NGO coalition urges EBRD not to finance destruction of national park in Macedonia
Skopje – A coalition of more than 30 Macedonian and international NGOs are calling on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) not to finance Boskov Most hydro power plant in north-western Macedonia. The project would seriously damage Mavrovo national park, the largest in the country and a potential Natura 2000 site, while at the same time being envisaged to produce a relatively small amount of electricity to be used only for the stabilization of the national energy system.
7 November 2011
Skopje – A coalition of more than 30 Macedonian and international NGOs  are calling on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) not to finance Boskov Most hydro power plant in north-western Macedonia . The project would seriously damage Mavrovo national park, the largest in the country and a potential Natura 2000 site, while at the same time being envisaged to produce a relatively small amount of electricity to be used only for the stabilization of the national energy system.
The 70 MW Boskov Most HPP would be located in the Mavrovo National Park, the area with the richest biodiversity value in Macedonia. Construction is being planned right at a time when the value of the national park is being re-assessed and the park re-proclaimed. The project promoter, Macedonian state owned power company ELEM, is asking the EBRD to financially support the HPP project without taking into account the fact that legal processes connected to the statute of the park are incomplete and a Strategic Environmental Assessment for planned hydro projects in this area is lacking.
According to the environmental NGOs opposing the project, the Environmental Impact Assessment already performed for the project – and on which the EBRD relies for its decision — is faulty. Among its shortcomings, it fails to properly explain the risks posed by the project for the Balkan lynx, which survives in Macedonia exactly at the spot where Boskov Most is planned while being extinct in other neighboring countries.
Importantly, the assessment argues that the HPP would have an overall positive impact on the environment by producing less CO2 emissions compared to if the same amount of electricity were produced from fossil fuels. However, argue the green NGOs, this is a tendentious assessment: the energy produced by the HPP would be used for the stabilization of the energy system in the country and would not come with any practical reduction in fossil fuel usage in Macedonia.
“By investing in Boskov Most HPP, the EBRD is sending the wrong message to Macedonia,” explains Ana Colovic Lesoska, Bankwatch Macedonian national campaigner. “Such a decision literally tells our government that it is acceptable to go around proper legal processes. We would instead expect the EBRD to truly assist Macedonia in our path towards the EU and support the protection and preservation of nature and biodiversity, an important goal of the EU member states. The EBRD ought to put this project on hold until all legal processes regarding the national park are finalized.”
For more information, contact:
Ana Colovic Lesoska
Bankwatch Macedonian National Coordinator
ana AT bankwatch.org
+389 72 72 61 04
Notes for the editors:
1. Read the NGO letter and see the list of signatories at: https://bankwatch.org/sites/default/files/letterEBRD-BoskovMost-28Oct2011_0.pdf
CEE Bankwatch Network is also planning to submit a complaint letter to the EBRD’s Project Complaint Mechanism. According to the NGO, investing in this project would be counter to the Bank’s own policies.
2. The EBRD Board of Directors is scheduled to approve a 65 million Euros loan for the construction of Boskov Most HPP on November 8. The total cost of this project is estimated at 84 million Euros and the developer is Macedonian state owned power plant company ELEM.
EBRD project summary document: http://www.ebrd.com/pages/project/psd/2011/41979.shtml
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