Dechert OnPoint: Georgian Law Developments

Dechert Georgia, through the contribution of partners Archil Giorgadze and Nicola Mariani, joined by senior associates Ruslan Akhalaia and Irakli Sokolovski, as well as Ana Kostava and Ana Kochiashvili, is partnering with Georgia Today on a regular section of the paper which will provide updated information regarding significant legal changes and developments in Georgia. In particular, we will highlight significant issues which may impact businesses operating in Georgia.

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Overview: Regulations for Protection of Environment

Georgia’s legal framework for environmental protection is aimed at protecting the country’s natural environment and ensuring a rational use of resources as well as the rights of its citizens to live in a healthy environment. For these purposes, the Law of Georgia on Environmental Protection (the “Law on Environment”) sets out the main goals and principles applicable in this regard, defining the role that the government is to play in guaranteeing that these principles are safeguarded.

Main Goals and Principles

The main goals of the Law on Environment include protection of the environment and rational use of resources, maintenance of a healthy environment for the ecological and economic interests of society, support for the maintenance of rare, endemic flora and fauna in Georgia and assistance with solving global and regional problems.

According to the Law on Environment, citizens have a number of rights in the environmental protection sector, including: i) the right to live in a healthy environment; ii) the right to use natural resources; iii) the right to receive complete, objective information about their working and living environment; iv) the right to be a member of environmental organizations; and v) the right to be compensated for damages suffered by violations of applicable environmental law, among others. Citizens are also obliged to comply with environmental protection regulations and to preserve the country’s natural and cultural habitat, be considerate of the environment and take measures for its protection in compliance with the requirements of Georgian legislation.

State Control Over Environmental Protection

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia (the “Ministry”) is the main governmental authority responsible for executing state control over environmental protection and natural resources. The Ministry organizes monitoring activities, supports continuous research of ecological conditions, establishes and manages protected areas, ensures the accessibility of information to the public, prepares annual environmental protection programs and oversees waste management, all while performing other functions established by the relevant legislation.

The Ministry is authorized to conduct environmental audits in order to verify the depletion of used natural resources and the degree of harmful impact that certain activities have on the environment, as well as to reveal means and tools available for minimizing that depletion.

The Ministry organizes the recording and assessment of qualitative and quantitative indicators regarding the country’s natural environment, which includes the creation of respective cadastral maps and statistics and procurement of necessary inventory. The Ministry has established a special center tasked with making such assessments. The center collects data and ensures that the respective findings are accessible to the public.

Environmental Permit

To further the interests of the state and the public, the Ministry also oversees the issuance of environmental permits (the “Environmental Permit”).

The Environmental Permit is issued to respective corporate actors conducting certain activities, a list of which is established by the Law of Georgia on the Environmental Permit (the “Law on Environmental Permit”). This list includes, inter alia: i) mining; ii) operation of oil rigs; iii) construction and operation of power plants and chemical factories; iv) exploration of natural gas; and v) construction of roads and railways. These activities are subject to mandatory ecological expertise and the assessment of their respective impact on the environment.

The above-listed activities are subject to the Environmental Permit and cannot be legally performed without such permit. The Law on Environmental Permit establishes respective rules and procedures for securing the Environmental Permit. The Ministry carries out an administrative procedure and bases its decision on the assessment of ecological experts. In case the assessment is negative, the Environmental Permit will not be issued.

The recipients of the Environmental Permit are obliged to follow the provided instructions from ecological experts. The recipients are mandatorily required to implement measures which are specified for the purpose of minimizing the harmful impacts of the activity. The Department of Environmental Supervision of the Ministry is responsible for control over implementation of the Environmental Permits. Violation of the Environmental Permit requirements can be subject to a fine or cancellation of the Environmental Permit.

Technical Regulations of Environmental Protection

The Law on Environmental Permit also envisages the obligations of corporate actors to observe the requirements of technical regulations. Technical regulations are notably established for handling radioactive waste, observing sanitary norms in biological factories, packaging materials, air pollution, waste disposal sites and safe operation of regional gas pipes and oil bases, among others. Violations of such technical regulations are subject to fine in each instance. The amount of the fine varies and is established by law.


The regulations established under the Law on Environment and the Law on Environmental Permit intend to enhance the protection of the environment and natural resources in Georgia. The control mechanisms in this regard demonstrate that the Government of Georgia is actively involved in the process and oversees the protection of the environment in order to safeguard the rights and interests of the public.

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Note: this article does not constitute legal advice. You are responsible for consulting with your own professional legal advisors concerning specific circumstances for your business.

30 May 2016 19:24