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.
++ Hydropower plant projects Poçem and Kalivaç to be suspended immediately. ++ Standing Committee to the Bern Convention recognizes imminent danger to unique ecosystem. ++ Success for nature conservation NGOs in their struggle to save one of Europe’s last free flowing rivers. ++
++ 80,000 kilometers of rivers in the Balkans scientifically assessed ++ 76 percent thereof identified as no-go zones for hydropower development ++ Switch in energy policy is necessary and possible ++ Three quarters of the rivers in the Balkans are ecologically so valuable, that they should be completely off limits for hydropower development. This is the conclusion of the Eco-Masterplan, which was published today.
The countries in the Balkans are facing a dilemma: they must fulfill the EU renewable targets while also follow environmental legislation. This raises the question: Is it possible to increase the renewable energy share AND keep the Balkan Rivers alive? We commissioned an energy expert with this question and his study shows that there is no need for new hydropower!