Macedonia's largest national park threatened by hydro power plant project

Threatend by the hydro power plant project: The balkan lynx.

© Jörg Pukownik

EuroNatur: The government of Macedonia must stop this project!

Press release from 14 December 2011

Radolfzell.   In middle of the second oldest and largest national park of Macedonia, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) plans to finance the construction of a large hydroelectric dam for power generation. The so called "Boskov Most" project means a serious threat to the Mavrovo National Park. Hence, the international nature heritage fund EuroNatur requests from the EBRD to withdraw the loan promise made to the Macedonian power supplier ELEM for the construction of the hydro power plant in the national park. 

„Large infrastructure projects, such as ‘Boskov Most’ reduces the national park ad absurdum. On the one hand, Macedonia seeks membership in the EU; on the other hand however, they show utter contempt of the European conservation law by approving such projects. The impacts caused by the hydro power plant project are by no means consistent with the fact that this protected area is part of Emerald-Network and also a future part of the Natura 2000 network", says EuroNatur director Gabriel Schwaderer. Backed by six Macedonian NGOs, EuroNatur asks the Macedonian Government to stop this nature-destroying project.

Time is short, as according to ELEM excavation works shall start as soon as April 2012. In November this year, ELEM signed a loan agreement with the EBRD to finance the project, which includes the construction of a dam power plant of up to 70 megawatt in the southern part of the 73.100-hectare national park. The bank has declared to grant a 65m-euro loan to finance the "Boskov Most" project. The dam will be 33 m high.

"EuroNatur has information at hand according to which the environmental impact assessment (EIA) study for the construction of the dam power plant is technically assailable. We do not understand why the EBRD is satisfied with such highly questionable results", says Gabriel Schwaderer. Beside the fact that the dam shall be built in the middle of a nature reserve, there are no reliable studies about the impact of the project on the last known stable population of the Balkan lynx, an endangered subspecies of the Eurasian lynx. The impairment of the population of Balkan lynxes in the Mavrovo National Park could entail the extinction of this subspecies. In EuroNatur's view, until now neither the Macedonian Government nor the EBRD have taken sufficient account of the arguments presented by the coalition of six Macedonian NGOs, which are fighting for the conservation of the Mavrovo National Park.

In any case, the regional population will not profit from the project. In contrast to "Boskov Most", alternative ways of development such as the marketing of local products and the promotion of sustainable nature tourism would create new jobs and add to the yet positive image of the Mavrovo National Park.

For further information please contact:

Konstanzer Straße 22
78315 Radolfzell
Phone: 07732 - 92 72 10
Fax: 07732 - 92 72 22
Press contact: Katharina Grund
Contact: Gabriel Schwaderer

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