++ Vjosa Research Centre in Tepelena inaugurated ++ Scientists refute Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on Kalivaç hydropower plant ++ Albanian President speaks out in favour of Vjosa National Park ++ IUCN promises support ++ Today, the President of Albania, Ilir Meta, together with representatives of the Universities of Tirana and Vienna and the Mayor of Tepelena Tërmet Peçi, inaugurated the Vjosa Research Center

This is what destructive hydropower looks like. Below the dam, the river is reduced to a trickle, here at the Ugar river in Bosnia and Herzegovina © Amel Emric

In response to growing public opposition against destructive small hydropower in the region and an increasing number of complaints to the Energy Community Secretariat the Energy Community Secretariat has now published special policy guidelines on small hydropower projects. Furthermore, the Energy Community Secretariat has officially opened a dispute settlement procedure against Albania.

On Saturday, August 15th, hundreds of people from all over Serbia came to the village of Rakita with spades and mattocks to destroy illegal pipes of the Zvonce hydropower plant in their beloved Rakitska river. The investor laid the pipes illegally, but authorities didn’t act, so the people took matters into their own hands: “If the State is not doing its job and respecting the rule of law, we will do it for them!” was the motto of the action.

Hydropower plants, especially small hydro, are one of the main causes for the increasingly long Red Lists of fishes. If the expansion is not stopped, 186 fish species in the rivers of the Mediterranean region will be pushed further towards extinction. © Amel Emric

Hydropower plants are one of the main causes for the decline of numerous fish species in the Mediterranean region. This is the result of a new study. In total, 251 endangered freshwater fish species along with their stock situation in rivers in the Mediterranean basin were recorded. The impact of existing and planned hydropower plants on these populations was also evaluated.

Neretvica: 15 hydropower plants are projected along this pristine river. With the decision in the Federation of BiH all these projects will be checked © Amel Emric

++ Parliament imposes construction freeze for hydropower projects ++ Tuesday night, the Parliament of the Federation of BiH decided on a moratorium on all new small hydropower projects in the country. This means that no more new plants will be approved, and projects that have already been approved will be audited to see whether or not their approval was legally admissible.

++ On the occasion of the World Music Day on June 21st, 40 artists support the Blue Heart campaign for the protection of Balkan Rivers ++ The musicians want to shake people up and contribute to preventing the looming destruction of nature in their home countries. Darko Rundek from Croatia, Rambo Amadeus from Serbia/Montenegro, Jelena Milušić from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Srdjan Jevdjević/Kultur Shock (USA, originally from BiH) are only four of a total of 40 supporting artists.

The bee-eater would benefit from restored river banks. © A. Vorauer

The EU Commission has now presented its 2030 biodiversity strategy within the Green Deal. It includes the target of restoring at least 25,000 kilometers of rivers. We welcome these guidelines; however, this only makes sense if the destruction of rivers is stopped at the same time.

We need your help: Threatened in their livelihood by a potential dam on the Vjosa, the village of Kutë in Albania – one of the most sunkissed countries in Europe – wants to show that the destruction of Europe’s last wild river is not even necessary. They can produce their own energy on their roofs, creating more income for the community.

The 2nd edition of the European Rivers Summit, held in Lisbon, has been postponed due to COVID19. SAVE THE NEW DATE: May 20-22, 2021. Join us and hundreds of activists and specialists to share knowledge, network and talk about rivers protection, one of the most endangered ecosystems in the World. To get all further updates on the European Rivers Summit (ERS) Lisbon 2020 go to riverssummit.org

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