Press Release

Albanian and international science community stands up against damming the Vjosa river

++ One of the largest science petitions in global freshwater ecology calls to stop Vjosa dam projects in Albania ++ Scientists demand Albanian government to respect scientific standards in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Kalivaç hydropower project ++

A remarkable press conference was held by the national and international scientists that supported by 776 scientists from all over the world appealed to the Albanian Government to stop save the Vjosa river and stop the hydropower dams. (c) S. Kruja

Tirana, 15.2.2020 In a remarkable press conference in Tirana on February 15th, Albanian scientists, supported by colleagues from Austria and Germany, raised their voices for the Vjosa and especially against the ongoing process in regards to the Kalivaç dam project.

Their position is backed by an enormous support from the scientific community: 776 scientists from 46 countries signed a petitionto stop the dam process on the Vjosa river and to follow international standards in this matter. Amongst them, some of the most renowned scientists of the world. This is one of the largest science petitions in freshwater ecology globally. Remarkably, the petition was also signed by 129 experts from Albania, which has never happened before in modern history of the country.

The petition is addressed to the Albanian government, namely Prime Minister Edi Rama, Minister of Tourism and Environment Blendi Klosi and Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku. The signees warn about the risks and consequences of the hydropower dam projects on the Vjosa such as loss of ecological uniqueness, water quality deterioration, groundwater deterioration, hazards of seismic activities, coastal erosion etc. However, neither the Prime Minister nor the Ministry of Tourism and Environment were willing to receive the petition. Instead, and on behalf of the Albanian people, President Ilir Meta accepted the petition and welcomed a science delegation on Friday, February 14th. He underlined his support to protect the last wild river in Europe. In addition, the petition was handed to the Head of Parliament, Vice Minister of Infrastructure and Energy and the ombudsman in Tirana.

The delegation of the scientific community: Prof. Ferdinand Bego, Prof. Aleko Miho dhe Prof. Fritz Schiemer, during the petition handover to the President of Albania, Ilir Meta (c) Official photos of the Presidency

The concern of the scientists proves to be more valid than ever. Recently, the summary of the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for the Kalivaç hydropower project was presented to the public in Memaliaj. Its poor quality indicates that scientific standards and evidence have not been met: time period for the entire assessment was way too short (just months instead of 2-3 years), no transboundary impact was evaluated, important data is missing. “The whole process, I am afraid, is fake. For years, Albanian scientists together with our colleagues from other countries have offered support in the Vjosa case, but the Albanian politicians have persistently ignored us. However, we continue to speak up not only for the Vjosa, but also for respecting scientific standards in Albania, for the benefit of our people and nature”, says Prof. Aleko Miho from Tirana University.

Prof. Ferdinand Bego from Tirana University adds: “The Vjosa, the only wild river left to us as created by nature, is a river we owe to our future generations. It is the only salvation for us and our future generations, who will live in this country to correct our mistakes and recover wild river life even for other rivers in the country. No environmental analysis, much less the one presented by the EIA in question, may stand or be justified in the face of such a national emergency.”

Prof. Fritz Schiemer, University of Vienna:Today, the Vjosa is more than a beautiful river in Albania: she is famous in the scientific community all over Europe and even on a global scale. Unfortunately, we have evidence that the Kalivaç EIA is more a caricature of an EIA than an actual serious EIA. Our own assessments prove the enormous value of the Vjosa system. However, further detailed studies for at least 2-3 years are required as a basis for a valid EIA. Apparent risks and hazards of damaging nature, people and economy of the country remain to be addressed”.

In addition, Dr. Klodian Skrame from the Polytechnical University Tirana emphasized a very up to date issue, the seismic risks: “Building a dam in the Vjosa basin is wrong, because the area is one of the most active seismic areas in Albania. The area from Kalivaç to Poçem is bordered by an active fault on the Southern part. Its effects on the present landslides and on hydropower constructions need to be widely define. Dams with large reservoirs would increase the risks for people that live downstream the dam.”  

