Over 120,000 people ask development banks to save the blue heart of Europe by not investing in hydropower plants in the Balkans

London, Prague, Radolfzell, Vienna, 21 June 2018 – Yesterday, representatives of the Save Europe’s Blue Heart campaign delivered a petition signed by more than 120,000 people to senior executives at the headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), in London.

The petition, which was opened for signature in April 2018, calls on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) to halt their investments in hydropower plants. Balkans before the last wild rivers in Europe are irreversibly destroyed. Together, these institutions have financed at least 82 hydropower plants across the Balkans – of which 37 are located in protected areas – with a total investment of 724 million euros.

The campaign calls on banks to immediately stop financing projects located in protected areas and other precious rivers, to apply stricter nature protection conditions to loans in this sector. It also calls on them to increase funding for energy efficiency and other renewable energy sources, mainly solar – a potential that remains largely untapped in the region.

The Save the Blue Heart of Europe campaign is an initiative of the non-governmental organizations EuroNatur and Riverwatch, together with the environmental organizations from South-Eastern Europe, Bankwatch and the activist company Patagonia, to protect the pristine rivers of the Balkans from the destruction caused by dams and diversions .

Fidanka McGrath, policy officer at Bankatch, said: “120,000 signatures represent the largest petition the EBRD has ever received on energy issues. We hope the bank will heed the public call to invest in a more diverse mix of renewable resources, while also implementing strict environmental and social safeguards.”

Theresa Schiller, coordinator of the Blue Heart campaign at EuroNatur, said: “International banks like the EBRD must face up to their responsibilities in times of climate change and overexploitation of natural resources. We call on the EBRD to withdraw from the financing of hydropower plants in the Balkan rivers in order to preserve this unique European natural heritage”.

“It’s a waste of money and a twisted moral that some of the world’s biggest financial institutions have embraced this outdated and exploitative technology and are financing dams in some of the last wild places in Europe.” – said Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia.

Ulrich Eichelmann, coordinator of the Blue Heart campaign, CEO of Riverwatch, stated: “It is a shame that the EBRD and other financial institutions are fueling the destruction of Europe’s most valuable rivers, leading to biodiversity loss, social discontent and environmental damage. protected. They should stop investing in the tsunami of dams and act as a model for other investors by investing more in current renewables – like solar – instead of hydro.

Further information

For more information

Fidanka Bacheva-McGrath, CEE Bankwatch Network, EBRD Policy Officer
[email protected],+359 899 876 095

Cornelia Wieser, Coordinator of the Save the Blue Heart of Europe Campaign, Riverwatch
[email protected], +43 650 4544784

Anja Arning, PR, EuroNatur
[email protected], +49 7732 927213

Louise Brierley-Ingham, PR Manager, Patagonia Europe
[email protected], +31 613 344 608