++ 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.
++ Sediment study of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) proves serious consequences of the planned power plants on the Vjosa ++ For over a year, scientists from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) have been studying the sediment transport of the Vjosa river for different high and low water phases
Recently, we presented our vision for Europe´s first Wild River National Park, protecting the Vjosa and her tributaries along her entire course in Albania from source to sea, instead of destroying it with dams. However, the idea only works if free-flow and connectivity is preserved. Read OUR FACTSHEET to learn about possible borders, sizes and how this Wild River National Park could be implemented!
Have you seen ‘Blue Heart’ yet? No? Well, it’s your lucky day, because it is now available for free on youtube – with subtitles in 11 languages! The documentary “Blue Heart”, produced by Farm League on behalf of Patagonia, follows our campaign and other, local stakeholders through the Balkans to document the crime committed on Europe’s last river jewels and on communities who live by them.
Thousands of people are affected by the projected dam tsunami in the Balkans. Many of them are fighting back – they are determined to protect their river, whatever the cost - “We give our life, but not our river” is a common attitude. Together we are stronger - we must support and unite them in their fight, tell their stories and protest with them in solidarity. Join us at the Balkan-wide Action Weeks in July!
In late May, the Banja Luka District Court cancelled the environmental permit for the planned 93 MW Buk Bijela hydropower plant on the river Drina in Bosnia-Herzegovina on the basis of a complaint submitted by the Aarhus Centar in 2018. The Drina is also the most important habitat of the endangered Danube Salmon, found only in some of the cleanest rivers in the Danube basin of southeast Europe.
We proudly present: BLUE HEART IS NOW ON INSTAGRAM!! Check out our brand-new account for great visuals! The account will show you the incredible beauty of Balkan river landscapes but also portray the threat these rivers are facing as well as the destruction that is already underway. Help us save them - follow rivers, follow us!
Yesterday, the legal toolkit “Practice your environmental rights – legal tools and mechanisms” has been presented by the NGO Front 21/42. The toolkit provides guidance for national and international CSOs and activists on how to use their environmental rights with a special focus on the protection of rivers from destructive hydropower developments.
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.