Balkan River Summit 2024 - Uniting Voices for the Blue Heart of Europe

About the Summit

For over ten years, the “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign has tirelessly worked towards protecting free-flowing rivers from Slovenia to Greece. This effort has grown into an incredible movement, with activists all over the Balkan Peninsula achieving tremendous successes in halting dam projects and saving river jewels of the Blue Heart. However, the fight is far from over, as new challenges and opportunities for river protection continue to emerge.

This year’s Balkan River Summit will provide a forum for all river protectors and supporters to reconnect, celebrate successes, exchange stories, inspire each other, and jointly strategise for the future.

The Balkan River Summit 2024 will occur in Podgorica, Montenegro from 29 September to 3 October 2024. On the 29th of September, we will all celebrate World Rivers Day together!

Registration is free, and it is open NOW! Save your spot and share this information. Registration open until July 31!




Summit Sessions

The summit's session formats include various engaging and interactive activities. Participants can look forward to

  • Networking impulses where you can connect and share ideas with like-minded individuals.
  • "Pitch Your Fight" sessions will feature campaign and project presentations, allowing attendees to showcase their efforts and gain support.
  • Capacity-building workshops to enhance skills and knowledge.
  • Exchange, brainstorming, and planning sessions will provide collaborative thinking and strategising opportunities.
  • Keynote speeches and panel discussions will offer in-depth explorations of key topics led by experts in the field.


Tentative Programme

29 September, Sunday 

14.00 – 16.00: World Rivers Day Special Event  

      • Protect the Rivers of Montenegro – Moraca Flotilla & Big Jump

17.00 – 20.00: Balkan River Summit Opening 

      • Opening remarks and welcome speeches
      • Keynote 1: (Re-)Uniting voices for Balkan rivers within and across borders
      • Social evening event

30 September, Monday 

9.00 – 13.00: Summit Part I:

      • Keynote 2: 10+ years Blue Heart campaign: new challenges, activist responses, and ideas for river protection in the Western Balkans
      • Thematic Panel 1 (on keynote)
      • Networking Impulse
      • Meet the Activists: Participants Pitches I

14.30 – 18.00: Summit Part II 

      • Exchange/brainstorm/strategizing breakout groups
      • Keynote 3: Climate change, biodiversity loss and the renewables transition – do we need more dams?
      • Thematic Panel 2 (on keynote)
      • Buffet dinner

1 October, Tuesday 

9.00 – 13.00: Summit Part III

      • Thematic Panel 3: Policy Talk: European Green Deal and the Western Balkans – river protection policies and EU accession
      • Meet the Activists: Participants Pitches II
      • Capacity Building / Skill Sharing Workshops I (parallel workshop sessions to choose from)
      • Thematic Panel 4: View from the Outside: Journalists reflect on the Blue Heart campaign

14.30 – 18.00: Summit Part IV 

      • Icebreaker/Energizer
      • Capacity Building / Skill Sharing Workshops II (parallel workshop sessions to choose from)
      • Thematic Panel 5: Pan-regional river protection efforts in the Western Balkans
      • Final Plenary discussion & Summit Closing
      • Party with live music (20.00 - open end)

2 October, Wednesday

Fieldtrip (to choose from)

      • Fieldtrip A: One-day excursion to rivers in Montenegro (Zeta, Morača & Cijevna)
      • Fieldtrip B: Overnight excursion to rivers in Montenegro (Zeta, Komarnica & Morača; return on 03/10 evening)


Call for Contributions

We invite you to contribute to the event through the following formats:

  • Pitch Your fight: Present your campaign or project and share your fight for river protection.
  • Capacity-building and skill-Sharing workshops: Lead a workshop to enhance skills and share valuable knowledge.
  • Opinions and ideas: Share your insights and innovative ideas on various topics related to river conservation.
  • Thematic panels: Participate in or organise a panel discussion on key themes relevant to our mission.

Submit your interest in speaking or presenting using the email address below with the subject line: "Call for Contributions." Please specify which format you are interested in and include a brief description (200-300 words), including if and how it fits at least one of the key themes listed above.


Travel Waiver

We have limited support for travel costs available. Please submit your application including:

  • Your name and affiliation
  • A statement of interest of a maximum of one page specifying why you would like to attend the summit and why you require travel support.
  • An updated CV

 Submit your application using the email address below with the subject line: “BRS Travel Cost Waiver Application.”


Have any questions? Contact us!


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