The destroyed river Lumbardhi in the National Park. © Shpresa Loshaj

The Kosovar Minister for Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure informed the public via Facebook about the presentation of a concept for the area Zalli I Rupes. In this post, Riverwatch is mentioned and it might give the impression, that Riverwatch has been part of a process towards re-opening of the hydropower plants in the region and that we have given a “green light” for this. This is not the case.

After a decade of efforts to protect the Vjosa River in Albania, this petition will gather the voices of all supporters and demand an action that will make a real change: Proclaiming Vjosa as a National Park. Sign the petition and share it with your friends so that we join our efforts to protect what nature took centuries to create.

© Ulrich Eichelmann/Riverwatch

Under the slogan "Lets defend the Balkan Rivers", activists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia Sarajevo met in Sarajevo on Saturday, July 3, to decide on a pan-Balkan alliance for the protection of the rivers in the region. From now on, the various organizations want to work more closely together, because the issues are the same in all countries

Maida Bilal received the award on behalf of the all the brave women of Kruščica. © Goldman Prize

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.

Professor Gabriel Singer (University of Innsbruck) at the Shushica river taking water samples for providing further evidence that the river network of the Vjosa catchment needs the best protection possible. © Nick St.Oegger

From May 29 to June 6, a science delegation from Austria, Albania, Italy and Germany collects multidisciplinary data from the two major Vjosa tributaries Shushica and Bënça. This research week is a follow-up of a comparable undertaking at the Vjosa in 2017, which contributed substantially to our success in establishing the ecological value of the Vjosa, fending off the hydropower projects (HPP) and which led to the designation as a protected area.

The election may be over, but the fight for the Vjosa is not. Over the last several months, support for the Vjosa has grown tremendously in Albania, other European countries, and around the world. As a result of campaigning, Edi Rama’s government agreed to a low-level ‘nature park’ protection for the Vjosa in March - which is a good first step.

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