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. Mit Ihrer Spende leisten Sie einen wirkungsvollen 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

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...

Gesucht: Vogel des Jahres 2021

++ Erstmals wird der Vogel des Jahres von der Bevölkerung gewählt ++ Große Beteiligung bei der Jubiläumsaktion ++ Naturschutzstiftung EuroNatur...

Bedrohtes Inselparadies

Im äußersten Nordosten Korfus, unweit des albanischen Festlands, liegt die Erimitis-Halbinsel. Vom Massentourismus ist sie bisher noch verschont...

Beschwerde an Berner Konvention wegen Staudämmen an der Neretva

++ Naturschutzorganisationen erheben bei der Berner Konvention Beschwerde gegen Bosnien-Herzegowina wegen Bewilligung von Dammbauten an der oberen...

Slowenische Regierung plant Ausbau der Wasserkraft

An der Save in Slowenien soll eine Reihe von Wasserkraftwerken entstehen; die Regierung in Ljubljana hat mehrere Konzessionen vergeben. Naturschützer...

Zeugen illegalen Holzeinschlags in Rumänien

Recherchereise von Thomas Waitz, Europaabgeordneter der Grünen aus Österreich, zusammen mit Agent Green zeigt, dass der illegale Holzeinschlag in...

EuroNatur-Preis 2020 für ausdauernde Pestizidgegner

++ Südtiroler Gemeinde Mals erhält diesjährigen EuroNatur-Preis ++ Überregionale Bekanntheit durch Kampf um Pestizidverbot mitten in der...

Naturschutz für EU-Beitritt unabdingbar

Wasserkraft, Abholzungen, Biodiversität: Bericht der Kommission zu den EU-Beitrittskandidaten formuliert klare Anforderungen für den Naturschutz.

30 Jahre Wiedervereinigung – 31 Jahre Grünes Band

BUND, European Green Belt Association und Deutscher Kulturrat unterstützen Nominierung als UNESCO-Welterbe

Grünes Band Europa: Naturschutz verbindet Nachbarn

++ 30 Jahre Deutsche Wiedervereinigung ++ Naturschutz entlang des ehemaligen Eisernen Vorhangs als zentrales europäisches Friedensprojekt ++

Ohne Pestizide – für eine zukunftsfähige Landwirtschaft

++ EuroNatur-Preis 2020 geht an die Gemeinde Mals in Südtirol ++ Immer wieder werden Pestizidgegnerinnen und -gegner mit Klagen konfrontiert ++...