Vjosa Campaign – inspiration for activism in the Balkans

With support from MAVA via a call for proposals for Learning and Sharing Grants aimed at encouraging collective knowledge and at sharing lessons learnt, the long experience of EcoAlbania with the Save the Blue Heart of Europe campaign was translated into 5 learning products to help and motivate other organisations and activists on their work to protect natural ecosystems.

Among others, two of the main pillars of the Vjosa campaign are the media work and litigation process. These tools have contributed to a successful campaign, whose results are outstanding. They have helped to communicate the threats, beauty and engage the people and manage to legally stop 2 big hydropower-plants and have the Vjosa protected as a nature park under category IV. Meanwhile, the Albanian Government officially committed to declare the Vjosa river and its tributaries a national park – Europe’s fist Wild River National Park.

The Media Relations Guidebook for Civil Society  guide book produced by EcoAlbania provides an in-depth look at the role of civil society and the media, their role in a democratic society, the most effective means of cooperation between the two actors, and how they can complement each other’s work in order to create long-term synergies. A comprehensive examination of the “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign and its achievements and best practices is included in the guidebook. While the same topic was covered by the How to do media campaign short video.

For Understanding and using Environmental Law handbook provides an overview of international environmental law, focusing on some important multilateral environmental agreements known to the general public. The handbook analyses environmental law and its historical development and explanans more on the environmental conventions. A short video on the same topic (Understanding and using environmental law) gives more tips on how to use the environmental law in the fight for the protection of natural ecosystems.

In addition, the whole story behind the Vjosa campaign was presented in the documentary Saving the Vjosa river – the story behind – that was launched by EcoAlbania in July 2022. The documentary presents a reconstruction of the actions of the campaign during this last decade, up to the current situation, aiming to encourage and inspire activists, NGOs and communities to fight for nature protection.

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