The national and international campaigning for protection of the River Vjosa – one of Europe’s last big free-flowing rivers – put environmental issues on the agenda in the lead up to the parliamentary elections in Albania on 25 April. Prime Minister Edi Rama was re-elected for a third term in office. A partial victory has been reached: the entire length (200 km) of the Vjosa River in Albania has been designated a nature park, but this does not provide sufficient protection from any of the current threats: dams, oil exploration and tourism development.
The campaign for stronger protection continues, calling on the Albanian Government to create Europe’s first Wild River National Park, and to protect the tributaries to the Vjosa as well. A recent study on the flora and fauna of the Vjosa River and the potential impacts of hydropower development shows a high abundance of European eel in the entire sampled stretch of river.
The international campaign Vjosa National Park Now is led by the Save the Blue Heart of Europe coalition, coordinated by Riverwatch and EuroNatur together with partner organisations in the Balkan countries. The local partner in Albania is EcoAlbania.