Major blow to Bosnia hydropower project as Germany’s KfW drops financing plans

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.

Rapids at a natural river

The Bosna rapids at Janjici will not be submerged in a dam reservoir. The habitat for Huchen and other species will be preserved.

© Robert Oroz

Sarajevo, Radolfzell. A EUR 30 million loan agreement between KfW and public utility Elektroprivreda Bosne i Hercegovine (EPBIH) was signed in 2014 for the 15.75 MW Janjići plant. 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.

The stretch is highly valued by local people and fishermen and provides habitat to protected species such as otters and at least 15 fish species of European importance, including the endangered Huchen. The hydropower plant would represent the first major barrier that would stop fish migration all the way from the Danube, through the Sava and Bosna rivers up to Sarajevo.

“A year after filing a complaint to the bank, we welcome this decision. We would like to express our gratitude to our friends from other NGOs who helped us in this campaign. The next step is to erase the powerplant from the spatial plan, and Eko Forum has already submitted an initiative to the Cantonal Ministry for Spatial Planning” said Samir Lemeš from the local initiative Eko Forum Zenica.

"This decision is remarkable because KfW is increasingly withdrawing from financing hydropower, which we very much welcome. This also takes into account the fact that hydropower leaves behind enormous damage to nature and the livelihoods of local people", says Annette Spangenberg, Head of Nature Conservation at the German foundation EuroNatur.

“This is a very promising step by Germany´s KfW and wonderful news for the Bosna river and the people who live along it. However, we will remain vigilant to ensure that no other financier backs the project”, said Ulrich Eichelmann from Riverwatch.

“The Janjići hydropower plant is clearly not in line with KfW's standards, as the beautiful rapids and islands of the river Bosna were going to be flooded beneath a 3-km long reservoir. After this decision by KfW, the government must take steps towards the long-term protection of this and many other unique Bosnian rivers”, said Andrey Ralev, Biodiversity Campaigner at CEE Bankwatch Network.

"The river Bosna is the river after which our country is named. It has indescribable value for all of us. It was completely insane that an attempt has been made to destroy it by building the Janjići hydropower plant despite public opposition and contrary to domestic and international environmental laws. I feel deeply about every illegal attack on the environment in BiH, especially this one, because the river Bosna is part of my identity. I am very grateful that KfW decided to act responsibly’, added Emina Veljović, from the Aarhus Center.


Background information:

  • The project information on KfW’s website is available HERE
  • The "Save the Blue Heart of Europe" campaign aims to protect rivers of high natural value in the Balkans, which are threatened by over 3,500 hydropower projects. The campaign is coordinated by the international NGOs Riverwatch and EuroNatur and is implemented jointly with partner organizations in the Balkan countries. The campaign is coordinated by the NGOs Riverwatch and EuroNatur and carried out in conjunction with partner organisations from the Balkan countries. The partner organisation in Bosnia-Herzegovina is made up of the Center for Environment (CZZS) and ACT.
  • The campaign is supported amongst others by the  Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung.

Contact information:

 

 

How you can help

Press Subscription Service

Select on which of your areas of interest you would like to receive our press releases.

Select press subscription service

RSS feeds

You can subscribe to our RSS feeds to receive all the news on the topics of your choice.

Choose your RSS feed here

News

Environmental groups suing the Albanian authorities for the illegal construction of the Vlora Airport

Environmental groups challenge the contract for the construction of Vlora International Airport as null due to the irregularities and the violation of…

Polish expansion plans could finish the Oder off

++ Government in Warsaw plans to narrow and deepen the German-Polish border river ++ Nature conservation organisations file complaint with EU ++…

EuroNatur Award 2022: A signal of support for primary forest conservation and a show of solidarity with Ukraine

++ Forest conservationists receive the EuroNatur Award 2022 ++ Europe's last primary forests under massive pressure ++ War against Ukraine hampers…

Rejection of hydropower plants in the National Park - North Macedonia revokes concessions

++ A milestone that puts wind into the sails of NGOs’ fight for free-flowing rivers ++ A vital first step to continue the protection of rivers in all…

EuroNatur Award focuses attention on destruction of forests and war in Ukraine

++ Forest conservationists receive the 2022 EuroNatur Award ++ War against Ukraine and its consequences hamper the work of conservationists and…

Last vultures released into the wild in Bulgaria

++ Two female Cinereous Vultures have been released into the wild in Bulgaria ++ Seven-year project has been completed successfully ++ 3rd September…

Environmental Organisations Present Key Requirements for an Oder River Action Programme

Turn the Oder disaster into an opportunity for ecological revitalisation

Oder catastrophe: Completely clarify causes and ensure restoration of the Oder

The environmental disaster in the Oder River is man-made, that much is certain. Decisive steps are needed now.

High risks for hydropower investments in the Balkans

Greenfield large hydropower investments across southeast Europe (1) face major risks and low realisation rates, according to a new report by CEE…

Award for forest conservationists from Germany and Ukraine

++ EuroNatur Award 2022 goes to Antje Grothus, Fedir Hamor and the Free Svydovets organisation ++ Europe's last virgin forests are under enormous…

Albanian Government signs commitment to establish a Vjosa Wild River National Park

++ Albania takes an important step towards protecting the Vjosa River as government signs commitment to collaborate on Europe’s first Wild River…

EU recovery plans – a threat to nature

++ The Recovery and Resilience Facility (EUR 672.5 billion) – claimed by the European Commission to be the main driver for Europe’s ‘green recovery’ -…

Bird conservationists campaign for a safe Adriatic Flyway

++ Bird migration is in full swing ++ Every year, thousands of migratory birds are killed illegally in the Balkans ++ 4th Adriatic Flyway Conference…

World Water Day 2022 - Groundwater: The Liver of our Rivers

The theme of this year’s World Water Day is “making the invisible visible” with a special emphasis on the importance of groundwater.

Bird Flu at Lake Prespa, Greece

The H5N1 avian influenza, or ‘bird flu’, virus has been particularly rampant this winter. The death of thousands of cranes in the Hula Valley in…