About the campaign

The Save the Blue Heart of Europe campaign's declared aim is to preserve the Balkan rivers as a unique piece of Europe's natural heritage and to save the most ecologically valuable rivers and sections of watercourses from destruction! 

Three key areas

The campaign is concentrating on three key areas of particularly high ecological value: the Vjosa in Albania, the Mavrovo National Park in Macedonia and the length of the Sava river in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzogovina and Serbia. All three areas are threatened by major dam construction projects. We want to stop these projects.

We do not wish to completely stop the development of hydropower in the Balkans. However, plans for the development of hydropower must, as a matter of urgency, take account of factors affecting nature conservation. This demands a comprehensive strategy.

© Riverwatch
Montenegro's longest river: the River Tara. © Riverwatch

Campaign goals: 

  • to inform the public of the ecological value of and threat to the Balkan rivers.
  • to stop the projects to build dams in the campaign's three key areas.
  • to instigate the drafting of a master plan. This is intended to highlight rivers and sections of rivers that, in view of their importance for biodiversity conservation and structural variety, should not  be developed under any circumstances.
  • Increase the knowledge about the biodiversity of the Balkan rivers, which play an important role with regard to biological continuity and are particularly rich in species not found anywhere else in the world.

Partners: Riverwatch, the conservation organisations of the relevant countries

Sponsors: Mava Foundation, EuroNatur donors and sponsors

Save the Blue Heart of Europe - official website

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News: Blue Heart of Europe

Study proves: Small power plants, big damage

European-financed small hydropower plants damaging pristine Balkan landscapes

Mavrovo-Nationalpark: Demand for a halt to construction of hydroelectric power plants

Bern Convention: Macedonian government requested to halt construction of hydropower plants in national park

Albanian industrial confederation demands halt of dam plans at Vjosa River

In Albanian society, the opposition against the projected building development of the Vjosa River is receiving further support. In an open letter to...

Hydropower Tsunami on Balkans

New hydropower report: Dam tsunami on Balkans is speeding up ++ 2.800 hydropower projects planned, 187 under construction ++ more than 1.000 of them...

Hands off Vjosa!

“Mos ma prek Vjosën (Hands off Vjosa!)” was the slogan at an atmospheric open air concert held in Tirana, where musicians let everyone hear about the...

Two new animal species discovered in the area of projected dam on Vjosa

++ International research team finds 300 animal species in only one week, including a new fish and stonefly species ++ Sediment transport could grind...

Huchen protesting at Drina Regatta

++ 20,000 people at this year's event on Drina River in Serbia ++ NGO's protested against damming the globally most important Huchen (Danube Salmon)...

Hydropower project Kalivaç revisited

Albanian government re-opens the concession procedure for the Kalivaç HPP++ NGOs prepare their opposition

Dam project stopped for the present

++ Albanian Court stops dam project on the Vjosa ++ Success for nature conservation and affected residents ++


Scientists for Vjosa

++ 25 scientists from Austria, Albania, Germany and Slovenia research Europe’s last wild river for a week ++ Press conference held on river island ++

European Parliament discusses Sava River

++ Opportunities for and threats to one of the most valuable rivers of Europe ++ Unique potential for natural flood control identified

Albania: European Parliament demands national park for Vjosa and stop to hydropower projects

In the current Enlargement Report of the European Parliament, the Parliament explicitly criticizes the Albanian government in regards to its...

“White Book Sava” presented

On the occasion of this year’s World Wetland Day on February 2, the environmental organisations Riverwatch and EuroNatur today present the “”White...

New Hope for Balkan Rivers

Funding for the two large hydropower projects in Mavrovo National Park, Macedonia, has been axed. After the World Bank withdrew from financing the...

Scientists call environmental assessment for Vjosa hydropower project a farce

Renowned scientists from Austria and Germany have analysed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the hydropower project Poçem on the Vjosa...

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