++12 recommendations to the Albanian Government regarding the plans for the HPP-s constructions on the Vjosa river++
Tirana, 24.10.2018. The Standing Committee of Bern Convention published a draft with 12 recommendations addressed to the Albanian Government regarding the plans for the HPP constructions on the Vjosa river. It recommends to suspend the projects for both Kalivaç and Poçem hydropower plants – as their implementation would pose compliance concerns with the Bern Convention – until the necessary strategic planning and additional assessments are carried out.
The Bern Convention is one of the most important nature conservation conventions for the protection of biodiversity in Europe and Albania is a signatory to this convention. Its recommendations would be mandatory for the Albanian government leading up to the cancellation of the HPPs throughout the Vjosa valley.
“Two years ago we submitted a complaint to the Bern Convention, explaining that the construction of the HPPs in Vjosa, doesn’t go in line with several of its articles. Today, after a continuous commitment, the Bureau of the Convention comes with a report and a series of recommendations that the Albanian government has the obligation to consider. ” said Olsi Nika, representative of EcoAlbania.
Among its recommendations, the Convention urges the Albanian Government to prepare an integrated River Basin Management plan and strategic environmental impact assessment, as well as to undertake a thorough consultation with local people. Furthermore it recommends the government to develop a study of the potential impacts of Poçem and Kalivaç HPP schemes on the sediment regime of the Vjosa River and implications for the environment and repeat the EIA study for the Poçem HPP project.
These recommendations will be discussed by the Standing Committee on the 38th meeting that will be held on 27-30th of November in Strasbourg – giving a chance to the opening of the Vjosa case at the Bern Convention.
Currently, the Albanian government has signed the concession contract for the Kalivaç hydropower plant with the coalition of companies “Fusha Sh.p.k” and “Ayen Enerji”. To the last one was given the concession for construction of the Poçem hydropower project, whose works have been stopped after the decision of the Albanian Administrative Court. Both hydropower plants are planned on the lower reaches of the Vjosa and would destroy a particularly valuable section of the river.