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The first findings of the expedition were summarized in this report, to provide some very preliminary impressions, highlights and an overview from each of the specialty groups of what was done during this impressively international and collaborative effort. The data collected will be analysed in much more detail over the next months and a more detailed final report is expected by the end of the year 2022.

© Ulrich Eichelmann/Riverwatch

Under the slogan "Lets defend the Balkan Rivers", activists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia Sarajevo met in Sarajevo on Saturday, July 3, to decide on a pan-Balkan alliance for the protection of the rivers in the region. From now on, the various organizations want to work more closely together, because the issues are the same in all countries

Maida Bilal received the award on behalf of the all the brave women of Kruščica. © Goldman Prize

On Wednesday evening, Maida Bilal received the renowned 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize on behalf of the “brave women of Kruščica”. The prize is endowed with 200,000 USD.  The Jury justified their decision on the grounds that hydropower is not green, and is one of the greatest threats to wild rivers and the people living along their banks. Maida Bilal and the other women fought for one of the last free-flowing rivers in Europe - and won.

Neretvica: 15 hydropower plants are projected along this pristine river. With the decision in the Federation of BiH all these projects will be checked © Amel Emric

++ Parliament imposes construction freeze for hydropower projects ++ Tuesday night, the Parliament of the Federation of BiH decided on a moratorium on all new small hydropower projects in the country. This means that no more new plants will be approved, and projects that have already been approved will be audited to see whether or not their approval was legally admissible.

The investor does not have a construction permit. © Robert Oroz

++ Residents block illegal construction of hydropower plants in Bosnia and Herzegovina ++  From 7 am, about two dozen people prevented workers from reaching the construction site despite the ban on assembly and Corona-related curfew. Unable to resume their works, they eventually left.

© Sandra Josovic

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.

Sana river springs. Medna HPP is located just few hundred meters further © Majda Slámová / Arnika

The Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and Ecology of the Republic of Srpska has authorized initiatives on declaration of protected areas on the River Sana. The notion was submitted by environmentalists based on previous biological research. Regrettably, a hydropower plant was launched on the river last year. The new regulation will protect river’s springs and canyon.

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