6 items tagged "Serbia"

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Run-of-river hydropower: Two years on, the struggle continues

Category: News from the Ground
Created on Thursday, 18 July 2019 18:22

More than two years on, the public and citizens across the Balkans fighting for the right to water and against run-of-river small hydropower plants are not giving up on their struggle. Protests and actions were organized from July 6 to 16 across the region, with a conference titled “Rakita – the rule of law crushed” to be held in Belgrade tomorrow.

In the village of Rakita on Mt. Stara Planina in Serbia, inspectors banned the investor from proceeding with the construction of the Zvonce run-of-river small hydropower plant (SHPP) and ordered the removal of pipes from the riverbed, but the works continue regardless.

The issue will be addressed in Belgrade tomorrow, at a conference titled “Rakita – the rule of law crushed,” with the media and the public to be informed about the latest developments in Rakita and the illegal resumption of works to lay pipes for the Zvonce mini hydropower plant despite the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s decision ordering the removal of pipes from the Rakitska riverbed.

The lack of reaction from the authorities concerning the failure to implement the effective decision can lead to an escalation of conficts, placing the environment and people in jeopardy, according to the organizers – Civic Initiatives, the Defend Rivers of Mt. Stara Planina movement, and Savski Nasip.

“When we say the rule of law, this should mean a state where laws and regulations are observed and their violation sanctioned. In Rakita, however, the investors building the SHPP are obviously allowed to violate the law with impunity, without any of the authorities lifting a finger to resolve the problem. They are playing the ‘Not it’ game,” Teodora Zahirović of Civic Initiatives told Balkan Green Energy News.

The “problem” may be an insufficient word to describe the environmental disaster that the SHPP’s construction can cause, as stated in reports and analyses of the Defend Rivers of Mt. Stara Planina activists, says Zahirović.

“Meanwhile, the residents of Rakita are forced to defend the remnants of the rule of law with their bodies practically, and the rule of law has not only collapsed, it has been almost completely destroyed. The threats and attacks on the locals who have been bravely and resolutely fighting against the SHPP have lately grown to such extents that the residents say they are afraid to walk through the village alone in the evening. The basic freedom of assembly and right to protest have been drastically violated in Rakita. The rule of law means securing these basic freedoms,” Zahirović says.

Read more on the website of Balkan Green Energy News

Solidarity letter to the Save the rivers demonstration in Belgrade

Category: Press Releases
Created on Sunday, 27 January 2019 21:26

Dear friends from the Balkans,

We see the demonstration today 27 january 2019 in Belgrade as a great step forward for the construction of a continental social movement for water as a common, for the promotion of the human right to water and for the protection of the environment against the selfish interests of some that want to destroy it only for their benefit.

The movement to defend rivers of Stara planina (Odbranimo reke Stare Planine) is for us the same struggle that our members do in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Germany, Ireland… We encourage you to continue and we support the efforts to create a wider organization for the promotion of water as a common, for a more democratic water management and for the human right to water. In that sense the creation of the group Pravo na vodu (Right to Water) makes us full of joy!

Forward in the struggle and all our support!

Protest against mini hydro-power plants in Belgrade: We refuse to give our rivers away

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Sunday, 27 January 2019 17:11

Belgrade, 27.01.2019

Four thousands marched on Sunday, January 27th, in capital city of Serbia under the banner “Ne damo reke” (“We refuse to give our rivers away”). People came from all parts of Serbia to demand immediate moratorium on further construction of derivative mini hydro-power plants (MHP). The largest ecological protest ever held in this country was organised by the grassroots initiative “Odbranimo reke Stare planine” (ORSP), an ever growing community which communicate and coordinate activities through public FB group with more than 80 thousand members.

The vital organisational support came from couple of Belgrade-based organisations engaged in local community struggles as well as initiatives advocating for human right to water such as our initiative “Right to Water”. The number of different civil society organizations engaged in the struggle is on the rise and protest received open support of university professors, journalists and artists. The support also came from abroad – Coalition for the defence of rivers in BIH, European Water Movement, etc. – and that makes this struggle even more important since the derivative mini hydro-power plants destroy rivers throughout the Balkan. On the other hand Serbian Government remains silent, which is the usual tactic they turn to when they are being faced with the question of MHP and energy strategy.

Protecting rivers from dams and hydropower plants projects

Category: Country & City Focus
Created on Saturday, 13 October 2018 23:02

Activists from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, France and Spain participated on 13 October 2018 in a workshop co-organised by the European Water Movement and the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation in Belgrade.

The main objective of this workshop was to think about how to protect the rivers and communities living nearby from dam and hydropower plant projects with high environmental and social impacts.

Workshop Dams

The European Water Movement supports the call for the preservation of the rivers of Stara Planina

Category: Press Releases
Created on Friday, 05 October 2018 17:09

5 October 2018

The European Water Movement supports the call expressed by the group of citizens “Odbranimo reke Stare planine” for the preservation of the rivers of Stara Planina, a mountain in south-eastern Serbia, and other rivers endangered by the derivative type of small hydropower plants.

The European Water Movement includes movements, social organizations, committees, unions from different European countries. They are united to fight against commodification of water and privatization of water and sanitation services, for water as a commons and public and communal management of water and sanitation services, founded on the democratic participation.

The European Water Movement promotes a policy at European level that preserves aquatic ecosystems and water quality, and ensures access to safe drinking water and sanitation for present and future generations. It opposes any infrastructure project (dams, water transfers, etc.) that conflicts with the objectives set out above and will have a negative impact on the climate and the water cycles. The construction of derivative hydropower plants on the rivers of Stara Planina is clearly one such project. Stara Planina is a natural area of great importance in terms of biodiversity and water. These hydropower plants would not only damage rivers and the springs of clean drinkable water but will also threaten the fauna and flora that depend on them. Moreover, they would affect the quality of life of people who live along the mountain rivers.

Letter of Appeal: Save the Rivers of Stara Planina

Category: Press Releases
Created on Friday, 10 August 2018 09:51

The European Water Movement supports the following Letter of Appeal with 36 other NGOs.

Dear Madam/Sir,

We are addressing to you in order to gain attention and better visibility of the acute ecological problems in Serbia, and hopefully to get support from relevant international institutions.

In order to achieve higher production of the electrical energy from renewable resources Serbia has started building small hydroelectric power plants in different natural sites in the country. Unfortunately, the plants projects proved to be threatening the environment, since they do not respect the regulations considering smallest amount of water necessary for aquatic ecosystem sustainability. (A lot of plants are to be built on the streams and rivers with insufficient amount of water that during the summer season turn into brooks). At this very moment, building is performed in the protected zones of the Mountain Stara planina (Mountain Balkan). This mountain is of particular value due to its drinkable water, rich biodiversity, and distinguished beauty.

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