On Wednesday evening, Maida Bilal received the renowned 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize on behalf of the “brave women of Kruščica”. The prize is endowed with 200,000 USD. The Jury justified their decision on the grounds that hydropower is not green, and is one of the greatest threats to wild rivers and the people living along their banks. Maida Bilal and the other women fought for one of the last free-flowing rivers in Europe - and won.
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.
The Austrian Kelag likes to present itself as a modern company with the highest environmental and social standards. However, reality paints a quite different picture: the Kelag is a problematic company in the Balkans. For years, environmental organizations and local residents have been protesting against its hydropower projects and the behavior of its employees, especially in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
++ NGOs submit a complaint to the Bern Convention against Bosnia and Herzegovina for permitting dam-building on the pristine upper Neretva ++ A related complaint was submitted to the Energy Community Secretariat in August for failure to protect the pristine upper stretches of the river Neretva from eight planned hydropower projects. ++
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.
++ 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.
++ One of the largest science petitions in global freshwater ecology calls to stop Vjosa dam projects in Albania ++ Scientists demand Albanian government to respect scientific standards in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Kalivaç hydropower project ++
++ First ever international Action Weeks for Balkan Rivers ++ People took to the streets in many countries of the Balkan region ++ They protested against the destruction of the last wild river landscapes in Europe ++ From July 6 to 16, 2019 around 1000 people took part in protests in Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece against hydropower expansion on the Balkan rivers.
++ NGOs, government representatives, experts, hydropower developers and the local community discuss challenges and solutions at an international conference on nature protection and hydropower projects in North Macedonia ++ Yesterday, the first ever national approach for defining no-go zones for hydropower projects was presented at a conference in North Macedonia.
Today, the Energy Community Secretariat received a complaint against the Albanian Government. EcoAlbania, Riverwatch and EuroNatur – the three organisations behind the campaign for the protection of the Vjosa River in Albania – have raised concerns about the procedures for the Kalivaç and Poçem hydropower projects (HPP) not being in line with Energy Community rules.