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On Evgeny Vitishko, multilateral development banks and the criminalisation of public criticism

The recent rejection to release Evgeny Vitishko's, an imprisoned environmental activist in Russia, illustrates the backlash against fundamental rights and freedoms in some countries. Multilateral development banks need to take notice of this trend and be more wary of the risk that their lending may strengthen authoritarian regimes.

Will Ukrainian coal hijack today's Energy Community meeting?

Currently presiding over the EU-backed Energy Community's Minsterial Council, Ukraine will likely try to dilute environmental regulations in the Treaty. But the country's ageing coal-fired power plants are troubled by inefficiency and pollution and in dire need of environmental improvements.

Energy Community meeting must deliver reforms

Brussels – A group of leading NGOs active in the Balkan region are calling for urgent reform of the Energy Community Treaty, as its Ministerial Council prepares to meet in Kiev on September 23rd. The groups are calling for both the expansion of the environmental and climate component of the Treaty and measures to ensure that existing obligations are better enforced.

Cross-border coal pollution for the first time under scrutiny by UN body

A new unit at the Kostolac coal-fired power plant in Serbia is the first coal project to be considered by the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee for transboundary impacts.

Dusting off Ukraine's energy sector - Why the country must address inefficiency and pollution at its ageing coal-fired power plants

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The study, based on a field trip to two coal power plants and communities in Western Ukraine, highlights some of the pollution challenges of energy generation from coal in Ukraine, explains the urgent need for reform in Ukraine’s energy sector and the opportunities that the Energy Community membership brings to the country.

Serbian energy sector needs overhaul

The news portal Deutsche Welle has visited the Kolubara lignite mine in Serbia and produced a short clip about the difficulties faced by the Serbian energy sector.

Our Serbian colleague Nikola Perusic speaks in the video about the terrible landslide that happened in May 2013.

Second fatal landslide in Georgian Dariali valley

While likely not the cause, the EBRD-financed Dariali hydropower plant is being constructed without proper assessment or mitigation of known geological risks. The construction must be halted to avoid further damage.

Human rights defenders clampdown in Azerbaijan - letter to Commissioner Fule asking to support civil society

The letter asks EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Stefan Fule to put pressure on the Azeri authorities and support and protect civil society that faces an escalating suppression. Last week more than 20 NGOs were confronted with sanctions that included freezing bank accounts and seizing personal accounts of NGO executives and others. This is a continuation of the government’s on-going harassment campaign against human rights defenders that uses tactics like police summons, arrests, propaganda, and slandering and threating organisations with closure.

EBRD in Serbia: Don't use floods to prop up coal

The EBRD should stick to its newly approved Energy Strategy and reject any investments in the Serbian coal sector, argue a group of 7 international NGOs in a letter sent to the bank’s board of directors today. The groups were concerned with recent statements by the EBRD according to which the bank’s regional flood response in the Balkans could include “rehabilitation of (…) damaged power stations and transmission and distribution networks.”

Letter: EBRD flood response in Serbia should diversify away from lignite

This letter, co-signed by Serbian, regional and international NGOs and sent to the Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ask whether in the aftermath of the recent floods in the western Balkans, the EBRD's response will prop up Serbia's coal sector or whether it will ensure that its post-flood assistance is used for much needed residential energy efficiency improvements and sustainable renewable energy.

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