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No new dams, protect the rivers!

No new dams, protect the rivers, said activists from 14 countries (Albania, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Austria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine), and 24 organisations that gathered at the island of Šolta, Croatia, in the Solar Academy educational centre of Zelena akcija – Friends of the Earth Croatia, from 8th to 13th July.

Thirty one environmental activists from 24 organisations from the region and Europe gathered to discuss the hydropower development in the Balkans and Europe, river and biodiversity protection, influence of climate change on the rivers and electricity production from the hydropower.

The CSOs demanded that the plans for new hydropower plants in the protected areas are cancelled. While energy production from hydropower is important element in each country energy mix and transition towards the post-carbon societies, there is underdevelopment of solar and wind projects in the region, lack of policies on energy efficiency and lack of national and regional strategies that are developed in participatory and open manner. The group discussed the recently published position paper of the regional environmental network SEENET on Hydropower and river protection in the Western Balkans and Turkey and exchanged experiences on their advocacy work in the different countries.

We want to continue our good cooperation in the region through SEENET, a regional network of environmental CSOs that work on energy, climate change, transport and natural resources issues from the perspective of environmental protection and sustainability. The network has been operational for seven years now, and here at Šolta we have accepted three new members to the network: Balkani Wildlife Society – Bulgaria, Association for sustainable development – Serbia and Green Art Center – Kosovo. The network supported the demands to protect rivers in Georgia and Albania.

With these new members SEENET now has in total 32 members from all around the South East Europe. In the next year the coordination board of the network will be: CEKOR (Serbia), Center for Environment (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Green Home (Montenegro), EDEN (Albania) and Zelena akcija – Friends of the Earth Croatia (Croatia).

The meeting has been supported by Pro Natura / Friends of the Earth Switzerland.

15.07.2017.