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Hydro Power Plant Boskov Most, National Park Mavrovo, Macedonia


The hydro power plant Boškov Bridge (Boškov Most in Macedonian) is planned to be a typical derivation plant constructed on the river Little River (Mala Reka in Macedonian) located in the Western areas of Macedonia, near the town of Debar and the highway Skopje-Debar-Ohrid. The waters of the river Little River will be intaken at its inflows in the river Radika 10 km upstream from its inflow into the river Crn Drim. Planned construction includes a 33 m high dam and an accumulation lake of 858 x 103m3, which would store enough water for several days from local tributaries of the Little River. HPP Boškov Bridge will have an installed capacity of 70 MW and will produce about 126 GWh per year. The project is sponsored by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

More than 80% of the HPP construction site falls within the territory of the Mavrovo National Park, the oldest, largest and most valuable protected area in Macedonia. NP Mavrovo is the last remaining untouched beech forest in the Balkans and home to the only remaining population of the endangered species of the Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx ssp. Balcanicus) (only 30-50 individuals, according to the Macedonian Ecological Society). A group of Macedonian CSOs including Eko-svest - Bankwatch member group, Front 21/42, the Macedonian Ecological Society, and two environmental coalitions "Ecology – priority" and "Natura 2000" which together gather 20 environmental organisations, have been for years advocating for the protection of Mavrovo according to the IUCN guidelines, suggesting that construction of the HPP in the National Park area is contrary to European legislation, Natura 2000 and the Water Directive Framework.

CSOs have communicated their concerns about the project’s impacts on the critical habitat of the Balkan lynx to the project sponsor EBRD. The group organised protests, public hearing and petitions against the project and collected 60 000 signatures against it.

In May 2014, Macedonian activists, with help of Bankwatch, organised a symbolic protest at the EBRD Annual General Meetings in Warsaw, where 20 tiny stuffed lynxes representing half of the remaining natural population protested for their survival in Mavrovo.

CSOs pointed out the procedural loophole of the HPP Boškov Bridge that allowed the bank's board to first approve the projects and then carry out studies on the project’s social and environmental impact. The activists have emphasized that The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study from July 2011, prepared by the Macedonian company GEING, does not provide sufficient data on the analysis of impacts of the project on mammal and bird species, for example it does not mention the impact on the Balkan lynx at all. The ESIA has not yet been approved by the Ministry of Environment. The internal body of the EBRD, verifying such complaints, found that the bank had indeed breached its own standards by approving the loan for the HPP Boškov Bridge.

The EBRD is currently revising its Environmental and Social Policy (ESP), while according to the Bankwatch, CSOs express fear that it might take this as the opportunity to actually weaken its ESP’s environmental and social criteria, that would allow for HPP Boškov Bridge to pass more easily. In December 2015, the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats sent a reply to the complaint filed by the CSOs in early 2013. The committee asked the Macedonian Government to “suspend the implementation of the hydro-power plants foreseen within the territory of the Mavrovo National Park”, and EBRD to suspend financing for the project. Such recommendations were based on a report prepared by independent experts and observers. EBRD stated they fully accepted the recommendations of the Committee and will consider the results of the new strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the HPP Boškov Most and other planned projects on the territory of Mavrovo National Park. The project opponents are sure that the results of a new SEA will not differ from the previous and that the EBRD will finally decide to drop off the financing, particularly knowing that in December 2015 the World Bank withdrew its financial support for the HPP Lukovo Pole- also planned to be constructed in NP Mavrovo.


Basic Data

Name of conflict:Hydro Power Plant Boskov Most, National Park Mavrovo, Macedonia
Country:Macedonia, FYR
Location of conflict:Debar, Mavrovo and Rostusha
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

The HPP Boškov Bridge: Average discharge 5,75 m3/s; Average production,54 GWh ; Construction height of the dam 44,40 m; Surface height 33,80 m; Head race tunnel diameter 3,00 m; The tunnel length 8742 m; Rated flow 22,00 m3/s ; Installed capacity 68,2 MW; Design head 357,00 m.

Only 9 percent of Macedonian lands receive official protection.

NP Mavrovo is home to 50 species of mammals; 129 species of birds, 11 species of amphibians, 24 species of reptiles and 924 species of invertebrates, many of which are strictly protected animals according to Bern Convention.

Mature population Balkan lynx is estimated to count less than 50 individuals.

Since the signing of the Boškov Most project loan, ‘commitment fees’ paid to the EBRD by the Macedonian government has reached 2.2 million USD.

Project area:22
Level of Investment for the conflictive project114,399,600
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:20,000
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:JSC "MACEDONIAN POWERPLANTS" -ELEM (ELEM) from Macedonia, FYR - The project developer and investor
Relevant government actors:The Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Macedonia
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) - Investor, granted the loan for implementation of the project
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Front 21/42:; EkoSvest:; Mr. Gazmend Cami - local citizens movement; "Ecology – priority" and "Natura 2000" with membership of more than 20 environmental organisations; Bankwatch.

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Revision of EBRD's environmental and social policy; Recommendations by the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitat
Proposal and development of alternatives:CSOs demand law enforcement from the Macedonian government that would not allow for construction of HPP in the protected area. They also demanded from the EBRD to respect the Bern Convention and to finally withdraw its investments in the HPP Boškov Most.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Currently, no disbursements have been made. The ERBD final decision on the HPP Boškov Most will depend on the results of a new strategic environmental assessment to be elaborated in 2016.

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Macedonian Law on Nature Protection

Natura 2000


Hydro power development within the territory of Mavrovo National Park (“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”)


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

Review of current position and perspectives of renewable energy in the Republic of Macedonia with focus on electricity production


HPP BOSKOV MOST project prospect by ELEM

Threat posed by hydro to Mavrovo National Park under the spotlight at Skopje conference

Macedonia: No dams in Mavrovo National Park Letter to EBRD

Macedonia: No dams in Mavrovo National Park

HPP Boskov Most

Balkan lynx stage protest at annual meeting of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

HPP Boskov Most

11.04.2014. - Хидроенергетски проекти наспроти заштита на природата

The Mavrovo National Park, Macedonia


Boskov Most HPP, Macedonia

EBRD implements recommendations of the Bern Convention

EBRD still can’t say no to destructive Macedonian dam

Velika rasprodaja rijeka Balkana

13.01.2014. - Националниот парк „Маврово“ загрозен од хидроенергетски про

Bern Convention Committee to decide fate of Balkan lynx and Boskov Most hydropower plant in Macedonia

Construction of Macedonia’s HPP Boskov Most to start by early 2014 - media

13.02.2014. - Протест за зачувување на НП „Маврово“ сабота (15.02) 12:00 часот, плато пред стоковна куќа „Мост“

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Mavrovo lynxes against Boskov Most

Boskov Most ENG DVD



Other comments:The Macedonian government is planning to construct 19 new hydropower plants on the rivers of Mavrovo National Park, the HPPs Boškov Most and Lukovo Pole are the two biggest.

Meta information

Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1323



Symbolic protest of lynx for their habitat

Macedonian CSOs helped by Bankwatch put 20 stuffed lynxes, which is half of the remaining natural population, in the access area to the EBRD Annual General Meetings in Warsaw in May 2014