Press Release

Residents affected by hydropower plants across Albania protest against Government’s projects

++ Residents require cancellation of HPPs that have been awarded against their will ++

Local communities protesting in front of the Prime Minister Office. (c) Besjana Guri/ EcoAlbania

Tirana, July 6, 2019. Citizens from all over Albania have protested today against hydropower plants on their rivers. Residents of affected areas by HPP projects from north to south of the country came together in a protest in front of the Prime Minister’s office to raise their voice against the wave destruction on the Albanian rivers.

540 hydropower plants are planned to be built in the territory of Albania, a significant part of which in protected areas (around 61) and areas with high natural potential. These plans are often followed by ongoing conflicts and protests from affected communities throughout Albania. They risk losing their homes, farmland, drinking water, irrigation water supplies and landscapes inherited from generations. Despite the great impact on their lives, the most vulnerable communities are not aware of the hydropower plants that are planned in their yards, let alone being consulted.

The communities of Mirdita, Mat, Kukës, Dibra, Tropoja, Kelmendi, Vjosa, Librazhdi, Selenica, NGO-s and the activists asked to the government:

  • Revision of all the signed contracts for HPPs and transparency to the public.
  • Cancellation of all hydropower plants projects, which go against the will of the affected inhabitants, violate the natural integrity of protected areas and those with high natural potential.

This protest launched a series of protests for the protection of the Balkan rivers that will be organized in many Balkan countries on July 6-16. Thousands of people are affected by the tsunami of more than 3,000 dams planned in the Balkans. Many are struggling with continuous protests and are determined to defend their rivers, at all costs. “We give our life, but not our river” is the most common expression of their attitude.


“Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign aims to protect rivers with greatest natural values on the Balkan Peninsula. The campaign is coordinated by international NGOs Riverwatch and EuroNatur in co-operation with partner organizations in the Balkan countries. EcoAlbania is a partner organization in Albania.

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Vjosa, through the lens of 7 photographers

The exhibition “Vjosa – The Wild Pearl of Europe” opens at the National History Museum

Tirana, 13 June 2019. The exhibition “Vjosa – The Wild Pearl of Europe” was opened in the Albanian Historical Museum, with about 50 photographs from Vjosa valley, realized by Albanian and foreign photographers. The exhibition presents the work of 7 photographers who have documented the wonderful landscapes of the Vjosa valley, natural values, community living, biodiversity, threats posed to the last wild river in Europe, and important moments during the battle to keep it free flowing. Art brought by Roland Tasho, Nick St. Oegger, Roland Dorozhani, Robert Hackman, Adrian Guri, Gregor Subic, and Artan Rama offer a complete information picture for the public, giving more attention to the issue of protecting the River Vjosa from dam construction.

During the opening event in Tirana. (c) Nick st. Oegger

“The exhibition comes as one of the forms chosen by us to raise awareness among the public and decision-makers on the importance of preserving this European legacy. Many of the photos were taken during our several years of work in Vjosa, ” said Olsi Nika, head of EcoAlbania organization.

Nick St. Oegger, a photographer from California, said he was captivated by the beauties of Vjosa. “The fact that such a river is still in Europe makes it a unique stream. This has pushed me to photograph the beauties of Vjosa and the communities that live along it”, he said at the opening of the exhibition.

Vjosa is the last wild river in Europe. It flows untouched through the deep gorges, gravels and islands about 270 km from the Pindu mountains on the Adriatic Sea. The Albanian government and Prime Minister Edi Rama have given the green light for the construction of two large hydropower plants: Kalivaçi and Poçemi, which are planned to be built in the most ecologically rich part of the Vjosa River.

The exhibition will be open from June 13 to June 16 at the National History Museum, followed by a tour of exhibitions in several cities of the Vjosa Valley.

The campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” aims to protect rivers with greater natural values on the Balkan Peninsula. The campaign is coordinated by international NGOs Riverwatch and EuroNatur in co-operation with partner organizations in the Balkan countries.

