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Battle against small hydro for Sutjeska, BiH

Battle for Sutjeska started in 2013 as an reaction to plans for construction of five hydro power plants in National park Sutjeska.


The Campaign “Battle for Sutjeska” was launched in 2013 as a response to plans for the construction of small hydropower plants in Sutjeska National Park.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Battle against small hydro for Sutjeska, BiH
Country:Bosnia and Herzegovina
State or province:Republic of Srpska
(municipality or city/town)Municipalities Foča and Gacko
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

13 MW - total for five small HPPs

Project area:21,6 ha
Level of Investment:42,710,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:10 000
Company names or state enterprises:Drina Hydro Energy from Bosnia and Herzegovina
Relevant government actors:Government of Republic of Srpska (Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology, Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Arbor Magna, WWF, Pro Natura/ FoE Switzerland, Rescue team Wolf
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Under negotiation
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:Center for Environment demanded from the relevant ministry to cancel the concession agreement. They also suggested that investment in sustainable tourism would be better option for the local development. No compromise is possible regarding this project, Center for Environment and local communities are strict: hydropower plants should not be in national park.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Since hydro power plants are not being build still and having in mind current atmosphere in the media and public, we can consider that we have success in the campaign. Investor is slowly stepping back and Ministry for Environment issued Conclusion that will not continue with permitting procedure until Spatial plan for NP Sutjeska is adopted.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Law on National parks
[click to view]

Law on nature conservation
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Publication for campaign
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Campaign 'Battle for Sutjeska'
[click to view]

FoE - No big hydro in Sutjeska!
[click to view]

[click to view]

Impact study for hydro plants at Sutjeska blocked
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Video for campaign
[click to view]

Other documents

Ecoturism in the park Source:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Nataša Crnković, Center for Environment, [email protected], + 387 51 433 140
Last update19/10/2015