The recent decision of the Albanian Court to stop dam project on the Vjosa River significantly increase chance of Albania to join the European Wilderness Network, said Max A E Rossberg Chairman European Wilderness Society immediately after this News was released.

The media communicate this achievement as: Big win for the protection of Europe’s last big wild river! On May 7th afternoon, the judges of the Albanian Administrative Court in Tirana announced their decision against the construction of the projected hydropower plant Poçem: for the time being, the dam must not be constructed. According to the Court ruling, the basis of the construction licence, namely the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as well as the public consultation process, was highly deficient.

This achievement was presented by the media as significant success for nature conservation and affected residents.

The Vjosa ist the last big wild river in Europe, outside Russia. The Albanian government commissioned a Turkish company with the construction of a large dam. The conservation organization EcoAlbania. Riverwatch and EuroNatur, together with 38 affected residents, filed a lawsuit against this project. Vladimir Meçi, attorney of the plaintiffs: „This is an important step for the protection of the Vjosa and a promising day for the rule of law in our country. It means that affected residents and NGOs can actually expect that their concerns are being heard and genuinely examined in Albanian courts.”

Albania has a great potential the share their Wilderness heritage with a Europe through the European Wilderness Network. This country still owns a several Wilderness which are already in the scope of the European Wilderness Society! Vjosa River is on the top of this list. We believe that this river can become very first Balkan WILDRiver in the network, said Vlado Vancura Deputy Chairman European Wilderness Society.

More can be read here

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Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

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