Save Tara

“I DON’T WANT A SWAMP, I WANT TARA ” 2004- CAMPAIGN HISTORY 

Eco campaign “I don’t want a swamp, I want Tara” has been organized as a reaction to Serbia and Montenegro official institutions’ continuous demands to start building the “Buk Bijela” hydropower plant on the Drina River which, due to its accumulation volume, would flood the lower segment of the picturesque Tara River Canyon, the unflooded part of the Piva River Canyon, and the Sutjeska Canyon.
The »Buk Bijela« HPP Project
The Project estimates the construction of the Buk Bijela HPP of 450 MW capacity and the Srbinje hydropower plant of 55,5 MW capacity, using the Drina River hydro potentials. The concession was given using the BOT model of project financing: build, use and return, for the period of maximum 30 years, with the option of additional 20 years usage. The building of the above mentioned hydropower plant will take 4, 5 years, in compliance with the dynamic building plan. The hydropower plant building was started some 10 km downriver Srbinje in the 70s, but it was brought to a standstill and conserved in 1974, due to the vast national and international public protests of over 500 experts from all over the world. The World Geographical Congress in Edinburgh in 1984 also raised voices against this project, envisaging its catastrophic consequences upon natural environment. The original project anticipated the 450 MW power plant, generating annually a billion and hundred million kWh power, while the artificial lake would accumulate 410 million m 3 water. The plant would be used by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro (30%).
The American USAID has defined the “Buk-Bijela” plant building as cost-ineffective. Consequently, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Ministerial Council has demanded that the Republic of Srpska authorities reconsider the realization of the project.
The Tara River protection status
•  In 1980, a segment of the Tara Canyon , from the Bistrica mouth to the Tara till the Šćepan field is enclosed within the Durmitor National Park , registered on the UNESCO list of the World Natural Heritage
•  The area from the Bistrica mouth to the Tara till the Su š ica mouth to the Tara represents a zone with the special protection regime within the Durmitor National Park .
•  The Tara River basin with a surface of 1823,000 ha was registered on the list of World Biosphere Reserves – the UNESCO «Man and Biosphere» (M&B) program.
•  The River Tara watershed is recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve, and Mount Durmitor is registered on the UNESCO list of the World Cultural Heritage
•  The national parks of Montenegro are members of the World Federation of National Parks.
•  In 1991, the Republic of Montenegro introduced an article into its Constitution, declaring it an Ecological State . All project documents with various development strategies have this idea ad their starting point.
•  Numerous Republic of Montenegro Constitution articles (Art. 1, 2, 19, and 65) support such attitude, favoring the Tara River protection as ell. In 1992, the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro adopted the “Declaration on the Ecological State of Montenegro ”, establishing the national and legal basis for the relation to nature, and committing itself to its protection.
Our civilization accomplishments, symbolized in the ecological protection as one of the main human rights, the UN 1972 Declaration on Human Environment, the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, The World Charter on Nature (1982), and the Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development (1992) are also the Montenegro ‘s responsibility . „Environmental protection and development are xrucial tasks concerning human ellfare and economic development worldeide: it is an urgent wish of the people all over the world, and all govenments’ duty“ – Declaration of the UN 1972 Conference on Human Environment.

NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON NATURE AND PEOPLE   At the age when a billion of people on this planet has no access to drinking water resources, the Republic of Montenegro is importing 30 MILLIONA EUR worth bottled water! Having problems with the safe drinking water supply in towns all over the republic– from the sea coast to Durmitor – it is trying to flood THE RESOURCES which the BBC journalist has described as follows, while DRINKING WATER DIRECTLY FROM THE TARE RIVER: “I don’t know any other place in Europe where you can do this” . According to experts, just one water resource exploited on the River Piva would be more cost-effective for the Republic of Montenegro than the planned hydropower plant . While if this project is realized, the Piva River would be completely flooded. The part of the Tara River planned to be flooded is the most attractive one for rafting. The Tara River is also most noticed at all Montenegrin tourist promotions; tourists from all over the world are most interested in rafting on the TARA . Flooding this part of the river would cause unforeseeable consequences to the whole Republic of Montenegro , including the loss of workplaces in the filed of tourism all over the state. However, despite all the obvious arguments, all the mentioned facts are being ignored (WILD BEAUTY is the title of the Montenegrin tourist campaign).   •  There are over 15 drinking water sources in the Tara River course planned for flooding. •  In the Tara River Canyon , planned for flooding, there won’t be any more Grayling, while huchen and Water-cress are so endangered that they may become rare species. Changes will also take place in the zone which is a constituent part of the Durmitor National Park, since due to the hydro accumulation the watercourse upstream the lake will slow down, which will cause qualitative and quantitative changes of the main ecological factors, as ell as change the environment of the river within the Durmitor National Park. One of the negative impacts will be the smaller number and deteriorated health of the three mentioned Salmonidae species.   •  Flooding of the Tara Canyon and building of the mammoth dam would also irreparably damage the ornithofauna of Durmitor, since the spacious, preserved and characteristic natural habitat for numerous species, registered on the lists of the protected ones, would be lost forever. Thus, the Law on the protection of Nature would be violated, since it explicitly states that it is forbidden to destroy the protected fauna species’ habitats. The same article is contained in the Decision of the Montenegrin Institute for the Protection of Nature, by which the named species are protected, and which is treated Lex specialis in the framework of the national legislation. •  Building of the “Buk Bijela” hydropower plant system and flooding of the Tara, Piva and Sutjeska River Canyons would drastically violate the Bird Directive (79/409 EEC) on the protection of birds living in natural habitats, and the Habitat Directive (92/43 EEC) regarding the protection of natural habitats and their wild flora and fauna. And exactly the mentioned two Directives are part of the Natura 2000 system, the main EU millennium development and environmental protection goals . The Natura 2000 system is worldwide accepted strategy, especially in countries pretending to the EU membership , Montenegro being one of them. Most of the bird species listed in Annexes 2 and 3 of the EU Bird Directive, which are not part of the marine ecosystems, are registered on the Durmitor Mountain .   – In the close vicinity of the »Buk Bijela«, due to the climate changes caused by the huge eater accumulation, over 1400 kinds of plant and animal species would be endangered, of which 127 kinds of birds. When the similar project was realized and the “Mratinje” dam was built on the Piva River , eagles have lost their habitats forever, so it is realistic to expect the same consequences in the case of building the “Buk Bijela” HPP. – Natural wealth of the Tara River Canyon would be endangered, nicely illustrated by the example of a well researched group of animals . It is the group of the dipterous insects, immensely significant as the second best pollinators in nature (after Hymenoptera), and the most sinificant regulators of the number of plant louses (Syrphidae) in nature.
Researches started in 1981, resulting in a doctoral thesis, a Magisterial Paper of MSc Suzana Brajovic from the Montenegrin Museum of Nature in Podgorica, 2004, a monograph, and a large number of scientific papers in numerous top expert magazines all over the world, as ell as at international scientific gatherings. The results show that 330 species live in Montenegro, of which 279 in canyons (84,04%), while 91 species are characteristic only gor Montenegrin canyons. Their survival depends on the survival of unchanged canyon environment. Over ten species are endemic, existing in these canyons, so their complete protection is Montenegrin international liability (the mentioned data concern the zone of 80% of the Tara River Canyon and its lateral tributaries, such as the Sušica River canyon. The data are alarming, too. On one hand, they insdicate the immense flora and fauna biodiversity, while on the other hand they warn us not to endanger them in any way.
The researches were done in regions where habitat consditions were changed due to the water level changes. Insdicators show the reduction of the number of species even up to 60% in dsuch changesd cxanyonsd. It is crucial to highlight the fact that the rarest and the most sinificant species, which are usually the most sensitive, dissappear first, and are exchanged by widely spread, common species.
THE UNESCO WARNING — The Montenegrin Foreign Minister Miodrag Vlahovic, as “Vijesti” reports, according to the notes made by his Assistant Jadranka Vojvodic, after the interview with the UNDP Deputy Chief for Montenegro Garet Tankosic-Keli, reported the danger of UNESCO’s red-listing the Durmitor National Park as an endangered location, but also of removing this and other areas in Montenegro from the lists of the protected zones, in the light of the fact that they have not been informed on time about the construction plans for Buk-Bijela HPP. According to the Vlahovic’s letter, Tankosic-Keli released they had been informed that the Ministry of Ecology has not replied to the World Bank’s offer to finance an independent ecological study (Vijesti magazine , 13 10 2004). Information kept
Information on the dam building have been sparse, appearing only as tiny news in
daily newspapers, until May 2004, when NGO “Most” had started its “No pools –we want Tara ” campaign. International Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters ( Aarhus 1998) has been completely ignored . Also the Paris 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, obliging the informing of UNESCO first of any works in the protected zones – here, the UNESCO was informed of the construction plans by NGO.
•  The Seville Conference of 1995 offers the legislative frame and legal basis for the biosphere reserve functioning, and all its recommendations are being violated. It wad impossible to obtain any information from the Ministry of Economy, or from any other governmental agencies. The same applied to the Ministry of the environmental protection and Physical Planning that was competent for granting permits for ecological feasibility studies of dam building and consequences of flooding the most beautiful canyons.
We are sending letters concerning this problem to the Montenegrin liable authorities, and we are not receiving any answers. All available data offer no trust in governmental agencies, so we are forced to organize campaign in order to save the Tara River .
Steps toward the construction of the “Buk Bijela” hydropower plant

