Alliance against Kalivaç dam on the Vjosa is growing

++ Vjosa Research Centre in Tepelena inaugurated ++ Scientists refute Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on Kalivaç hydropower plant ++ Albanian President speaks out in favour of Vjosa National Park ++

<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

Revealing the name of the "Vjosa Research Center Fritz Schiemer” in Tepelena took Prof. Schiemer by complete surprise. The center has been inaugurated today, in presence of the Albanian president Ilir Meta. It will serve scientists to study this last great wild river in Europe and its tributaries. (From left to right: Prof. Aleko Miho, Prof. Fritz Schiemer, Albanian President Ilir Meta, Ulrich Eichelmann)

© Taulant Haxhiasi
<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

The President of the Republic of Albania (in the middle, green shirt) and scientists at the shore of the Vjosa. Together, they raise their voices against the proposed Kalivaç dam and for the Vjosa National Park

© Franc Zhudra

Tirana/Tepelena. Today, the President of Albania, Ilir Meta, together with representatives of the Universities of Tirana and Vienna and the Mayor of Tepelena Tërmet Peçi, inaugurated the Vjosa Research Center at the banks of the river in the small Albanian town of Tepelena. This center will serve scientists and students from Albania and abroad to study this last great wild river in Europe and its tributaries. Great honor was bestowed upon the Viennese Professor Schiemer. Due to his merits for the research and protection of this river, the research center has been named "Vjosa Research Center Fritz Schiemer” at the suggestion of his Albanian colleagues.

Prof. Schiemer from the University of Vienna, who knew nothing about this tribute and only learned about it during the inauguration ceremony, says: "I am deeply touched. This honour, but especially this new center is yet another incentive for me and my colleagues to protect this unique river and to prevent the looming dam projects."

Albanian President speaksout in favor of national park and against the hydropower projects
Following the inauguration of the Vjosa Research Center in Tepelena, the scientists embarked on a boat trip on the Vjosa River. On the shore of the river, President Ilir Meta used the opportunity to promote the idea of a Vjosa National Park, instead of damming the river: "I am in favor of a national park. The electricity can be generated differently, mainly by solar and wind, so there is no need to destroy the Vjosa. However, we need to have more dialogue between the different stakeholders, including the governmental institutions, to discuss the future of this remarkable river.”

"The future of the Vjosa will be decided at the planned Kalivaç dam. If we manage to prevent this hydropower project, the chances of establishing Europe's first Wild River National Park are very high. It is wonderful that the supporters of the national park idea are increasing in numbers," says Ulrich Eichelmann from Riverwatch, who joined the scientists during the events in Albania.

"The Vjosa is a European treasure that we must not lose. Together with our partners we will do everything to make the vision of the Vjosa National Park become reality", said Annette Spangenberg, head of projects at EuroNatur.

Kalivaç EIA is a farce
The day before, on September 24th, a roundtable discussion on the future of the Vjosa was held in Tirana at the invitation of the President. Due to the COVID19 situation, only 30 people could participate; next to Albanian and international scientists, ambassadors of several countries were also present. On behalf of over 50 scientists, Prof. Fritz Schiemer and Prof. Aleko Miho presented their evaluation of the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for the planned Kalivaç hydropower plant – a large dam project with a dam wall of approx. 50 meters in height, that would destroy the Vjosa in one blow. Unbelievably, the authors of the EIA, commissioned by the Turkish-Albanian dam consortium, had hardly collected any in situ data of their own, but instead almost exclusively used data that Albanian and international scientists had collected over the past years, but drew completely contradictory conclusions from it.

The experts' conclusion is clear: "The report is strongly biased and clearly falls short of the minimum scientific and legal requirements for such an examination. The whole ESIA report is highly deficient, profound impacts and measures have been poorly assessed or not taken into account at all. And worst of all, the data we have assessed over the last years, has been misused and incorrect conclusions drawn from it."

"This EIA report is unacceptable. Our Minister for Environment must reject this ESIA and cannot issue the environmental permit on its basis. The Vjosa is of international importance and this EIA is a farce,” says Prof. Aleko Miho of the University of Tirana.

The IUCN also supports the Vjosa National Park
The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) – the global authority on protection of nature, recognizes the international importance of Vjosa River. Andrej Sovinc, representing IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas, reminded the participants at the roundtable in Tirana that the proclamation of the Vjosa National Park would, in addition to protecting the river, provide income for the local communities living along it. “The Vjosa River will never be known for its hydropower potential, but it is already known as one of the last braided rivers in Europe”, he concluded his presentation.


