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Even the youngest residents fight for their rivers, here in North Macedonia © Front 21/42

++ First ever international Action Weeks for Balkan Rivers ++ People took to the streets in many countries of the Balkan region ++ They protested against the destruction of the last wild river landscapes in Europe ++ From July 6 to 16, 2019 around 1000 people took part in protests in Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece against hydropower expansion on the Balkan rivers.

The Ribnicka is one of many small rivers in the Mavrovo National Park. The construction of the power plants and the necessary infrastructure would have fatal consequences for the species-rich area in North Macedonia. © Front 21/42

++ NGOs, government representatives, experts, hydropower developers and the local community discuss challenges and solutions at an international conference on nature protection and hydropower projects in North Macedonia ++ Yesterday, the first ever national approach for defining no-go zones for hydropower projects was presented at a conference in North Macedonia.

The Vjosa in Albania – Europe‘s last untouched river beauty – is at risk. © Gregor Subic

Today, the Energy Community Secretariat received a complaint against the Albanian Government. EcoAlbania, Riverwatch and EuroNatur – the three organisations behind the campaign for the protection of the Vjosa River in Albania – have raised concerns about the procedures for the Kalivaç and Poçem hydropower projects (HPP) not being in line with Energy Community rules.

On Sunday, about 5000 people protested in Belgrade against the planned construction of hundreds of hydropower plants in Serbia © Radomir Duvnjak

Yesterday, around 5,000 people took to the streets in Belgrade to protest against the sell-off of the rivers in Serbia, particularly against the planned construction of hundreds of hydropower projects. More than 850 hydropower plants are officially planned in Serbia, about 200 of which within nature reserves such as national parks, nature parks, etc.

++ 80,000 kilometers of rivers in the Balkans scientifically assessed ++ 76 percent thereof identified as no-go zones for hydropower development ++ Switch in energy policy is necessary and possible ++ Three quarters of the rivers in the Balkans are ecologically so valuable, that they should be completely off limits for hydropower development. This is the conclusion of the Eco-Masterplan, which was published today.

250 people from over 30 countries attended the first European Rivers Summit in Sarajevo. © Luka Tomac (Art) and Flying Pangolin Film (Photo)

++ 250 people attend Summit to save Europe’s rivers and stop the damming ++ Participants call upon EU and Heads of State to stop funding hydropower ++ Between September 27th and 29th, Sarajevo became the center of European river conservationists and dam opponents. At the first European Rivers Summit, about 250 people from over 30 countries discussed how to stop the destruction of Europe’s rivers from hydropower, how to protect the last free-flowing river jewels in the long run and how to restore those already destroyed.

All singers joined their voices in the grand finale of the Concert for Balkan Rivers. © Nick St. Oegger

++ Rambo Amadeus, Eda Zari, Damir Imamovic and Tamara Obrovac sing to stop the hydropower tsunami on the Balkans ++ Hundreds of people raised their voices at the open-air Concert for Balkan Rivers at Sarajevo’s BBI centre on Saturday, September 29th. They were singing along with the popular musicians and thus raising awareness for the massive destruction of rivers which is going on all over the Balkan peninsula.

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.

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