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++ Threats and opportunities for one of the most valuable rivers of Europe ++ Flood protection approach developed ++ World Wetlands Day on February 2 ++ On the occasion of this year’s World Wetland Day on February 2, the environmental organisations Riverwatch and EuroNatur today present the “White Book Sava” – a comprehensive work about one of the ecologically most valuable but least known rivers of Europe.

Affected residents of Kutë were never informed about Poçem © Andreas Götz

++ Dam project on Europe’s last wild river was intended to be realised without adequate environmental assessment or civic participation ++ Legal precedent for rule of law in Albania ++ Tirana, Vienna, December 2, 2016. The planned destruction of the Vjosa, one of Europe’s last big wild rivers, is now being challenged in court.

The Vjosa – the last big wild river of Europe outside Russia. © Gregor Subic

++ Scientists demand 3-year construction freeze for hydropower plants on the Vjosa in Albania ++ Environmental assessment according to EU standards urgently required ++ Memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Edi Rama ++ World Rivers Day on September 25 ++  Just in time for the World Rivers Day on September 25, the last big wild river of Europe – the Vjosa in Albania – receives prominent support from all over the world.

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.

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.

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.

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