On 23 June, the Parliament of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted a Declaration on the Protection of Rivers, as a response to several conflicts with local communities due to low-quality environmental impact assessments for existing small hydropower plants. Furthermore, the Parliament also adopted conclusions calling for a prohibition of the construction of small hydro power plants on the territory of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Janez Kopač, Director of the Secretariat, said: “The overdevelopment of small hydropower projects can cause significant impacts on a number of environmental factors. If these are not properly assessed in the project development phase, the negative consequences may be even greater and, in certain cases, irreparable. It also has to be noted that small hydropower development in the Contracting Parties is not a purely natural phenomenon but has been predominantly driven by subsidy schemes. Yesterday’s action by the Parliament of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina can constitute an important driver for change to take environmental concerns and obligations seriously”.
The correct implementation of the legal obligations on environmental impact assessments in relation to the construction of small hydropower plants is a key priority for the Energy Community Secretariat. The declaration corresponds to the conclusion of the one-month public consultation on the Secretariat’s draft Policy Guidelines on small hydropower plants. The document drew significant attention from a wide range of stakeholders and over thirty contributions were submitted by citizens, NGOs and public interest groups.