Background information:

  • These events for the protection of the Vjosa were held in light of the upcoming World Rivers Day, on September 27th.
  • Download the scientists Review of the Main Environmental and Social ImpactAssessment (ESIA) for the HPP Kalivaç
  • The Vjosa river in Albania is one of the last intact natural rivers in Europe outside Russia. While the Albanian government wants to build dams on the river – starting with the Kalivaç dam – the alternative vision is to establish Europe’s first Wild River National Park.
  • The campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europeaims to protect the most valuable rivers in the Balkans from a dam tsunami of about 3,000 planned projects. The campaign is coordinated by the NGOs Riverwatch and EuroNatur and carried out together with partner organizations in the Balkan countries. The local Partner in Albania is EcoAlbania.
     

Contact:

  • Anja Arning, EuroNatur, anja.arning(at)euronatur.org, +49 7732 – 927213
  • Cornelia Wieser, Riverwatch, cornelia.wieser(at)riverwatch.eu, +43 650 4544784
  • Besjana Guri, EcoAlbania, b.guri(at)ecoalbania.org, +355 69 2954214

 

 

 

 

 

Mitmachen und dabei sein - werden Sie aktiv:

Spende

Zukunft braucht Natur. Wir setzen uns für sie ein. Bitte nutzen Sie Ihre Möglichkeiten, um zu helfen. Ihre Spende ist ein wirkungsvoller Beitrag für eine lebenswerte Umwelt.

Fördermitgliedschaft

EuroNatur setzt auf langfristig angelegte Naturschutzprojekte statt Schnellschüsse. Mit Ihren regelmäßigen Spendenbeiträgen geben Sie uns die dafür nötige Planungssicherheit.

Aktuelles

Albanien vor der Wahl: Nationalpark oder Zerstörung der Vjosa

Die Zukunft von Europas größtem unberührten Fluss steht auf dem Spiel

Bärenmutter in Montenegro ermordet

In Montenegro haben Wilderer das Muttertier von zwei jungen Braunbären erschossen – ein besonders dramatischer Fall von Wildtierkriminalität im Land,...

Vjosa: Umweltverbände legen Antrag für Europas ersten Wildfluss-Nationalpark vor

++ Wegen Tatenlosigkeit der albanischen Regierung werden nun die Naturschutzorganisationen aktiv ++ Vjosa-Nationalpark könnte 2023 Realität werden ++

Insektenschutz: Bundesregierung muss sich zur Umsetzung ihrer eigenen Beschlüsse bekennen

Gesetzespaket ist dringend notwendiger Schritt für mehr Insektenschutz

 

Wertvolle Moore in Polen durch Bergbaupläne in Gefahr

Das australische Unternehmen Balamara will in der polnischen Region Lubelskie Kohle abbauen. Das ist nicht nur schlecht fürs Klima, sondern bedroht...

Machtwechsel in Montenegro bringt neue Hoffnung für Saline Ulcinj

++ Montenegros neue Regierung will Saline Ulcinj effektiv schützen ++ Am 2. Februar ist Weltfeuchtgebietstag ++ Ramsar-Konvention feiert 50-jährigen...

Kein grünes Licht für Kleinwasserkraft in der EU-Finanztaxonomie

Gemeinsam mit über 130 NGOs und Experten fordert EuroNatur die Europäische Kommission auf, im Kampf gegen die Klimakrise auf die Wissenschaft zu...

Vjosa: Politisches Spiel mit der Zukunft von Europas letztem Wildfluss

++ 94 Prozent der albanischen Bevölkerung für die Errichtung eines Vjosa-Nationalparks ++ IUCN bestätigt das Potential der Vjosa, Nationalpark zu...

Auf Entdeckungsreise in Europas Natur

Internationaler Fotowettbewerb „Naturschätze Europas 2021“ startet

Kleinwasserkraftwerke auf dem Balkan bald passé?

Die Regierung der Föderation von Bosnien und Herzegowina (FBiH) kündigte Ende November an, ab 2021 keine Subventionen mehr für den Bau von...

Kurz vor den Wahlen verkündet Rumänien den Schutz einiger Urwälder

Nach Jahren bürokratischer Mühen stehen manche rumänische Primärwälder – wie das Boia-Mică-Tal im Făgăraș-Gebirge – nun endlich unter Schutz....

Dank Wildnisfonds: Neue Schutzgebiete am Grünen Band

Stiftungen am Grünen Band erwerben mit Mitteln aus dem Wildnisfonds insgesamt knapp 400 Hektar, auf denen nun Wildnis entstehen darf. Die in der...

Wolfspopulation in Westpolen trotz Wachstum noch nicht sicher

Eine jetzt veröffentlichte Langzeitstudie über die Ausbreitung der Wölfe in Westpolen macht deutlich, dass trotz kontinuierlich wachsender Zahlen in...

Salinen-Bagger im Altmetall gelandet

Um Naturschutzmaßnahmen in der Saline Ulcinj durchführen zu können, finanzierte EuroNatur 2004 einen Bagger. Mit ihm sollten Dämme und Deiche in Stand...

Juristischer Sieg für Rumäniens Wälder

Lange haben die rumänische Regierung und das staatliche Forstmanagement Romsilva Informationen über die Waldbestände im Land geheim gehalten, entgegen...