Center for Environment / Bosnia & Herzegovina

Defending rivers of Bosnia & Herzegovina

Nataša Crnković has worked at the Centre for Environment on nature conservation in Bosnia and Herzegovina for twelve years, advocating for more and better-managed protected areas. Over the last few years she has coordinated and supported campaigns to defend rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina from various threats, including hydroelectric power stations.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has some of the most plentiful water resources in the Europe. Many of these resources are biodiversity hot-spots, with numerous endangered and internationally important species.

However, water management in Bosnia and Herzegovina is done on a very small scale and most water bodies are threatened by pollution and illegal embankments. Currently the biggest pressure comes from plans to construct new hydroelectric power plants.
These projects tend not to be met with much public opposition. People in local communities, especially in rural areas, are mostly unemployed. Often, they are not aware of the mechanisms to react against these plans.

Engaging people in local communities is the focus of much of Nataša’s campaigning with Centre for Environment. Their campaign against hydroelectric power on the Vrbas River mobilised public opposition and shut the project down, and their focus is now on projects planned on the Sana, Sutjeska and Hrčavka rivers.

Over the last five years, the campaign that Nataša has helped to run against the prospective hydroelectric power plant on the Sana River has included nine lawsuits, dozens of appeals and other legal procedures, media statements, round tables, a petition and protests with several hundred people at the construction site.

Investors are slowly considering withdrawing from the project, which could finally lead to the official declaration of the region as a protected area. The growing movement that is united in opposition is proving that it is possible to end plans for the destruction of rivers.

“The name of the river Sana means “health”, which implies purity and cleanliness. The Sana could be symbolic of Bosnia as a whole – it connects all the regions and ethnic groups in Bosnia & Herzegovina, and is pristine and full of life. We will make sure that Sana remains an unstoppable wild river. For me, the river Sana represents all struggles we face for rivers in Bosnia & Herzegovina. If I were to have a daughter, I would name her Sana.”Nataša Crnković

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!