Dams-Free Municipalities Initiative – full text

2.9.2020 - PRAGUE / SARAJEVO

"Dams-Free Municipalities"

Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the last European countries that can be proud of its wild and natural rivers. More than a quarter of all endangered European fish species living in running water find their last refuge in our country. Over 120 dams and small hydropower plants are already constructed and in use on the 240 watercourses of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Projects for several hundred others have been suggested; many of them are being prepared in the shadows, excluding the public from participation in the decision making, as required by the international Aarhus Convention. The experience of recent years has shown that for municipalities the losses caused by the construction of HPPs are higher than the profits:

  • Because of the failure to set or enforce a minimal ecological flow, riverbeds can remain dry for weeks or even months after the construction of hydropower plants. Local communities are threatened by a shortage of drinking and service water and fish stocks decline dramatically. These negative impacts may even be exacerbated by global climate change.
  • Dry riverbeds and concrete structures make it impossible to use the economic and job opportunities offered by ecotourism, sports and recreational activities, or organic farming and other forms of sustainable development.
  • While the consequences of the damage are borne by the local community, tax revenues are dissipated in the state budget and profits from the sale of electricity go to companies or individuals who do not live in the places where HPPs are built.

Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina exports a third of its electricity. Our country is more than four times more energy-intensive than the EU average and has the highest energy intensity in the Western Balkans. We effectively export our environment and, for the short-term profit of a few people, we endanger the quality of life of our children and grandchildren. In addition, we all contribute 30 million KM a year to the devastation of rivers and private earnings in the form of a contribution to renewable energy sources, included in our electricity bills.

Our municipality hereby signs the "Dams-Free Municipalities" Declaration:

We are aware of the rights of the inhabitants of our community, including future generations, to a quality environment and sufficient drinking and utility water, and we are ready to defend these rights.

  • We will not approve the placement of any new dam or hydroelectric power plant in the spatial plan of the municipality; in the event that such buildings are already located in the spatial plan and have not yet been built, we will strive to eliminate them.
  • We will not issue any consent, permit, or recommendation for the construction of a dam or hydroelectric power plant on the territory of our municipality without consulting the citizens.
  • In the event of the municipality being asked to issue an opinion on the construction of a dam or a hydroelectric power plant, we will organize a public gathering, public consultation, or other way of ascertaining the public opinion on this topic, and we will respect its result.

Declaration "Dams-Free Municipalities" of __________ 2020





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