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.

<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>                river Tara in Montenegro</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

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. The campaign also uses the social media for this purpose. Visit our Facebook and Instagram account!
  • 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

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Save the Blue Heart of Europe - official website

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How you can help


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News: Blue Heart of Europe

Goldman Environmental Prize for the “Brave Women of Kruščica”

++ River defenders from Bosnia and Herzegovina win the Goldman Environmental Prize ++ For the second time in the past three years an activist has has...

Science week at the Vjosa tributaries

++ 35 scientists from Austria, Albania, Italy and Germany assess the two major Vjosa tributaries for a week ++ Data will be used to fight planned...

Plans for Kalivaç dam finally shelved

Great news for the Albanian Vjosa: The Kalivaç dam, which for many years hovered like a sword of Damocles over Europe's last great wild river, will...

EU funds for the destruction of nature?

For years, EuroNatur and its partner organisations have been fighting against the controversial Mokrice hydropower plant on the Sava River. The...

Bird paradise in Albania threatened by construction of an airport

++ An airport is to be built in the Narta Lagoon on the Adriatic ++ A stopover site of major international importance for migratory water birds ++ 8th...

Pressure continues for a Vjosa National Park as new government forms in Albania

The election may be over, but the fight for the Vjosa is not.

Webinar on legal instruments for river protection

In order to accelerate the development of hydropower in Europe, mandatory legal procedures and environmental impact assessment requirements are often...

Even one dam can destroy the river

A recently published study summarises the value of the Vjosa River system as one of the few remaining reference sites for dynamic floodplains in...

Activists demand European political support for a Vjosa National Park in Albania

++ The new slogan, Vjosa National Park Now, is a plea to protect Europe’s last big wild river ++

Albania Faced with a Choice: National Park or Destruction of the Vjosa River

The future of Europe’s largest unspoilt river hangs in the balance

Vjosa: Environmental groups submit proposal for Europe’s first Wild River National Park

++ Because of the Albanian government's inaction, nature conservation organisations are now taking action ++ Vjosa National Park could become a...

No green light for small hydropower in EU Finance Taxonomy

Hydropower is not a sustainable investment. EU Commission should listen to science.

Vjosa: Political game with the future of Europe´s last wild river

++ 94 % of Albanians in favour of establishing Vjosa National Park ++ IUCN confirms the potential of Vjosa River for becoming a National Park ++...

Small hydropower plants in the Balkans soon a thing of the past?

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) announced Nov. 26 that starting in 2021, the government would no longer provide subsidies that support...

Dams on Neretva river: Complaint submitted to Bern Convention

++ NGOs submit a complaint to the Bern Convention against Bosnia and Herzegovina for permitting dam-building on the pristine upper Neretva ++ A...