The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) urgently needs to coordinate the drafting of legislative changes at the level of FBiH, cantons and municipalities in order to implement the Conclusion on the ban on construction of small hydropower plants (SHPP) adopted by the House of Representatives on June 23. This is the clear request from the protest held in front of the building of the Government of FBiH in Sarajevo today, organized by the Coalition for the Protection of Rivers in BiH.
“The Conclusion shows a political will of the institutions to take the problem of construction of SHPPs seriously throughout the Federation of BiH, which inevitably includes more extensive legal changes. We hereby remind the Government of FBiH to start fulfilling its obligations in accordance with the Conclusion, because it primarily reflects the demands of FBiH citizens, who for years draw attention to the arrogant and unreasonable destruction of rivers and water sources, our natural resources and wealth that we must protect – pointed out Emina Veljović, executive director of the Aarhus Center in BiH.
The Coalition for the Protection of Rivers in BiH is also asking for the urgent abolition of incentives for small hydropower plants, and they point out that many citizens do not even know how they actually finance the destruction of rivers with their own money.
“With this protest, we wanted to show the authorities that we follow their work, as always. The vote on the Conclusion was a surprise to everyone and I can say that we believed that something concrete would be done about it. Unfortunately, three months later, the Government of FBiH did not meet our expectations. I want to emphasize that all this would not have happened if the people had not rebelled in the last few years and if they had not started fighting to protect their rivers. As we could see today, the activists of the Coalition for the Protection of Rivers in BiH are united and ready to fight for their rivers to the end “, said Dragana Skenderija, coordinator of the Coalition for the Protection of Rivers in BiH.
At the same time as in Sarajevo, protests against the construction of SHPPs are planned on the Ugar River in the municipality of Travnik. However, the locals received a last-minute decision from the Central Bosnia Canton Ministry of the Interior banning this gathering. These protests were organized by the Club of Sport Fishermen Travnik, after the beginning of the works on the construction of SHPP Oštrac on Ugar river, Vlašić mountain. The works started despite the Conclusion of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of FBiH on stopping all activities on the construction of small hydropower plants.
The fight against small hydropower plants is current throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Locals gathered in the Association of Citizens of Bjelava (other entity Republika Srpska), who have been pointing out the destruction of the river Bjelava and its tributaries in Foča for a long time, announced a peaceful protest for tomorrow, 1st of October. The protest, the third in a row since the beginning of this year and since the beginning of works on these Bjelava rivers, will be held before the session of the Municipal Assembly of Foča, where the construction of SHPPs on these rivers will be on the agenda. The municipality of Foča intends to concede municipal land to the investor, with a minimum annual fee of less than 100 BAM, and a protest and accompanying performance, the locals will ask the municipal authorities to suspend all works and stop further destruction of the Bjelava River and its tributaries.