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.
On Thursday, March 7th, we will present the Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers in the European Parliament at the event “Save the Balkan Rivers: Resisting Hydro Power Plants in the Balkans & Albania”, organized by the European Parliamentary Group of the European United Left. You can join us at 2:30 pm via the live stream, translated in 8 languages.
++ Greater transparency still needed ++ The ‘Save the Blue Heart of Europe’ campaign gave a cautious welcome to a first-of-its-kind summit between the financial sector and green activists, where a roundtable about the role of banks in the destruction of Balkan rivers by hydropower dams was centre stage.
Last weekend, the project "Save the Blue Heart of Europe" was honored with an award: on February 22, Riverwatch employee Cornelia Wieser received the second environmental prize "Trophée de femmes 2019" for her work in the protection of Balkan rivers. The prize was awarded by the Foundation Yves Rocher in La Gacilly, France.
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.
Yesterday, around 5,000 people took to the streets in Belgrade to protest against the sell-off of the rivers in Serbia, particularly against the planned construction of hundreds of hydropower projects. More than 850 hydropower plants are officially planned in Serbia, about 200 of which within nature reserves such as national parks, nature parks, etc.
++ The women left the bridge after more than 500 days and nights ++ Good news close to Christmas: on December 14th, the people of Kruščica in Bosnia and Herzegovina won a crucial court case against two hydropower projects that were planned on their little river. The court stopped all dam plans.
More than 60 scientists from Albania, Austria and Germany have collected their knowledge about the biodiversity and ecology of the Vjosa on 385 pages. The comprehensive study "The Vjosa in Albania - a riverine ecosystem of European significance", published in Acta ZooBot Austria, was presented by the lead scientists at Tirana International Hotel on December 6th.