Mavrovo NP in Macedonia still at risk

 11/09/2017

After successfully preventing the construction of two big dam projects inside Mavrovo National Park – one of Europe’s oldest national parks – its rivers and creeks are still threatened by low performing hydro projects (“small hydro”). Low performing plants are being promoted under the disguise “small is beautiful”, but they are just as devastating to smaller creeks than big plants are to large rivers. And they also require accession roads, transmission lines, pipelines and powerhouses. There is nothing green about them, especially not within the boundaries of a national park. Areas as the ones you can see on the photos below would be destroyed by these projects.

Streams like this would be destroyed by HP projects inside Mavrovo NP © Theresa Schiller Beautiful Mavrovo National Park © Theresa Schiller One of the intake points for HPP Ribnichka is planned in this valley © Theresa Schiller
Powerhouse of HPP Kakachka © Theresa Schiller The creeks' water is diverted through pipes... © Stojan Lešoski ... leaving river beds dry. © Stojan Lešoski

 

Protest activity in Skopje for the protection of the Mavrovo NP © Eko-svestFor this reason, the Blue Heart of Europe local campaign team in Macedonia, Front 21/42 and Eko-svest, supported by painters and nature lovers, organized a protest event in Skopje on October 20th. With a banner that says “Preserve Mavrovo National Park” and also shows the critically endangered Balkan lynx, for which the Mavovo NP is its last stronghold, a letter was publicly handed over to Mr. Zaev, Prime Minister and Mr. Angjushev, Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of the Economic Affairs. The letter demanded from the Macedonian Government to

  • suspend the implementation of all hydropower project on the territory of “Mavrovo” National Park in line with Recommendation No. 184 (2015) by the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention;
  • finalize the procedure for re-proclamation of Mavrovo as National Park category II protected area and adopt a Management plan in line with IUCN Resolution No.26 on “Protected areas and other areas important for biodiversity in relation to environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure development” adopted on the 2016 World Conservation Congress;
  • revise all strategic national documents that foresees hydropower construction (including the National Energy Development Strategy and National RES utilization Action Plan) in order to exclude hydropower construction in protected areas and areas with high hydro-morphological and biodiversity status.
Activists at work © Eko-svest The critically endangered Balkan Lynx, for which the Mavrovo NP represents the last stronghold © Eko-svest
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