All scientists confirm that they are willing to support the government, if the government should decide to start a proper process respecting modern scientific and legal requirements. Therefore, the experts are once again calling on the responsible authorities to start an honest process and to stop this misleading, fake procedure in regards to the Kalivaç project. “The Vjosa is of tremendous value for Albania and all of Europe and therefore we will not give up in this matter”, all scientists conclude.


The entire freshwater science community in Albania and internationally stand united for the protection of the Vjosa river. From a scientific standpoint, keeping this last pristine river system intact is key for the future of riverine ecosystems © Nick St. Oegger

Background information

  • DOWNLOAD the Petition of Scientists for the Vjosa River and the Statements of prominent petition supporters
  • The scientific arguments against damming the Vjosa are manifold. In short videos, they warn of the many aspects of concern, including erosion of the coastline, loss of biodiversity, threat of dam break due to earthquake-prone area, loss of economic income and many more.
  • The Vjosa river in Albania is one of the last intact natural rivers in Europe outside Russia. While the Albanian government wants to build dams in the river – starting with the Kalivaç dam – the alternative vision is to establish Europe´s first Wild River National Park. Scientists from Albania, Austria, Germany, France have been researching the Vjosa over the last 4 years. They published some results: Vjosa biological assessment,  Vjosa sediment assessment. Furthermore, they held an International Wild Rivers Science Symposium and Wild Rivers Night in Tirana in October 2019. The outcome of this meeting was a declaration, in which the participating scientists call upon European Institutions, political leaders in South-East Europe and the Albanian Government specifically to protect the remaining intact rivers in Europe. This is by no means the first time the scientific community advocates for the protection of the Vjosa. In 2016, the scientists called for a moratorium on dam construction in a joint memorandum signed by 228 scientists from 33 countries and also criticized the EIA of the Poçem dam project. In 2017, they held a press conference on an gravel island in the middle of the river as part of their Vjosa research week.
  • This is a joint press release by EcoAlbania, EuroNatur and Riverwatch
  • 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. The local Partner in Albania is EcoAlbnia. Find more information at
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Part time job as project coordinator at EcoAlbania

EcoAlbania wants to hire a part-time project coordinator 

Project: Solar in Kutë

General Scope

The Vjosa River is of pan-European or even global importance. Along its 270km flow it represents one of the last intact large river systems in Europe, flowing from the Pindus Mountains in Greece to the Adriatic Sea without artificial obstacles. It hosts all different types of ecosystems: from the narrow gorges in the upper part to the wide braided river sections in the middle part to the near natural delta. The Vjosa River is draining a total area of 6,700 km² in Albania and Greece and discharges an average of 204 m³/s into the Adriatic Sea.

It is precisely the uniqueness of this river that has gain the attention of the international community outside the Albania also thanks to the Campaign run by several NGOs, called “Save the Blue Heart of Europe”. For more than 5 years the coalition of NGOs lead by EuroNatur and Riverwatch, has continued its battle for preserving the most valuable river stretches along the Balkan Peninsula that are threatened by the hydropower project.

The Vjosa River has been one of the most important River to protect in all these years. Giving voice to affected local communities and supporting them in their anti – hydropower battle has been so far an successful strategy used within the frame of the campaign.

There have been 2 major threats identified and opposed in the Vjosa; The Kalivaç and Poçem hydropower plants. The latest, if would have been built, would put at risk the livelihood of more than 4.000 people by permanently flooding their arable lands on both sides of the river.

The most affected community would have been the people of the village Kutë. However they’ve been able to file a lawsuit together with the NGOs coalition of the “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign, against the Poçem hydropower. Through the litigation process the Court decided to cancel the concessionary contract and to suspend the construction. This way the Kutë people are known as the village of resistance on anti-hydropower. Thus they have been part of the “Blue Heart” movie produced by Patagonia in 2018.

Another important way is to bring at the decision-makers tables the alternatives to hydropower, by trying to concretize the good practices. Under the motto that “Solar is the future” it is aimed to have more community based of rooftop PVs installed in Albania.

Having considered the above EcoAlbania, in cooperation with Patagonia, EuroNatur and Riverwatch is going to implement the “Solar in Kutë” campaign.


