WWF Adria denounces the court decision to allow hydropower plant construction in Valbona Valley National Park
“Furthermore, since the development decision was based on a poor environmental impact assessment and an inadequate public participation process, we fear that it sets a dangerous precedent that may lead to country-wide destruction of rivers and freshwater resources,” said Petra Remeta, Freshwater Program Manager for WWF Adria.
“The fight will not stop here, we plan to immediately file an appeal. The freshwater resources and biodiversity are simply too important to keep neglecting when development decision are made, and local communities should have a say in what happens in their back yard,” said Catherine Bohne the president of NGO TOKA.
Villagers from Valbona river valley and non-governmental organization TOKA filed a lawsuit at the First Administrative Court of Tirana against the development of two hydropower plants in Valbona Valley National Park on May 16, 2017. The lawsuit was filed against four different governmental institutions, including: the Ministry of Energy, the National Council for Territory, the National Environmental Agency, and the Agency for Development of Territory. The plaintiffs are represented by Kalo & Associates, a renowned Albanian law firm and financially supported by WWF.
The first hearing was held on the 24th of May, and there were a total of 14 hearings held throughout the summer. This lawsuit was a major step in the ongoing campaign of local community and non-governmental organizations to protect Valbona Valley National Park.