Scientists from Albania, Austria and Germany at the Vjosa. From left to right: Prof. Sajmir Beqiraj, Prof. Friedrich Schiemer, Dr. Martin Pusch, Prof. Aleko Miho, Dr. Robert Konecny, Prof. Lefter Kashta. © EuroNatur

++ Scientists from Albania, Austria and Germany demand moratorium on dam construction plans on Europe’s last wild river as well as a 3-year research program ++ Between June 8 and 10, international experts from Austria and Germany met with scientists of the University of Tirana in Albania to discuss the future of the Vjosa river. They adopted a joint position paper, which was handed over to the Albanian Ministry of the Environment.

Valbona, Albania: even though this river is located inside a national park, hydropower projects on this river are in the pipeline. A total of 113 hydropower plants are projected to be built in national parks in the Balkans. © Jan Pirnat

++ Balkan Rivers Tour against dam tsunami ended ++ Kayakers paddled 23 rivers in 6 countries ++ Photo highlights of the tour for download ++ 23 rivers in six countries, 390 river kilometers: on Friday, May 14, a very unique activity ended in the Albanian capital of Tirana – the Balkan Rivers Tour. Over 35 days, kayakers from all over Europe paddled the most beautiful and most threatened rivers in the Balkans in order to draw attention to the looming dam tsunami on the peninsula. A total of over 500 paddlers from 18 nations participated in the activity.

Motion pictures say more than 1000 words. Below are short video impressions covering the entire 36 days of the Balkan Rivers Tour. Enjoy!Residents of the Vjosa valley share our vision: they don’t want PM Edi Rama’s dams – they want their river to remain free. The video shows impressions of the last week of the Balkan Rivers Tour at the Vjosa, Albania. Camera: Rozle Bregar, Miha Avgustin, Aljaz Oblak

A kayak petition with over 1000 signatures was planned to be handed over to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, however he refused to receive it. © Andrew Burr

++ Albanian Prime Minister receives unusual petition for the protection of the Vjosa ++ Balkan Rivers Tour ends in Tirana ++ Amid the applause of hundreds of spectators kayakers marched with their kayaks through the Albanian capital of Tirana today to hand over a kayak petition to PM Edi Rama. However, neither Edi Rama nor a representative of the government was willing to receive the petition. The police spaciously blocked the entrance. Rozman placed the kayak in front of the police cordon.

Vjosa, no dams! About 150 people gathered at the Vjosa today to direct this appeal to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. © Oblak Aljaz

++ Day 33 of the Balkan Rivers Tour: protest action of kayakers, politicians, residents and nature conservationists against projected dams on the Vjosa in Albania ++ Government wants to have large dams constructed ++ River conservationists demand Vjosa National Park ++ “Vjosa – No Dams!” An extraordinary alliance directed this appeal – written in letters seven meters high – to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama today.

The river Radika in the Mavrovo National Park would be affected by the water drainage and daily hydropeaking of the hydropower plant Boskov Most © Theresa Schiller/EuroNatur

++License granted by the Macedonian Ministry of Environment was illegal ++ Violation of national environmental law ++ Nature conservationists call upon financier EBRD to withdraw from project “Boskov Most” immediately++ According to an official statement by the Macedonian administrative court, plans for the large hydropower project Boskov Most in the Macedonian Mavrovo National Park are devoid of any legal basis.

Protest against projected hydropower plants inside Mavrovo National Park. Residents join the  Balkan Rivers Tour-Team © Jan Pirnat

++ Day 19 of the Balkan Rivers Tour: protest action against dam construction inside Mavrovo National Park ++ Hydropower projects endanger the last Balkan lynxes ++ On May 4, an international alliance of kayakers, anglers, residents and nature conservationists protested against the construction of hydropower plants inside Mavrovo National Park.

Save the Sana – stop KELAG: under this slogan, about 200 people protested at the Sana in Bosnia and Herzegovina today © Jan Pirnat

++ Day 8 of the Balkan Rivers Tour: 200 people protest against the dam construction at the Sana river in Bosnia and Herzegovina ++ Today, an international alliance of protested on the river Sana in Bosnia and Herzegovina against the hydropower plant “Medna”, which is currently under construction. The Sana is one of the last remaining rivers in Europe that host healthy populations of the Huchen.

While 2700 dams are projected to be built between Slovenia and Albania, dams are being torn down one after another in the US in order to restore their rivers. Now, the removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River has been approved, rendering it the biggest dam removal project in history.

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