Neretva Biodiversity

In 2022 and 2023, two Science Weeks were held on the Upper Neretva River. The two one-week events resulted in two attractive Preliminary Reports in accessible language and a series of scientific papers. The results were astonishing. More than 2000 species were found in two weeks, nine species new to science (!), round 80 species strictly protected in Republika Srpska, cca. 60 rare and endangered plant species in BiH and 25 plant species endemic to the Balkans. Moreover, new important insights into the functioning of a pristine river – something we already lost in most of Europe. In this webinar, we presented the results of two Neretva Science Weeks, discussed about the impacts of these events on the future of Neretva and revealed our plans for the future.

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Neretva Science Week 2022 Results

The Neretva Science Week that took place from June 28th to July 5th, 2022 brought 50 scientists from around Europe to research the highly intact Neretva River in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They collected data aimed at characterising this highly threatened riverine ecosystem. In this webinar, scientists presented the main findings, that all argue for the protection of this unique river system. In addition, we discussed the positive impact these results already have and what we expect from the Scientists for Balkan Rivers Network in the coming year, including plans for a second Neretva Science Week.

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Join us for our next webinar on November 4th,2021 (3-5 pm CEWT) to discuss with river activists and experts from the Balkans and beyond about social impacts of hydropower, their resistance and the lessons learned from successful river activism.

For years, we have highlighted how the ongoing hydropower boom is destroying Europe’s last free-flowing rivers and riverine ecosystems in the Western Balkans. However, the fight for free-flowing rivers is also about people, the way hydropower affects them and their relentless efforts to halt dam plans.

In our upcoming webinar we will discuss the social dimensions of hydropower. We will talk about the impacts of hydropower projects on communities, their economies, livelihoods, and culture. We will hear from activists who have dedicated their lives and energy to fighting destructive dams: what motivates them, which have been their most successful strategies, how they have dealt with major obstacles to their activism, and how we can collectively strengthen our fight against new hydropower plants.

Find here infos about the speakers


Legal Tools to Protect Rivers from Hydropower Development!

In our next webinar on Thursday, 29 April (14-16:00), we will be presenting our Legal Toolkit (read online or download the PDF) for the protection of rivers. Together with our partners from Wetlands International Europe and ClientEarth, we invite you to share and discuss your experiences and questions regarding legal steps taken against hydropower projects! REGISTER HERE

To make way for the rapid development of hydropower, mandatory legal procedures and environmental impact assessment provisions are often sidestepped or not properly implemented. International laws and and EU environmental regulations have therefore become valuable tools in preventing the construction of new hydropower projects.

The webinar will be the first in a series of events under the Lawyers for Rivers initiative, conceived in the context of the "Save the Blue Heart of Europe" campaign and launched together with EuroNatur, Riverwatch, GEOTA, Wetlands International Europe and WWF Adria. Lawyers for Rivers aims to enable capacity building and exchange on experiences with legal activism for river protection.



The Beauties and the Beasts - Balkan Rivers at risk

On March 4th, 2021, we held our first webinar, followed live by 350 people via Zoom Webinar and Facebook live stream.

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In this webinar we gave an overview about the river jewels of Europe, the threat they are facing and our campaign to save them. We explained how we try to achieve the impossible: to save the Balkan rivers from a dam tsunami of more than 3,400 hydropower projects.

The webinar featured Ulrich Eichelmann, Riverwatch and Anntette Spangenberg, EuroNatur giving an overview about our strategies and tools (minute 06:17), representatives of our legal defence team Maja Pravuljac (Client Earth) and Nina Kresevljakovic (Aarhus Center BiH) explaining how we defend Balkan rivers in court (min 35:51), Ulrich Eichelmann outlining our Artists for Balkan Rivers project (min 1:11:00), and Olsi Nika, EcoAlbania presenting the Vjosa case and our efforts to establish Europe’s first Wild River National Park (min 1:28:00). We also had a guest speaker from Patagonia - Environmental Action & Initiatives Director Beth Thoren - talk about the brand new short film "Vjosa Forever" (min 01:17:00).

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