The WWF DASHI project
South-Eastern Europe hosts outstanding biodiversity hotspots. However, a growing number of hydropower developments aiming to deliver “green energy” to countries like Austria or Italy could seriously threaten key freshwater ecosystems, rivers and lakes and entire economies which rely on natural resources. In order to ensure that development happens in harmony with nature and people WWF Mediterranean started the Dinaric Arc Sustainable Hydropower initiative – DASHI.
Spreading over Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia and Kosovo, the Dinaric Arc region is home to natural treasures that make it a truly special biodiversity hotspot in South-Eastern Europe. Still pristine rivers and lakes combine with rich forests and spectacular canyons and a complex network of underground rivers connecting to marshes and wetlands creating the perfect conditions for life to blossom.
The Dinaric Arc, however, is facing an unprecedented hydropower boom. Abundant domestic water resources and an increase in the local demand for energy are combined with troubled economies which see energy export as important revenue.
This has fostered the development of new hydropower projects throughout region.
Outstanding freshwater ecosystems such as Skadar Lake in Montenegro and Albania, Hutovo Blato and Livanjsko Polje in Bosnia & Herzegovina – all Ramsar sites – are threatened.
Through the DASHI project, WWF aims to safeguard these priority areas and to ensure hydropower projects are conceived in a sustainable way. So far, many inadequate environmental assessments have allowed for destructive projects to take place.
From September 2010 till September 2013 WWF will be focusing on providing scientific arguments, mobilising civil society and fostering dialogue with all the sectors involved, from finance to dam builders.
Till now, in the framework of DASHI the construction of four destructive dams on the Moraca River in Montenegro, one of the few free-flowing rivers in Europe, has been put on hold. WWF has also established a positive dialogue with the energy sector in Bosnia & Herzegovina to ensure the preservation of Hutovo Blato.
Contact : Chantal Menard, [email protected]