Financing for hydropower in protected areas in Southeast Europe: 2018 update

The study finds that the number of hydropower projects in the region that enjoy financial support from multilateral development banks and commercial banks, is even greater than previously known.

Since 2005, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the World Bank Group have extended loans and guarantees totalling EUR 727 million to no fewer than 82 hydropower plants. This includes 37 projects in protected areas like national parks and Natura 2000 sites, or internationally recognised areas of high biodiversity value such as Important Bird Areas.

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Vjosa Fact Sheet 2

Vjosa _Credit_Bledi Hoxha_0

The Vjosa River in Albania is one of Europe’s last living wild rivers. Along its entire course of over 270 kilometers it is untamed and free flowing and characterized by beautiful canyons, braided river sections, islands, oxbows and meandering stretches. In some areas the riverbed expands over more than 2 km in width. What makes this river really outstanding internationally is the fact, that almost all its tributaries are free flowing and intact as well, creating a living rivers network that is without par in Europe. However, very little is known about its biodiversity or crucial physical processes such as sediment transport or groundwater systems. We might know more about rivers in the Amazon than about the Vjosa catchment.

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Huchen-Study 2015

Huchen_Study_2015_RAPORTThe Huchen or Danube Salmon is one of the most enigmatic species of Europe’s freshwater fauna. It is a sensitive indicator species for some of the most ecologically valuable rivers in the Danube drainage. Historically, the species was wide-spread across the entire Danube basin. Since the late 19th century, however, Huchen populations declined by two thirds and the remaining populations are now highly endangered by hydropower development. But knowledge on the distribution of the Huchen on the Balkan Peninsula has been incomplete. In this study, we review the actual occurrence of Huchen in the Balkan region. A total of 1842 river km supporting self-sustaining populations of Huchen in the Balkan region have been identified, making the region the global hot spot for the species. These populations are found in 43 rivers or distinct river reaches in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro. About 65% of all Huchen rivers globally are located in these countries, highlighting the importance of Balkan Rivers for the survival of the species.

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GEO Biodiversity Day_2014_Vjosa River

GEO BD DAY Raport_ON (AL)Approximately 70 participants were engaged in three days of field camp: biodiversity experts, student volunteers, journalists, celebrities and mayors of municipalities within the Vjosa basin (Tepelena, Qesarati, Memaliaj). The activities was captured by a professional photographic team in order to record the scientific activities and findings. Of the more than 400 species identified, ten percent are classified as threatened, rare or endemic, many of which are protected by international conventions according to IUCN and the Albanian RedList. Key findings included first records of species for both Albania and the Balkan Peninsula:

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