No new small hydropower plants without citizens' consent: Centar Sarajevo is the tenth signatory of Dams-free municipalities

22.6.2021 - SARAJEVO / PRAGUE
The mayor of Centar Sarajevo Srđan Mandić with the project team.
PHOTO: Arnika

Today, the municipality Centar Sarajevo joined the 'Dams-free municipalities' initiative (1). By joining the initiative, the municipality commits not to issue any consent, permit or recommendatory statement for the construction of any new small hydropower plant on their territory without consulting the citizens. Centar Sarajevo is the tenth municipality to take a step towards the public being heard in decision-making processes about constructions of small hydropower plants.

The declaration 'Municipalities without Dams' was signed by the mayor of the municipality Centar Sarajevo, Srđan Mandić. “On our territory, we do not have any hydropower plant and we do not plan to build or support the construction of any. I am aware of serious negative environmental and social impacts of hydropower plants. Recent cases, for example the conflict between the investor and the local communities around the Neretvica river, confirm that such projects are not in favour of the people, and thus we cannot support them,” Mandić said. 

Saudin Merdan, biologist, member of the Coalition for the Protection of Rivers and president of the Center dr. Stjepan Bolkay Society, appreciated such a move: “We are glad that the Municipality Centar Sarajevo, by signing the Declaration 'Municipalities without Dams' today, has stated that it will not support the construction of small hydropower plants in the municipality. It is the tenth signatory of the Declaration and we really hope that this number will continue growing as the awareness of citizens and local governments about the harmfulness of these projects increases,” Merdan explained.

Municipalities that have joined the 'Dams-free municipalities' initiative so far are Sokolac, Istočno Novo Sarajevo, Istočni Stari Grad, Istočna Ilidža, Trnovo, Pale, Ljubuški, Bihac, Novi Travnik and Sarajevo Centar.

“In addition to not approving a construction of any new small hydropower plant without consulting the citizens and respecting their opinion, the municipality also promises not to approve the placement of any new plant in the spatial plan,” added Zuzana Vachunova from Czech non-governmental organization Arnika.


Notes:

(1) Dams-free municipalities is a joint initiative of ecological NGOs and municipalities, initiated by the Coalition for the Protection of Rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its goal is to prevent the losses and damage to the local communities caused by the construction of SHPPs, such as dry riverbeds and concrete structures that 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.

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