Stop Skavica Dam
The American diaspora in New York protests “Save Drin River, Save Dibra”
New York, March 23, 2023 – Dozens of Albanian-Americans under the leadership of prominent activists of the Albanian community in the United States of America Shpetim Ndreu, Arif Mata, Alfred Tollja, Jurgen Vladi, Violeta Yzeiraj, Gjerg Jumari and many others, protested in front Headquarters of the United Nations in Manhattan and demanded that the construction project of Skavice be stopped immediately. Methane emissions from reservoirs created by dams are a major source of global methane emissions. Methane is at least 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
The pipers demanded that the members of the United Nations strongly oppose the ban on the Skavice Hydropower Plant, and consider other ways that are more friendly to the environment, for the provision of energy in the country. Dibra County, along the Black Drin Valley, is the country’s biodiversity hot spot, especially in terms of freshwater biodiversity.
The high mountains, river and lake systems in the Dibra region are home to numerous endangered species and important habitats with a high degree of endemism. We, the signatories of this joint statement, believe that appropriate interventions to save the Drin River and stop the Skavica Dam project are of great and urgent importance, which can provide protection and recovery for fish and species and habitats other important ones, preserving the unique biodiversity value of the rivers of the Dibre region. The protection and restoration of the Black Drin river in Albania offers a great opportunity for the sustainable development of communities living near the Black Drin valley. They provide drinking water, food, irrigation water, flood protection, climate regulation, opportunities to develop fisheries, water sports, ecotourism and opportunities to strengthen links and cooperation between countries, scientists, institutions, businesses and non-governmental organizations.
The rights of indigenous peoples: The Skavice Dam approved by the Albanian government will displace the Dibran indigenous communities, their ancestors, where more than 30 villages will be submerged under water and will destroy traditional, sustainable and carbon-neutral ways.
Climatic adaptation: It is only the last 70 km of the Black Drin that are at risk of being replaced by the skava reservoir. Damming rivers eliminates food sources for survival and undermines sustainable economic development. The climate adaptation goals of the Paris Agreement would be better served by protecting free-flowing rivers and the people who depend on them.
Ecosystems and water quality: The Skavice Dam blocks fish passage, creates artificial lakes that harbor non-native species, promotes harmful algal blooms, traps sediments that are essential to maintain estuaries in the Drin River, and impairs water quality in rivers.
Water conservation: Evaporation losses of water from reservoirs behind dams can be significant, sometimes exceeding the use of consumed water. It is more efficient and cost effective to meet water supply needs through water conservation, water recycling and by storing water in aquifers where it does not evaporate.
Dam Alternatives: Upgrading existing dams to produce more energy can negate the need for new dams. Solar, wind and geothermal energy can provide more cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy sources.
The Paris Agreement includes ambitious goals related to the reduction of global emissions, climate adaptation and resilience, sustainable development and the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. Dam offset projects directly undermine each of these goals.
Please, do not allow the construction of the Skavica Hydropower Plant by arguing evidence from the damages that dams bring according to the Paris Agreement.
Opposition to Skavica Dam members
New York, March 23, 2023