Success for nature conservation: construction freeze for hydropower projects

++ Parliament imposes historic decision for rivers in Bosnia & Herzegovina ++

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

“Let me flow!” About 350 people blocked a bridge on the Neretvica river on June 1st and prevented the start of construction. 

© Svjetlana Panic
<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

Neretvica: 15 hydropower plants are projected along this pristine river. With the decision in the Federation of BiH all these projects will be checked.

© Amel Emric

Tuesday night, the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina 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 actually legally admissible. With this decision, the Parliament is responding to a long-standing demand by environmentalists and large sections of the population.

Tuesday’s decision is a result of persistent opposition throughout the country against the construction of hydropower plants, many of which are being built illegally, even during the Corona lockdown. Most recently, in the beginning of June, 350 people protested and prevented the start of construction on the Neretvica river, a stream near Sarajevo.

Bosnia & Herzegovina is currently the hotspot for hydropower construction in Europe. Lately, concessions were granted almost on a daily base. Hundreds of hydropower plants have been built or are in the pipeline, resulting in social conflicts and dry river beds through most of the year. This should now be over.

By the decision of the Parliament, rivers like the Una, Šujica, Kruščica, parts of the Neretva are now safe. A total of 15 projects on the Neretvica as well as hundreds of other projects, for which concessions have already been granted, are under review.

This is a huge success especially for the NGOs and many river defenders in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Without their relentless resistance to the many projects, this decision would not have been possible. It is important to know, however, that the moratorium only applies to the Federation of BiH, but not to the second entity of Bosnia, the Republic of Srpska.

“This can be a historic moment for our rivers and nature. However, in the next months we will watch carefully that these ambitious targets won´t be watered down”, says Nina Kreševljaković, legal expert of Aarhus Center in Sarajevo and member of the legal team within the Blue Heart campaign.

"This is a tremendously important step in the right direction and this can serve as a role model for the all Balkan states and even for whole of Europe, since new hydropower developments are a major threat to biodiversity and people”, says Ulrich Eichelmann, coordinator of the Blue Heart campaign at Riverwatch.

"Small hydropower plants are merely a symbolic contribution to electricity production, not only in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but throughout the Balkans and Europe. It is about time to stop promoting this destructive exploitation of rivers. We expect that this decision will send a strong signal," says Gabriel Schwaderer, Executive director of EuroNatur.

Europe’s most intact rivers flow between Slovenia and Albania, but they are threatened by 3,000 planned hydropower projects. Since yesterday’s decision, there is much more hope that the Blue Heart of Europe will continue to beat.

 

Background information:
The campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” aims 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 organisations in the Balkan countries. Find more information at https://balkanrivers.net/

Contact information:

  • Anja Arning, EuroNatur, anja.arning(at)euronatur.org  +49 (0)7732 – 927213
  • Ulrich Eichelmann, Riverwatch, ulrich.eichelmann(at)riverwatch.eu +43 676 6621512
  • Nina Kreševljaković, Aahus Center in BiH, admin(at)aarhus.ba +387 33 66 05 88

How you can help

Donation

Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to a more livable environment.

Newsletter

Twice a month, EuroNatur provides you with the latest campaign and project information about Europe's natural heritage free of charge and at first hand.

News

BREAKING NEWS: Albanian PM Rama reacts – Kalivaç will not be built

In a reaction to the statement of Albanian President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced to the media today that he also is in favor of...

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...

Deadline expired: Protect rivers consistently now

Conservation organizations are demanding a moratorium on the construction of small hydro power plants from the government of the Federation of Bosnia...

Poor breeding season for storks

++ Only a few storks have fledged in Europe’s stork villages ++ Extremes of weather cause problems for the storks ++ Conservation of green wetlands...

At long last: The EU bans lead shot in wetland areas

Good news for Europe’s water birds: hunting in wetlands with toxic lead shot is to be banned. So, every year in the EU about 1.5 million water birds...

Results for winning photos of EuroNatur’s photo competition

Around 3400 pictures of European nature were submitted to the judges this year – and the twelve winning photos are really something to look at.

Activists in Serbia get hands-on in fight against hydropower

In the Stara Planina region, residents from the village of Rakita have joined forces with conservationists to damage the pipes of a hydropower plant...

A first for Croatia: a person appears in court accused of poisoning wild animals

At the beginning of the year there were several cases of wild and domestic animals being poisoned in Croatia. Now a 52-year old has appeared in court,...

Commune of Mals fights for agriculture without pesticides

++ South Tyrolean commune has been campaigning for a pesticide ban for six years ++ Insecticides, herbicides, etc. are putting the living conditions...

Fishes in Mediterranean region endangered due to hydropower boom

++ New study confirms: hydropower plants have a devastating impact on fish populations in rivers around the Mediterranean ++ Numerous species are...

Failure of lead ammunition ban caused by Julia Klöckner's ministry

The Europe-wide ban on hunting with lead ammunition failed to gain approval last week – due to opposition from the Federal Ministry of Food and...

Tackle illegal logging or face court, Commission warns Romanian Government

The European Commission has demanded today that Romanian authorities take immediate action to stop illegal logging of old-growth and primary forests...

More than 122,000 people are demanding the protection of the Romanian virgin forests

++ A petition with more than 122,000 signatures has been handed to two State Secretaries of Romania’s environment minister ++ Demand for comprehensive...

Success for nature conservation: construction freeze for hydropower projects

++ Parliament imposes historic decision for rivers in Bosnia & Herzegovina ++

Triumph for European rivers

The European Water Framework Directive is to be kept in its current form. This has been confirmed by Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for the...

By using our services, you agree that we use cookies. Data protection