In our next Blue Heart webinar on Thursday, 29 April (14-16:00), we will be presenting our soon-to-be-released Legal Toolkit for the protection of rivers. Together with our partners from Wetlands International Europe and ClientEarth, the Blue Heart team invite you to share and discuss your experiences and questions regarding legal steps taken against hydropower projects! REGISTER HERE

The Vjosa visual action was carried out in four capital cities in Europe. Eiffel Tower in Paris/France © Sébastien Champeaux

On the occasion of this year’s World Water Day, today, several NGO’s released a series of photos capturing the words Vjosa National Park Now cloaking the foreground of globally recognised monuments in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, and Tirana. The activists behind the visual action are targeting the attention of European and Albanian politicians, urging them to declare the Vjosa in Albania Europe’s first Wild River National Park.

Prof. em. Dr. Michael Succow supports the Vjosa National Park © Michael Succow Stiftung

Most recently, ten Alternative Nobel Prize winners - including the renowned Prof. em. Dr. Michael Succow - addressed and signed an open letter to the several leading Albanian politicians and EU representatives, urging them to protect the Vjosa River and begin preparations to establish it as Europe’s first Wild River National Park.

'Vjosa Forever' chronicles the ongoing struggle to secure the future of the unique Vjosa river system, from political uncertainty and opportunistic greed to the hopes of creating a Vjosa National Park (the first of its kind in Europe). With an Albanian election in April of 2021, we fear that this ‘Queen of Europe’ faces its greatest danger yet. At this historic moment, people everywhere have an obligation to speak for the Vjosa; to keep it running wild, forever.

On March 4th, 2021, we held our first webinar, followed live by 350 people via Zoom Webinar and Facebook live stream. Weren't able to join? No problem - watch the recording below! In this webinar we gave an overview about the river jewels of Europe, the threat they are facing and our campaign to save them. We explained how we try to achieve the impossible: to save the Balkan rivers from a dam tsunami of more than 3,400 hydropower projects.

We call on the Albanian government to act on their promise and create the Vjosa Wild River National Park © Gregor Subic

Today, February 10th, 20 Albanian environmental organisations submitted a detailed proposal for the creation of the Vjosa National Park to the Minister of Tourism and Environment. The group of NGOs feel compelled to take this step since Albanian government representatives have been announcing the national park for months, but have not taken any steps towards its implementation.

In a recent study, researchers of NOVA University Lisbon evaluated the economic viability and energy productivity of existing and planned small hydropower projects in the European Mediterranean region. They found that currently, they can cover at best 2.6% of gross electricity consumption and 0.47% of primary energy consumption. The real contribution is likely much lower.

Every two years, we analyse the situation of hydropower development in the Balkans, updating the data of existing and planned hydropower plants as well as those currently under construction. Since the last update of this kind in 2018, another 300 HPPs came into operation, leaving hundreds of kilometres of rivers and streams devastated.

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