involvement in the process.
The head of the Department of Biodiversity and Forestry, Carlo Amirgulashvili, said, “The Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture, through active communication, will carry out an environmental impact assessment regarding the Baldi project, as well as identifying and considering its ecotourism potential.”
He also mentioned, “The assessment will be discussed with the involvement of all interested experts and parties. “We will reach conclusions both the population, face-to-face during the meeting, and the interested parties at the post-meting of the Consultative Council.”
Although, according to the current legislation, the Agency did not have an obligation to prepare an environmental impact document, the advisory council made the impact assessment on biodiversity a recommendation.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture and the Agency of Protected Areas will assess the impact of biodiversity at the Bald Canyon Nature Monument through the participation of experts.
At the end of the meeting, the council members agreed that shortly, an outdoor meeting would be held in the area of Baldy Canyon, and on-site environmental aspects would be discussed.
Irakli Macharashvili, the director of the NGO “Sabuko”, called the decision made by the Ministry on the generation of biodiversity research, which will determine how the current project will affect the canyon.
Nino Chkhobadze, Chairman of the Green Movement of Georgia, said, “The importance of Baldi Canyon in the system of protected areas should be emphasized, so the evaluation should be not only from the perspective of tourism but also from this perspective of its importance as a protected area.”
The meeting held at the Ministry was attended by representatives of Environment and Agriculture, Agency of Protected Areas, Environmental organizations, Ecotourism associations, specialists and experts.