Project description:

“Solar in Kutë” campaign is a campaign that aims to install the first community based rooftops PV in Albania.  EcoAlbania has already prepared the project’s prefeasibility study and within the second half of 2020 aims to have implement the project.

The project includes the installation of the PV panels on the rooftops of the public buildings in the Kutë village (school, health care building, culture building etc.).

The electricity that will be produced through the installation of these panels will be used to reduce the public service electricity bill, such as heating for the school classes, pumping of the drinkable water for the community etc.

The project is foreseen to start by early November 20019 and will end up with the installation of the PVs, which is foreseen to be finalized by end of April 2020.

The detailed project will be shared to the awarded project coordinator after hiring.

Skills Requirements:

–  Degree on Environmental sciences or alternatively on renewable energy sources

–  Good knowledge on PVs in particular

–  Good written, spoken and understanding in English language

–  Experience in fundraising and campaigning

–  Good skills on team working

–  Good skills on computer software (Microsoft Office, G.I.S

–  Good skills on social media management (Preferably; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) 


  1. Initiating and coordination of the fundraising Campaign to support the “Solar in Kutë” project
  2. Management of the online fundraising campaign through the social media
  3. Coordination of the project implementation with the identified PV company. Coordinate the installation work of the rooftops PV in Kutë
  4. Promote the Project to the wider public through EcoAlbania, Patagonia, EuroNatur and Riverwatch social media channels
  5. Keep the constant/regular communication amongst all project partners via virtual communication platforms (i.e. Skype, Zoom, e-mail, etc.).
  6. Report regularly about the project progress to EcoAlbania and other partners.


  • The Coordinator should be available to work part-time (50%) at EcoAlbania’s office (Tirana) on daily basis
  • The Coordinator should be available to travel outside Tirana if necessary

Payment details:

  • Payment should be made on monthly basis via bank transfer
  • EcoAlbania is committed to pay all the taxes and insurance to the relevant national authorities
  • The gross monthly salary foreseen is the equivalent in ALL of 350 €

All the interested can apply at: [email protected] by sending the following documents:

  • University Degree
  • A certificate that proves the English language knowledge
  • CV
  • Motivation later

Deadline for application:

November 10th, 2019 at 17:00 CET

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Save the Date: International Wild Rivers Science Symposium and Wild Rivers Night

Welcome to the International Wild Rivers Science Symposium

We are pleased to announce that the International Wild Rivers Science Symposium (IWRS 2019) will be held on October 18th, 2019, in Tirana, Albania. 

Save the date!

The IWRS Symposium beings together renowned sciences from Europe, USA, and Japan to present and discuss the status of the world’s last wild rivers and ways to save them.

The IWRS Symposium will take place on:

Date: 18.10.2019

Time: 09.00 – 17.00

Venue: Antigonea Hall, Rogner Hotel, Bulevardi Dëshmorët e Kombit, 1001, Tirana, Albania

Download invitation here: InvitationIWRS

The symposium will conclude with a Wild Rivers Night – an entertaining evening for free-flowing rivers with live music and selected talks by Robert Naiman (USA), Aleko Miho (Albania) and Klement Tockner (Austria).

Date: 18.10.2019

Time: 19:30 – 21:30

Where: Kinema Millenium, Murat Toptani St., 1001, Tirana, Albania

Download invitation here: InvitationWRNight

No registration necessary!

Free Entrance!

More information can be found here:


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An Appeal Letter to Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama: Halt Hydropower Plant development and Save Vjosa River

On World Rivers Day, 150 national and international NGOs call on Edi Rama to halt hydropower plants and protect Vjosa River in Albania

In an open letter to the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, nearly 150 national and international NGOs, are imploring the Albanian government to protect one of Europe’s last free-flowing rivers, the Vjosa. The river is a hotspot for biodiversity and home to many endangered species in Europe. And yet despite admonishments from the European Parliament, and the Bern Convention, there are currently 45 hydropower plants projected in the Albanian Vjosa River catchment alone. Construction of hydropower plants on such a massive scale will surely destroy the unique ecosystem and environment of the Vjosa.

Find the appeal letter here

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