One day - two events for free rivers! We are pleased to announce the International Wild Rivers Science Symposium and the Wild Rivers Night in Tirana/Albania on October 18th, 2019. The symposium, hosted by the Universities Tirana and Vienna, will bring together renowned scientists from around the world to discuss the condition of the world's last wild rivers. The symposium will end in an entertaining evening event with selected talks and live music.
In Mavrovo National Park, the construction permits for two small hydropower plants on the Zirovnicka River have been officially annulled, after the concession process for another project on the same river was cancelled in May. The decision was taken after a review request submitted by Front 21/42, our partner organization in North Macedonia, right after the investor announced the start of the construction.
Disproportionate public subsidies for small hydropower in the Western Balkans have resulted in widespread environmental damage and have benefited wealthy business people close to or part of the region’s governments, with little benefit for electricity generation, finds a new study released today by CEE Bankwatch Network.
In Stara Planina Nature Park, Serbia, the battle between local communities and SHPP investors has reached a new level. The Union of Local Communities (SMZSP) declared a state of emergency due to non-compliance with Serbian laws. The SMZSP has organized a 24/7 solidarity watch in Topli Do to prevent illegal construction and protect the law. The Union has also called on President Vučic to finally act against illegal construction and in favour of strictly protected species, threatened by the construction.
With the halting of the incentive scheme for wind farms in March, the destructive technology of small hydropower is now the only renewable source of energy receiving significant support in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. While providing a minimal contribution to overall electricity generation, small hydropower causes enormous damage to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s communities, economy and unique biodiversity.
++ First ever international Action Weeks for Balkan Rivers ++ People took to the streets in many countries of the Balkan region ++ 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 – a single dam would undermine this vision. 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, 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!
Our group of allies is increasing! Scientists in our network not only lend their own data but also use their independent voices to advocate for the protection of rivers.
The interactive map to explore the region in detail based on different criteria.
The Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers is a comprehensive study which, for the first time, combines knowledge about biodiversity (fish, mussels, caddisflies), integrity of rivers and floodplains (hydromorphology), as well as the location of protected areas.
We are a coalition of NGOs who have launched the campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” in order to raise awareness about the imminent dam craze on the Balkan peninsula and to spare the most valuable rivers and river stretches from destruction.