At a formal ceremony in Tepelena this morning, Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama and his Minister of the Environment and Tourism Mirela Kumbaro declared the River Vjosa a Wild River National Park. As from today, the entire River Vjosa in Albania from its border with Greece to the Adriatic sea and its free flowing tributaries – a river system totalling more than 400 kilometres in length – have the very high level of protection.
Belgian-based company Green Invest and its subsidiary in BiH, BUK d.o.o filed defamation lawsuits against two young Bosnian female activists, who have spoken out publicly about the environmental impact of the hydropower plants on the Kasindolska river. Today, 140 organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, numerous European countries and USA sent an open letter to the diplomatic representatives of Belgium and the Head of EU Delegation in BiH.
The German development bank KfW has today confirmed that it has dropped plans to finance the controversial Janjići hydropower plant on the river Bosna in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The plant would entail a 16 m high dam and would flood a picturesque section of the river with a series of rapids upstream from Zenica.
Today biologist Slameršek was awarded the Wolfgang Staab Nature Conservation Prize 2021 for her outstanding commitment to nature of European value. This prize is awarded annually and is endowed with 20,000 Euros – financed by the Wolfgang Staab Nature Conservation Fund of the Schweisfurth Foundation.
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.
Today, February 10th, 20 Albanian environmental organisations submitted a detailed proposal for the creation of the Vjosa National Park to the Minister of Tourism and Environment. 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.
The Austrian Kelag likes to present itself as a modern company with the highest environmental and social standards. However, reality paints a quite different picture: the Kelag is a problematic company in the Balkans. For years, environmental organizations and local residents have been protesting against its hydropower projects and the behavior of its employees, especially in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
++ NGOs submit a complaint to the Bern Convention against Bosnia and Herzegovina for permitting dam-building on the pristine upper Neretva ++ A related complaint was submitted to the Energy Community Secretariat in August for failure to protect the pristine upper stretches of the river Neretva from eight planned hydropower projects. ++
Hydropower plants are one of the main causes for the decline of numerous fish species in the Mediterranean region. This is the result of a new study. In total, 251 endangered freshwater fish species along with their stock situation in rivers in the Mediterranean basin were recorded. The impact of existing and planned hydropower plants on these populations was also evaluated.
++ 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.