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Conflicting interests: energy and extractive projects and biodiversity in the Western Balkan region

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Justice&Environment (J&E) is traditionally interested in expanding its sphere of work to the Western Balkan region. Zelena akcija joined J&E before Croatia became a member state of the EU. J&E also has an associate member from North Macedonia and they did two projects with the participation of colleagues from the SEE region before.

In 2021, postponed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, J&E was interested in whether energy and extractive projects get into conflict with the interest of preserving biodiversity. They invited NGO legal experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo (UNMIK) to share their experiences on the detrimental nature of certain large projects, the level of activity of civil society and the public attention towards these issues.

Based on country surveys, on 8th December, J&E held an online workshop with the participation of their Western Balkan colleagues and discussed these issues, following a presentation by J&E on the Natura 2000 legislation and case law.

The findings of the session were that energy projects with special regard to small hydro power plants are extremenly damaging for nature in the region, and that exhange of information and the use of legal tools is very important for fighting these phenomena.

The project and the event was funded by the Central European Initiative.

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