Adventure in Albania: kayaking in one of Europe’s final frontiers

The Article “Adventure in Albania: kayaking in one of Europe’s final frontiers” by the Guardian written by Rachel Dixon is about Albania as a travel destination and about the Save the Blue Heart of Europe campaign. The Article emphasizes next to the highlights of Albania as a travel destiny the impact that the planned hydropower plants will have of the environment, especially the biodiversity. The Vjosa is the last wild river in Europe and therefore needs to become a national park. The government plans to build eight major hydropower plants on the Vjosa, and another 20 or so on its tributaries as part of a massive Balkans hydro project. More than 500 hydropower plants are planned for Albania, among about 3,000 in the wider region. The consequences include loss of habitat and rare species, flooding, coastal erosion and compulsory resettlement.

To read the full Article click here.

The Guardian Adventure in Albania kayaking in one of europes final frontiers

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Tirana Echo: Vice President of EP warns Albania: Don’t destroy Vjosa! Build your power plant somewhere else!

Tirana, Albania | Tirana Echo – Vice President of the European Parliament, Ulrike Lunacek, also a fan of Albanian nature is strongly lobbying against the construction of hydropower in Vjosa river, one of the most beautiful touristic places in Albania.


Vice President of the European Parliament, Ulrike Lunacek: “Don’t destroy Vjosa!” © Tirana Echo

During a meeting with Albanian journalists in Brussels, she highlighted that ‘Vjosa river, is probably the only river in Europe which has still preserved its free flow, being untouched by human’s constructions’.

She added that ‘it is of a high importance for Albania to finally fix infrastructure issues and provide its own people with energy’.

“It is true that Albania needs energy and more development, but that should not be done by destroying nature’, said Lunacek. She suggested Albania to further develop ecotourism which perfectly fits with the nature in this area around  Vjosa river. She stated that she has already expressed her concerns even to the Albanian PM, Edi Rama, but recently the whole energy is focused on politics.

European Vice President, stated that unfortunately no comprehensive survey is done there in order to identify what kind of flora and fauna does this area possess. “It is of a high importance to make environmental assessment before considering any kind of engineering project’, said Lunacek.

Read the original article here.

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Study: Identification of water related conflicts linked to hydro power projects in Albania

study-help-csoThis assessment has been prepared under the EU funded project “Horizontal Enforcement Legislation Promotion of Civil Society Organizations (HELP-CSO), through ACHIEVE Programme, managed by Regional Environmental Centre and implemented by Milieukontakt Albania, Eco Albania and LexFerenda.

The overall objective of the Project is to help environmental civil society organizations for a better implementation and monitoring of horizontal legislation in the country. The main objective of this report is to assess the water-related conflict cases linked with hydropower development in the country. The assessment is based on data gathered using the Environmental Justice Organization, Liabilities and Trade (EJOLT) framework assessment model.

The findings presented here are intended to provide supporting information for the detailed planning of the HELP-CSO project activities such as the interactive conflict map as well as to support the local environmental organizations, local communities, engaged citizens, scientists, farmers and energy companies to improve the management of conflict cases regarding hydro-power projects in the country.
The assessment study mapped 18 certain cases of hydro-power conflicts repor ted in Albania during the period 2012-2016.

Find the study here

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European Union Foreign Affairs Journal: Vjosa River in Albania: Europe’s last wild river – or a future sequence of dams?

pdf ejournalThe European Union Foreign Affairs Journal, is a e-journal published by LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH. Its goal is to increase the awareness about European Union foreign affairs.

The paper is edited by international scientists, journalists and policy makers. It is an important publication for policy makers within the European Union and also abroad.

In issue N° 01-2017 almost 30 pages are dedicated to the Balkan Peninsula. From page 106 the focus lies on the Vjosa River.

The article tells the complete story of the campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europe”, the hydro power plants planned by international investors in protected areas, the situation for the Albanian government as well as the opposition of the European Parliament regarding these constructions.

Find the complete e-journal as PDF here.

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