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 and Herzegovina. Their construction endangers ecologically important rivers as well as rare and endemic animals.

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

Still flowing freely: Neretvica River in Bosnia and Herzegovina

© Amel Emric
<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

Protest of the "courageous women of Kruščica". They got the EuroNatur Award 2019 for their brave and tireless efforts for their river.

© Jakub Hrab

Leading conservation organizations around the world are urgently calling on the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to turn a breakthrough resolution banning new small hydropower plants into law. The resolution, which holds no legal power yet, was initially passed June 23, but the deadline to implement the resolution and permanently ban new small hydropower plants is Wednesday, Sept. 23. If the government fails to turn the resolution into law in the near future, they will again be putting at grave risk thousands of kilometers of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s wild rivers and the people and wildlife that depend on the waterways.

“This is an opportunity for Bosnia and Herzegovina to set a powerful example and become Europe’s leader in protecting some of the most intact and biodiverse rivers on the continent,” said Barney Long, senior director of species conservation at Global Wildlife Conservation. The rivers between Slovenia and Greece, including those in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are considered the most important hotspot for threatened freshwater biodiversity in Europe. 69 fish species in these rivers live nowhere else in the world.

“Whenever I visit the Balkan rivers, I am overwhelmed by the beauty and its richness,” said Ulrich Eichelmann, CEO of Riverwatch and one of the coordinators of the campaign "Save the Blue Heart of Europe", jointly coordinated by EuroNatur and Riverwatch. “But what strikes me even more, is that people stand up for their rivers." Annette Spangenberg, head of projects at EuroNatur, added: “The rivers of the Balkans are a European treasure, one we cannot afford to lose. We support the local communities in their fight for their rivers and will make sure that their voices will be heard all over Europe.”

The Blue Heart of Europe is exposed to a dam tsunami that does not even stop at protected areas. The projects are driven by local and foreign investors, with diverse financial support, including subsidies for renewables. Some investors use the argument that hydropower can help Bosnia and Herzegovina meet its goal of 40 percent renewable energy (one of the highest targets in Europe) to get the country a step closer to joining the European Union.

Not only do the hydropower dams destroy the rivers and landscape around them, but they also divert and pollute water, and restrict access to clean drinking water for local communities and for use in agricultural practices and other livelihoods. Across the country, local communities, such as those around Neretvica and Kruščica rivers, have been rising up and holding protests, often forming human walls at construction sites to prevent bulldozers from starting the work.

In addition to calling on the government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to formally ban the construction of small hydropower plants, the group of conservation organizations urges the other government entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, to pass a similar law. Here, at the beginning of the year, the National Assembly voted against it, despite significant local community pressure.


Background information:

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 protect rivers in Europe.

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: Blue Heart of Europe

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...

Slovene Government planning to expand hydroelectric power

A series of hydroelectric power stations are planned to be built along the River Save in Slovenia; the government in Ljubljana has granted several...

Nature conservation essential for EU accession

Hydropower, deforestation, biodiversity: The Commission's report on the EU candidate countries sets out clear requirements for nature conservation.

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...

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...

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...

Success for nature conservation: construction freeze for hydropower projects

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

The "Brave Women of Kruščica" must fight again

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the women residents of the village of Kruščica are once again preparing to blockade their river. Investors have announced...

Artists speak up for Balkan Rivers

++ On the occasion of the World Music Day on 21 June 40 artists support the Blue Heart campaign for the protection of Balkan Rivers ++

Expansion of hydropower under protection of curfew

++ Increasing destruction of nature in times of pandemic ++ Investors exploit the corona crisis for illegal construction of hydropower plants ++...

Complaint against Serbia submitted to Energy Community

EuroNatur and three other NGOs submit a complaint to the Energy Community against Serbia’s failure to fully assess the environmental impacts of small...

Albanian and international science community stands up against damming the Vjosa

++ 776 scientists demand in a petition an end to the dam projects on the Vjosa in Albania ++ Scientists demand Albanian government to respect...

Rebuke for Albania: Bern Convention insists on Albanian government to suspend hydropower projects on Vjosa river

The Bern Convention Standing Committee has decided to keep the case against the Albanian government in regards to the projected Pocem and Kalivac...