For the past eight months, river activists from around the world demanded a Vjosa National Park Now. There have been 23 visual actions across 13 countries in the middle of cities, national parks, in front of national monuments or in special natural places.
After a decade of efforts to protect the Vjosa River in Albania, this petition will gather the voices of all supporters and demand an action that will make a real change: Proclaiming Vjosa as a National Park. Sign the petition and share it with your friends so that we join our efforts to protect what nature took centuries to create.
From May 29 to June 6, a science delegation from Austria, Albania, Italy and Germany collects multidisciplinary data from the two major Vjosa tributaries Shushica and Bënça. This research week is a follow-up of a comparable undertaking at the Vjosa in 2017, which contributed substantially to our success in establishing the ecological value of the Vjosa, fending off the hydropower projects (HPP) and which led to the designation as a protected area.
The election may be over, but the fight for the Vjosa is not. Over the last several months, support for the Vjosa has grown tremendously in Albania, other European countries, and around the world. As a result of campaigning, Edi Rama’s government agreed to a low-level ‘nature park’ protection for the Vjosa in March - which is a good first step.
This baseline survey summarises the value of the Vjosa River system as one of the few remaining reference sites for dynamic floodplains in Europe on the one hand, and reveals the detrimental effects dams could have on the river system on the other. Only one dam will significantly destroy the ecological continuum of a pristine river.
On March 25, the European Parliament adopted the 2021 Albanian Progress Report in which they “urge the [Albanian] government to minimise the impact on biodiversity by stopping hydropower development in protected areas, in particular in areas near the Valbona and Vjosa rivers, and to establish as soon as possible the Vjosa National Park, extending the whole length of the river...”
On the occasion of this year’s World Water Day, today, several NGO’s released a series of photos capturing the words Vjosa National Park Now cloaking the foreground of globally recognised monuments in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, and Tirana. The activists behind the visual action are targeting the attention of European and Albanian politicians, urging them to declare the Vjosa in Albania Europe’s first Wild River National Park.
Most recently, ten Alternative Nobel Prize winners - including the renowned Prof. em. Dr. Michael Succow - addressed and signed an open letter to the several leading Albanian politicians and EU representatives, urging them to protect the Vjosa River and begin preparations to establish it as Europe’s first Wild River National Park.
'Vjosa Forever' chronicles the ongoing struggle to secure the future of the unique Vjosa river system, from political uncertainty and opportunistic greed to the hopes of creating a Vjosa National Park (the first of its kind in Europe). With an Albanian election in April of 2021, river-lovers, local citizens and global conservationists fear that this ‘Queen of Europe’ faces its greatest danger yet. At this historic moment, people everywhere have an obligation to speak for the Vjosa; to keep it running wild, forever.
Today, 20 Albanian environmental organisations under the direction of EcoAlbania submitted a detailed proposal for the creation of the Vjosa National Park to the Minister of Tourism and Environment Blendi Klosi. The group of NGOs feel compelled to take this step since Albanian government representatives have been announcing the national park for months, but have not taken any steps towards its implementation.
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.