Growing protest: nearly 100,000 against dams in Mavrovo National Park/Macedonia

Photo: Front 21/42Vienna, September 9, 2014. One of Europe‘s oldest national parks shall remain free of new dams. 97,804 people signed a letter of protest against two projected hydropower plants inside the Mavrovo National Park in Macedonia. Today, the petition was handed over to the Macedonian Prime Minister Nicola Gruevski (find the petition here).

However, the message was not only addressed to the Prime Minister, but also to the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Both financial institutions intend to finance the dams.

"It is absolutely unacceptable for these banks to facilitate the destruction of a national park. Not only do they undermine international guidelines for national parks, they also contradict the institutions’ own environmental standards. By financing these projects, they risk extinction of the Balkan Lynx”, says Ulrich Eichelmann, CEO of Riverwatch and coordinator of the “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign. Saving the Mavrovo National Park is part of the campaign.

The Mavrovo National Park is particularly famous for the last occurrence of the Balkan Lynx, a subspecies of the Eurasian Lynx. Only about fifty of these animals are still living on the Balkan Peninsula today, most of them inside the Mavrovo National Park. Experts of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) fear that the construction of the hydropower dams and complementary infrastructure (roads, power lines,...) would lead to the Balkan Lynx’s extinction.


Contact for further inquiry
Ulrich Eichelmann - 0043 676 6621512
Cornelia Wieser – 0043 650 4544784

Further information:

“Blue Heart of Europe” campaign: The projected dams in the Mavrovo National Park constitute only one wave of a true dam tsunami that is putting Balkan Rivers at risk. More than 570 new dams (> 1 MW) are currently projected between Slovenia to Albania. In order to counteract this spate of destruction, EuroNatur’ and ‘RiverWatch’' have launched the “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign in cooperation with local partner in the respective Balkan counties. Find out more here: