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Environmental protection associations send open letter to EU "The Vjosa River should be declared a National Park"

  • 3/25/2021 9:02 AM
Environmental protection associations send open letter to EU "The Vjosa River should be declared a National Park"
The Vjosa River

"Vjosa should be declared a National Park ", this request of recent years has given even more fuss to Albania but also the Vjosa River which is being endangered by the construction of hydropower plants.

In June 2018, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy announced the signing of a contract with the "Temporary Merger of the companies 'Ayen Enerji' and 'Fusha Shpk'" for the construction of the Kalivaç HPP in Vjosa. 38 dams are planned to be built along the last wild river in Europe. Associations in environmental protection, environmental experts, as well as environmental activists have raised concerns about Vjosa in recent days. They demand that Vjosa be declared a National Park. Environmentalists in defense of the Vjosa are expected to launch an awareness campaign.

Through a letter sent to the European Parliament, environmental protection associations in Albania request assistance from the EP.

On World Water Day, March 22, several nature conservation organizations submitted a series of photographs to the European Parliament to remind them of what cultural monuments the Vjosa River contains.The German environmental organization EuroNatur said 38 dams were planned to be built in the Vjosa. Contracts have already been signed for two of them, Kalivaç and Poçem, but neither has been built as there is a lawsuit. Earlier, ten winners of the "Right Livehood Award" addressed an open letter to the European Union requesting the declaration of Vjosa National Park.

The Vjosa River in Albania is one of Europe’s last living wild rivers. Along its entire course of over 270 kilometers, 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. However, 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 in Europe.

The main source of the Vjosa River is in Greek territory near the village of Vouvoussa (the ancient name of Vjosa). On its first 80 kilometres the river flows through Greece and is named Aoos. In Albania it turns into Vjosa. The meandering lower part opens up into a valley with extensive wetlands, providing habitats for spawning fish, migratory birds and others. Finally, it drains into the sea just north of the Narta lagoon – one of the biggest and ecologically richest lagoons of Albania and as such designated as Managed Nature Reserve. 

/Klara Ruci/