France signs up to destroy untouched nature in Russian Caucasus
Russian environmentalists strongly oppose joint Peak 5642 project
This week France’s President Nikolas Sarkozy promised to help the Russian government in its project to develop the North Caucasus into a string of ski resorts, making it into a “priority direction of the strategic partnership between the two countries.” Russian media reported that France’s investment into the project could amount to $2 billion.
If the project, called Peak 5642http://www.peak5642-davos.com/ is financed by French companies in its current form, the money will be used to fund environmental destruction that is illegal by Russian and international norms.
Four of the five of the planned ski resorts that are part of the project are located partially in strictly protected nature reserves, where any sort of development is prohibited. Moreover, the resort in the Adygea region, called Lagonaki, is planned inside the World Heritage Site Western Caucasus, protected by UNESCO.
Construction will breach international norms and recommendations of the World Heritage Committee, which said on July 30 2010 that any infrastructural development inside the site must be stopped and all plans for recreational development abandoned
France’s decision to participate in the resort projects in the
North Caucasus will stimulate the Russian government to amend the existing legislation that protects Russia’s reserves, and to breach UNESCO’s recommendations.
Environmental Watch on North Caucasus and other NGOs in Russia will take all the necessary steps to halt these plans and seek help from their European partners and colleagues in the French and European parliaments. Previously, participation of French company Vinci in the controversial road project through Moscow region’s Khimki forest led to a scandal and continuing conflict between Russia’s civil society and government structures.
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