People are rising up to protect Europe’s largest wild river—the Vjosa. This waterway runs untamed from source to sea, embracing a mosaic of habitats and cultures that have been tied to it for thousands of years. Vjosa Forever chronicles the ongoing struggle to secure the future of this unique river system, from political uncertainty and opportunistic greed to the hopes of creating a Vjosa National Park (the first of its kind in Europe).
Photo Credit: Andrew Burr
Two major wins for the Blue Heart of Europe
The Brave Women of Kruščica provide a beacon of hope to concerned citizens around the world with their story of solidarity and commitment. To protect their community from the threat of hydropower development, this small group of mothers, grandmothers, daughters and friends stood guard on an access bridge for 500 days and nights. Despite ongoing intimidation, they won their fight when the local courts supported their objections to the construction. And now today, activist and group member Maida Bilal has been honoured with the award of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.
Meanwhile, we move one step closer to safety for Europe’s last big wild river. Local communities in Albania and national and international NGOs have long protested the proposed construction of the Kalivaç dam on the Vjosa river. Thanks to their tireless work, this destructive hydropower project was postponed for 20 years before its contract was cancelled by the Albanian government. But this didn’t stop investors who launched an appeal. Now the Administrative Court of Tirana has dealt the final blow to the Kalivaç dam, throwing this lawsuit out of court.
This is a crucial moment in the fight to protect the Vjosa. However, it remains under threat and under-protected.