If Kalivaçi will be built, Vjosa is no longer a National Park

By Ben Andoni / JAVA

A few days ago, in his speech at a round table of investors, Albanian Prime Minister Rama spoke about a ban on greed for investments, hinting that Vjosa, among many others, will be systematized. But, in this syntax, the people of the environment are not clear, whether he will allow the construction in Kalivac or not! If he will allow it, which is likely, this means that the idea of the park is compressed a lot, because only a part remains active, and the Vjosa itself is no longer the last wild river in Europe, which we are proud of…

If Kalivaçi is to be built, as is being implied by the recent moves of the Rama government, only the upper course of the Vjosa should be part of the Vjosa National Park project. This means that the long-term struggle of Riverwatch, Euronature, Albanian partners and the entire civil society comes to nothing. “It seems that the moment has come, to call this time the most important time for the future of Vjosa”, says Ulrich Eichelmann, CEO of Riverwatch, coordinator of the “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign. But, if this is true, that those investments that have reached a certain level will be allowed (Kalivaçi is included), it seems that the government has made a political compromise, wanting to be good with all parties. So the park in the North of Kalivaç and the dam below it. On this occasion, Rama “fulfills” the promise he gave in the March 11 meeting to these authorities, but in the meantime, the investors were also satisfied.

HPP of Kalivaçi. (c) U. Eichelmann

In all these months, the people of the environment seem to have slept a little, blindly believing in the words of the prime minister, but also in the public pronouncements of many political and social personalities. In fact, the signs were given already in the campaign, as it was reported (this is not confirmed) that in Selinica it was said by Rama: that Kalivaçi must be built to escape from floods. In other words: “If the Albanian government allows the construction of the Kalivaç dam, for example, the entire unique entirety of this park will be lost. In this case, we can no longer support the idea of a Vjosa National Park. Otherwise, at least in my eyes, only the upper part of Vjosa is not worth becoming a National Park. And it will be very difficult to explain to the international public that you sacrificed this river and then created a National Park with that segment that remained.

Not only will this not sound good, it could cause quite a big international backlash. Vjosa is now internationally known. was”, says Eichelman, who in these times has been doing field work and has fought internationally with prestigious media, for the Vjosa case. But, while in Selenica it has been said about the construction of the hydropower plant, in Përmet, Rama has promised that Vjosa will be a National Park and that this project is already in the Government’s plans.

You can read the full article published in JAVA here (in Albanian)

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