Preserving a National Treasure in Georgia- by Ana Toklikishvili, May 10, 2010. OSI Blog

Despite laws protecting Georgia's Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park and its environs, the land's pristine beauty recently came under threat by an electricity project. It took a coordinated effort by civil society in Georgia to protect the park.

Borjomi-Kharagauli is one of Europe's largest national parks. Its 85,000 hectares are home to beautiful vistas and an abundance of wildlife including the park's iconic brown bear. Yet it also stood in the path of a major electricity transmission project.

In the aftermath of the 2008 war with Russia, international donors and financial institutions pledged $4.55 billion over a period of three years for the development of transport infrastructure, implementation of energy projects, and construction of houses for internally displaced persons. Missing from these pledges was a monitoring mechanism to ensure the funds were spent properly. Seeing the critical need for oversight, the Open Society Georgia Foundation proposed and supported the creation of a coalition to monitor spending. Seven nongovernmental organizations made up the coalition, Transparent Financial Aid to Georgia. Read further.

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