Positioning statement of civil society on alternative development of small HPPs sector in harmony with nature

Environmental civil society organizations, expressing their concerns about the problematic situation created as a result of the uncontrolled construction of small HPPs along the Albanian river stretches. This situation is clearly evidenced by all legal, institutional, socio-economic and ecological impacts in the study ” Environmental alternatives of small HPPs in Albania”, an alternative study brought for the first time by the environmental civil society in Albania, as well as the study “Quality of EIA / SEA reports for hydropower projects plants in Albania” which highlights the deficiencies and deviations in relevant legislation on drafting EIA / SEA reports.


In the panel from the right: Mihallaq Qirjo, Executive Director of REC Albania, Valbona Mazreku, Executive Director of Milieukontakt Albania, Emirjeta Adhami, water expert INCA/WWF © B. Guri

Over the last decade the use of water resources for power generation from hydropower plants (especially small ones) has grown rapidly in Albania, like in all countries of the region. Although it is classified as a renewable energy source, an astonishing number of 501 HPPs is expected to adversely affect natural ecosystems and especially those with high sensitivity (Protected Areas and National Parks).

Environmental NGOs support the society’s development on the principles of sustainability, environmental equity and justice. They constantly advocate for strategic planning of hydropower development, based on a comprehensive assessment of social, economic and environmental needs for the construction of hydropower plants, which should take into account other water uses, such as drinkable water, irrigation, and ecosystem services.

At the same time this planning should consider the potential that offer rivers for tourism  and socio-economic development of the unique areas, such as Vjosa River-the Europe’s last remaining free-flowing river. NGOs together with the affected communities are more than ever engaged today, in protecting of Vjosa River and its tributaries natural values as they are of the European importance.


Olsi Nika, Executive Director of EcoAlbania, during the presentation on HPP constructions in Vjosa basin. © B. Guri

To realize the protection and management of pro-environmental and pro-sustainable development criteria, environmental organizations reveals a number of recommendations on strategic and technical level policy, which is expected to establish a fair balance in this sector.

Considering the issue’s high importance, publicly accepted also by the Prime Minister, Mr. Edi Rama, during the Conference of 28 July 2015 “The development of natural resources in harmony with the environment” and especially in the absence of a clear State development framework for this sector,

We demand today the first and immediate measure for a 3-years Moratorium on the construction of Hydropower Plants in the Albanian Rivers.