Đuro Capor

Srđ is Ours / Dubrovnik, Croatia

Community resists landgrab in Dubrovnik

Đuro Capor, a history teacher at a school in Dubrovnik and a local organic farmer, is also a conservationist committed to conserving the public spaces and water resources around Dubrovnik. Recently, much of his work has revolved around the campaign to save the famous Mount Srđ that overlooks the historical, UNESCO-protected city centre.

Developers had planned to build a golf resort just above the centre of Dubrovnik, meaning that a huge area – 359 hectares in total – would be irretrievably taken from local citizens. At the same time, power for the golf resort was to be secured through construction of a hydroelectric power plant on the river Ombla, the source of drinking water for the whole Dubrovnik area. The entire infrastructure of the project – the electricity, water and sewage system – was to be provided by the local government, transferring the costs to citizens.

After several years of intensive campaigning and raising awareness with the national and international public, Đuro and many other volunteers with the ‘Srđ is Ours’ initiative managed to acquire the signatures of a quarter of Dubrovnik’s citizens for a local referendum on the dual project. Despite the media siding with the developers and government in support of the construction project, 84% of citizens voted against. In spite of this, politicians in the city council decided to disregard the popular will and continue regardless. The ‘Srđ is Ours’ initiative then appealed to UNESCO, which accepted their concerns with clear demands that the Croatian government intervenes.

The Ombla hydropower plant project was finally abandoned after strong pressure from Zelena akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia and other local initiatives from Dubrovnik led to European banks withdrawing finance. Đuro and other activists will continue to safeguard Dubrovnik’s most valuable community resources and natural environment for local people now and generations to come.

“To lose Srđ would be to lose the heart of our community and the remains of our self-respect. Dubrovnik and Srđ are one. When I teach values and history I feel obliged to act on these same values. Srđ protected our city for centuries; now it is time for us to protect Srđ in return.”Đuro Capor

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