Saving Europe's last free flowing wild river: Vjosa/Aoos
Updated: May 21, 2018
The Vjosa/Aoos River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in Europe. In its 270 km journey from source to sea, it crosses both Greece and Albania with a catchment that covers an area of 3,540 km2. There are currently plans for dozens of Hydropower Schemes (see http://www.balkanrivers.net/en/key-areas/vjosa-river) along its length, including its many tributaries, mainly in Albania. Saving this precious natural resource is key for the preservation of its rich and unique biodiversity and for the livelihoods of the peoples within its catchment. Safeguarding these qualities is therefore a significant matter of concern locally, nationally and for the international community.
Inherit is proud to have been invited by MedINA to join forces with them and with Euronatur, RiverWatch, EcoAlbania, Pindos Perivallontiki, Wetlands International and IUCN ECARO to work with local stakeholders towards the establishment of a transboundary River Park between Greece and Albania to effect greater protection of the River.
The kick-off meeting of the "Saving Europe's last free flowing wild river: Vjosa/Aoos" project took place on the 31st January & 1st of February in Konitsa, Greece. The project is funded by the MAVA Foundation and will involve local partner organisations to undertake on‐site‐protest together with research, activities at national and international levels to raise awareness, influence policy, build capacity of relevant stakeholders, and provide socio‐economic alternatives to dam building in the still free flowing river Vjosa/Aoos. It will promote transboundary cooperation and the establishment of a transboundary protected area.
Inherit's contribution will focus mainly on Greece. The potential reversion of the impacts of the existing dam in the Pighes of Aoos near Metsovo, as well as the prevention of the diversion the Aoos River to Ioannina Lake, will be central to the work that will be conducted. We will examine the Aoos River both as a natural & a cultural resource. We believe, that a threat to the river is a threat to its biodiversity, the cultural values associated with it and a threat to the communities that surround it. Thus, both MedINA and Inherit will identify and collaborate with key stakeholders at local and international level encouraging the stewardship of the catchment area's landscapes and empowering its local communities.