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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.

The villagers were alerted quickly and blocked access to the river. © Abaz Dželilović

++ Women block bridge in Bosnia-Herzegovina for over a year to protect their river ++ New attempt by the investor to vacate the bridge has been successfully fended off ++ Documentary on resistance against dams in the Balkans now available on iTunes ++

The brave women of  Kruščica have stood guard on the access bridge, 24 hours a day, for over 300 days, in order to prevent construction of a hydropower plant © Andrew Burr

A major court victory has been won by the Brave Women of Kruščica, a group of activists protecting their river from the threat of dam construction. The competent court in BiH this week ruled that the environmental permit for dam construction should be annulled immediately, meaning that any further construction work on the proposed dam is illegal.

Despite all opposition, the hydropower project Medna on the Sana river in Bosnia and Herzegovina is about to be opened. This marks the beginning of the end of this extraordinary and valuable river. The destruction of the Sana – one of the last remaining rivers with healthy Huchen populations – is carried out by Austrian-German company Kelag. Read more!

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