As a result of public resistance to small-scale hydropower projects in the Balkans, and in consequence to the milestone bank summit between the financial sector and green activists on March 1st, the EBRD is considerably tightening its standards: the bank will ask commercial banks to refer all high-risk projects – including all hydropower plants – for additional checks, starting with 2020.
On May 14th 2019, the Government of Republic of North Macedonia decided to cancel the concession procedure for a low-performing hydropower project on the Zirovnicka river inside Mavrovo National Park, on the basis of a request for annulment, submitted by Blue Heart partner Front 21/42. The project was violating national and international law and undermined the protection status of the national park.
The Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and Ecology of the Republic of Srpska has authorized initiatives on declaration of protected areas on the River Sana. The notion was submitted by environmentalists based on previous biological research. Regrettably, a hydropower plant was launched on the river last year. The new regulation will protect river’s springs and canyon.
Recently, the Administrative Court of the Republic of Slovenia invalidated the environmental permit of the Mokrice HPP on Sava river. The projected hydropower plant cannot be constructed – for the time being, the Sava is safe. The lawsuit against the project was filed by the Slovenian Native fish Society (DPRS) in December 2018. In its recent decision, the Court pointed to a number of procedural and substantive irregularities.
The Doljanka River in Bosnia and Herzegovina needs your help! The former NBA Player Mirza Teletović is financing the destruction of the river in his home town in Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite the local resistance. Public consultation of the local community was not carried out adequately, nor was there a proper environmental impact study. Please sign this petition to protect the Doljanka River from these destructive hydropower projects.
++ 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.
Freshwater systems are threatened like no other ecosystem globally. In Europe, the last intact rivers are located in the Balkans, but are severely at risk due to 3000 dam projects. We have come up with a scientifically founded plan to protect these river jewels: the Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers. For the purpose of today’s World Water Day, we present to you this video explaining it in two minutes.
Zirovnicka river, one of the biggest tributaries of Radika river in the park, is at stake. Local communities in Zirovnica strongly opposes the two planned hydropower projects but the investor is determined to push through with it, even threatening those who oppose. To support the affected community, please sign the petition Green Zones for Blue Rivers in Macedonia.
On March 7th, the rivers in the Balkans received a lot of attention in the European Parliament at the event “Save the Balkan Rivers: Resisting Hydro Power Plants in the Balkans & Albania”, organised by the Parliamentary Group “European United Left/Nordic Green Left” (GUE/NGL). People from all over the Balkans, and especially from Albania, raised their concerns about the hydropower expansion and the need to put an end to it.