A resounding message for World Environment Day

Freshwater ecosystems are the most endangered ecosystems on the planet. In Europe they are collapsing faster than any other habitat type. One of the dramatic consequences of this collapse is that migratory freshwater fish populations have been reduced by 93%. It is also estimated that in the 1.2 million kilometers of European rivers, we encounter more than 1 million obstacles.

In the context of this year’s World Environment Day, the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (MedINA) and Pindos Perivallontiki, we organized, in collaboration with the Vovousa Festival and the Protect Aoos initiative “Citizens’ Movement for the Protection of the Aoos River” an awareness-raising and public awareness action on the need to protect and properly manage the unique Aoos / Vjosa River, one of Europe’s last free-flowing rivers.

On Saturday, June 5, 2021, members of environmental organizations and volunteers arrived in Monastiraki Square and unfurled cloth sails with the message “PROTECT AOOS / VJOSA RIVER NOW #VjosaNationalParkNow” on the paved floor of the riverbed.

On the same day, young and old friends sent their messages from various monuments of the territory in a practical expression of their support for the purpose of protecting Aoos.

MedINA and Pindos Perivallontiki are the main partners of the cross-border project ‘Saving the last free-flowing river in Europe: Aoos / Vjosa’ for Greece, which is part of the European campaign ‘Save the Blue Heart of Europe’ and aims to the protection of the Aoos / Vjosa River from impending hydroelectric dam construction projects and/or any kind of intervention, maintaining its good condition and identity, making it a model free-flowing river for the whole of Europe and integrating the entire catchment area in protection status.
The European Commission is guided by the same objectives through the European Strategy for Biodiversity with a horizon of 2030 as part of the European Green Agreement. The European Biodiversity Strategy aims to remove at least 25,000 km of European rivers by 2030 by removing or resolving barriers.

Information about the action

The action is part of the #VjosaNationalParkNow campaign, implemented in collaboration with the other members of the river protection alliance, EcoAlbania from Albania and the international organizations IUCN, EuroNatur, RiverWatch and Tour du Valat.

The action in Athens follows a series of similar actions that took place in Tirana, Paris, Brussels and Berlin, where the message #VjosaNationalParkNow was spread in front of famous city monuments.