On March 21, 2018, the next meeting of Friends of Vjosa was organized, a tradition where participants come together to talk about the current situation of the river and new ideas in defense of the cause “Vjosa without dams”. As in previous meetings, new friends who want to know more about Vjosa and the problems that rivers in Albania are facing joined.
The conversation was approached by journalists, artists, lawyers, biologists, activists and representatives of environmental organizations as well as nature lovers who united by the wish to see Vjosa, the last wild river in Europe, free from dams and HPPs.
In the meeting were discussed the recent developments on the Vjosa issue. Meanwhile, a special focus was given to the arrival of a group of researchers from BOKU University of Vienna, who in cooperation with the University of Tirana launched the River Sediment Study. From the preliminary data of the study, it is concluded that the dams in Vjosa cause losses in three main directions: for river biodiversity, for the tourist development of the area and for the production of electricity due to the large amount of river sediments.
Meanwhile, awareness of citizens and different communities for Vjosa’ protection is ever greater. Finally the big Patagonia sportswear company has launched its awareness campaign in defense of the “Blue Heart of Europe”.
Among the new ideas that were launched in the frame of further extending the activism for Vjosa protection were:
Involvement of the Vjosa issue in artistic arrangements such as the organizing a paintings exhibition with the river theme.
- Intensification of lobbying and its extension to the group of HPP lobby, through the organization of round tables and meetings with them, in defense of Vjosa.
- Further increase the media coverage of the issue.
- Further strengthening of communication with international institutions such as the International Conventions on Environmental Protection, in which Albania adheres, in the framework of Continuous Reporting on the Vjosa issue with the aim of halting HPPs in this river.
Friends of Vjosa meetings are periodic meetings that will continue to take place over the coming months hoping to expand this network even further. To join the next meeting you can contact: [email protected]