The Western Balkan countries are unique, with an enormous number of pristine rivers providing habitats for rare and endemic plants and animals. These jewels of nature are threatened by an uncontrolled boom of hydropower plants – over 300 dams are planned on 244 rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina alone and about 2,700 dams are planned in the whole region. The construction causes irreversible damage to the natural environment and violates the rights of local communities, for example by causing a significant reduction of the drinking water resources. The conference aims to discuss legal and practical tools for the protection of the rivers, brings in international experience and seeks synergies in the protection of the rivers of the Western Balkans and the people dependent on them.
Date: November 27 - November 29
Conference venue: Hotel Grand Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The conference will be held in English and Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian (simultaneous interpretation provided)
If you wish to attend please register here by November 18th.
Wednesday | November 27
Registration (9:00 - 9:30)
Welcome words (9:30 - 10:00)
- His Excellency Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina RNDr. Jakub Skalník
- Director of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation in Sarajevo Marion Kraske
Morning session I (9:30 - 12:00): River protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western
Balkans – introduction to the problem
Opening of the conference and presentations of the official representatives of the Ministries of the Environment and for Water Management of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Miloš Orlić from the Coalition for the Protection of Rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina and and Zoran Mateljak from WWF Adria will introduce you to the plans for hydropower plant construction on the rivers of the Western Balkans, its impact and cases of resistance by local people.
Morning session II (12:00- 14:30): Legislation to protect the rivers
Irma Popović Dujmović (WWF Adria): Systematic approach to conservation of Western Balkans rivers
Ratko Pilipović (Center for Environment): Proposal of the environmental NGOs for an ecologically acceptable flow in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Zuzana Vachunova (Arnika): Ecologically acceptable flow in the selected EU countries – presentation of a study
Panel discussion: Ecologically acceptable flow and obstacles to its implementation in BiH
Representatives of civic society and environmental NGOs, representatives of the Ministry of the Environment and of Water Management of BiH, representatives of the water inspectorate of BiH, representatives of water agencies.
Lunch (14:30 - 15:30)
Afternoon session (15:30 - 17:00): International experience
RNDr. Josef Fuksa, CSc. (T. G. Masaryk Water Research Institute): Monitoring and information tools used to protect the quantity and quality of waters in the Czech Republic
Martin Skalsky (Arnika): Access to information on constructions on rivers in Europe – presentation of a new study and of an online information tool
Joint dinner and welcome drink (18:00 - 21:00)
Thursday | November 28
Morning session (9:00 - 12:00): Tools for nature protection
Vlastimil Karlik (Arnika): What is Natura 2000 good for?
Representatives of Center for Environment and of the Institute for Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Republika Srpska: Proclamation of the springs of the river Sana as a natural monument – case study.
Panel discussion: Implementation of a nature protection law and of an ecological network in Bosnia and Herzegovina: current situation and obstacles
Representatives of the Institute for Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Republika Srpska, representatives of Ministry of the Environment of BiH, representatives of civic society and environmental NGOs.
The Sarajevo Declaration (12:00 - 13:30)
Discussion on the proposal for a joint declaration and its adoption
Lunch (13:00 - 14:30)
Afternoon session (14:30 - 19:00): Workshops for representatives of civic society
- Workshop I: Current trends in financing the Western Balkan hydropower boom
Pippa Gallop (CEE Bankwatch)
- Workshop II: Natura 2000 as a tool for nature protection: how civic society can enforce the establishment of Natura 2000
Vlastík Karlík (Arnika, Czech Republic)
Dinner (19:00 - 20:00)
As a part of the evening programme a showing of the film Undamaged will take place on the premises of the hotel.
Friday | November 29
Regional experience (9:00 - 18:00)
The last day of the conference will be dedicated to the sharing of experience between activists and representatives of the local communities from the Western Balkan area and other international actors in the region.
- Vlastik Karlik (Czech republic): Collaboration of the academic and public sectors with NGOs through examples from the Czech Republic
- Milija Čabarkapa (Montenegro): State of the rivers in Montenegro and CSOs actions to protect them
- Arijanit Xhaferi (North Macedonia): Hydro power in North Macedonia and communities affected by the construction of hydro power plants
- Evgenija Krstevska (North Macedonia): Why should North Macedonia implement water as a basic human right in the Constitution and centralize the water governance in one body?
- Ena Bavčić (Civil Rights Defenders, Bosnia and Herzegovina) Persecution of environmental activits
and others TBC...