In a letter to the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, and the EU authorities, the German ecologist, Michael Succow, winner of the alternative Nobel Prize, calls for starting now with the planning of the Vjosa National Park.
Model for the EU
“The Vjosa in Albania is one of the last virgin rivers in Europe with one of the most prominent ecosystems on the continent. In light of the tremendous deterioration of natural habitats and biodiversity in Europe and on the note, the Vjosa is a great gift not only for the inhabitants of Albania, but for all Europeans and beyond “, writes the 79-year-old ecologist, among other things, in his letter.
Professor Succow, who in this letter is supported by other alternative Nobel Prize winners, calls on Albania to start planning the Vjosa National Park along the entire river in Albania as soon as possible, including its tributaries. According to Succow, about 30 new HPP projects along the river pose a threat to the ecosystem.
In his letter to the EU, Succow called on the European Union and member states to support with funds and expertise Albania in its goal to create the First National Park of a virgin river in Europe. “This would be a gigantic achievement for the nature of Europe and could serve as a model for the EU,” Succow wrote.
36 organizations support the initiative
About 36 environmental organizations have addressed the issue to the Albanian government since February, including Hollywood actor Leonardo di Caprio, in a Twitter message. On February 10, about 20 environmental organizations from Albania and Europe submitted to the Minister of Environment in Albania, Blendi Klosi, a plan for the creation of a National Park along the Vjosa River.
The Albanian government had earlier warned that it would turn the Vjosa Valley into a national plan, but according to the environmental protection association EcoAlbania, the Albanian government’s project has excluded areas around the planned hydropower plants from protection.
In addition to hydropower plants, experts see the Vjosa ecosystem as endangered, with the construction of Vlora airport, whose tender has already been awarded to the Swiss-Albanian company Mabetex, former Kosovo Foreign Minister Behgjet Bacolli, and the Turkish company ADA, which is currently building the hospital of Fier.
According to Ecoalbania, 1,175 species of animals and plants currently live along the Vjosa, including 119 species protected under Albanian law and 39 species that are listed in the International Red List of Threatened Species of the International Association for Conservation of Nature IUCN. Experts believe that the number of rare species is much higher, as many areas of the Vjosa and its tributaries are still unexplored./DW