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Vision for Vjosa: Europe’s first Wild River National Park

++ The borders of the park and the planning phase for the announcement of the national park are proposed ++

Tirana, 6 June 2019. In the course of efforts to preserve and promote the Vjosa River, the three partner organizations EcoAlbania, Riverwatch and EuroNatur have unveiled their Vision for Vjosa today. They proposed the creation of the First National Park of the Wild River in Europe, highlighting its rare natural values ​​and the importanceof preserving this unique ecosystem on the continent.


“We intend to create a National Park of Vjosa according to European standards, which includes not only the river’s mainstream but also its branches still untouched by hydropower projects,” said Ulrich Eichelmann from Riverwatch, Austria.


The total area of ​​the proposed Vjosa Park is 111,600 ha. The river bed with its floodplain should be the central area of ​​the next park. From an ecological point of view, the most important parts of the central area are: Tepelenë-Bënçë and Kalivaç-Poçem, as well as the estuary in the Adriatic Sea. 

“The Vjosa river system is of great importance in an European context. Increasingly, scientists from Albania and abroad are interested in exploring the values ​​of this river system and collecting missing data so far on habitats and biodiversity, sediment transport capacity, self-cleaning processes, etc. “Said prof. Aleko Miho, from the Faculty of Natural Sciences.


The planning of the National Park should be realized within 3 years in close cooperation with local communities, national and international experts, central and local institutions, NGOs, etc. While the announcement of the national park is to be concretized in 2023.


Another step would be a bilateral expansion of Vjosa’s WRNP by combining Aoos and Vjosa in a Cross-border Wild River National Park. For this purpose, the existing National Park “Vikos-Aoos” in Greece should be expanded downstream towards the border with Albania.

Read our FACT-SHEET to learn more about possible borders, sizes and how this Wild River National Park could be implemented!

General information:

The “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign aims to protect the most valuable rivers in the Balkans from the tsunami of about 3,000 planned dam projects. The campaign is co-ordinated by NGOs Riverwatch and EuroNatur and is carried out jointly with partner organizations in Balkan countries. The local partner in Albania is EcoAlbania.


Find more information at :  and

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Kalivaç HPP: The company conducts preliminary meetings with reduced information

 ++ Environmental Organizations react on the Kalivaç hydropower project in Vjosa River ++

Tirana, April 8, 2019– The concessionary company of Kalivaç HPP AYEN – ALBsh.a and the consulting company for the drafting of EIA, Abkons, have held 2 meetings with environmental NGOs in Tirana. The purpose of these meetings was to present the Kalivaç hydropower project and the steps the company will undertake to implement this project. In these meetings, the Abkons company sought to conduct and consult on the project’s environmental impacts.

Environmental NGOs during the meeting about the Kalivac HPP project

Participants in these meetings, EcoAlbania, REC, INCA, Ekolëvizja, EuroNatur, EDEN, ACEG, Milieukontakt Albania, Iliria and ResPublica, stated that since the conclusion of the concession contract (08.06.2018). there have been no official information about this project. Even at this meeting dedicated to NGOs, no prior document or study conducted by the company on which they could give their opinions or comments was made available to the participants.

The organizations stated that this could not be considered consultation with the stakeholders and that they participated in this meeting, only to express the interest to follow the EIA study implementation process, which is such an important issue for evaluation of the Kalivaç hydropower project in the Vjosa River.

The consulting company stated that the study of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment has not started and is planned to be implemented for a 4-5 month period. This raises a very serious concern regarding the EIA quality, as the most important document accompanying such a project. From the experience of national and international experts, engaged for more than 3 years with studies in the Vjosa River, it has been shown that more time is needed to get serious data, considering the fact that there is very little scientific data on biodiversity or transport of sediments in Vjosa.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy did not include any of the interest groups in the project consultation before signing the contract for the construction of the power plant, letting aside the inhabitants, NGOs, local government units, etc.

Vjosa is the last wild river in Europe still flowing free. This unique river network is no longer in Europe and as such poses a high potential for the sustainable development of the entire valley through ecotourism and empowerment of the local economy.

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