Podgorica, 12. 02. 2003 . – The joint Council of the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro for the tender for building the “Buk Bijela” hydropower plant on the Drina River has made at the Nikšiću meeting their Agreement on the realization and building of the mentioned hydropower plant.

Podgorica, 30.4.2004. At the Montenegrin Parliament session, an Agreement was adopted on the cooperation between the Republic of Srpska and the Republic of Montenegro regarding the realization, construction and usage of the mutual Buk-Bijela hydropower plant, reports the Bureau for public relations.

Banjaluka, 30.4.2004 . The RS Government Commission, consisting of its president Mladen Begenišić, and Željko Ratković and Jelena Jokanović as its members, opened the tender offers concerning the project for the construction of the Buk-Bijela hydropower plant . The following bidders presented their offers at the tender: ETF London, Mont Montaža, CLC and Vijadukt – engineering.
With such actions, the energy lobby constantly confuses the public, trying to present it an accomplished act. Additionally, some investments are mentioned with the same intention of public influencing, as if the decision has been made.

“I Don’t Want a Swamp, I Want Tara ” 2004 Campaign History

Zabljak, 20.5.2004 – SLOGAN « “I DON’T WANT A SWAMP, I WANT TARA” used for the first time.
As a reaction to the adoption of the Agreement concerning the project for the construction of the Buk-Bijela hydropower plant, the NGO «Most» of Žabljak presented itself to the public, and demanded a referendum of all Montenegrin citizens on the problem, warning them at the same time that such important decisions may not be made « in a hidden cabinet, by a few people and interested groups, far from the public eyes» . The announcement warned the public to the disastrous economic and ecologic consequences of the eventual realization of such projects. The NGO „Most“ would also like to highlight the fact that, beside all other failures, the Buk-Bijela hydropower plant wouldn’t serve Montenegro , since just the third of the totally generated power would go to Montenegro. Are we, thus, sacrificing the Tara for the third of a hydropower plant? If the Republic of Montenegro is ready to wait its 30% of the dam usage for 30 years (with eventual extensions of the period), then the question posed is whether it, so ecologically damaged, deserves its freedom».

Zabljak, 14.6.2004 – AN ONLINE PETITION TO SAVE THE TARA ORGANIZED
NGO «Most» at its website http://www.durmitorcg.com has organized an online petition against the consdtruction of the Buk-Bijela hydropower plant, wishing to unite in onew place all voices from all over the world, who realize the consequewnces of flooding a segment of the European most attractive river . Till the end of November 2004, the number of the signatures on the online petition eceeded 2200.

The Bridge over the Tara, 27.6.2004 – THE FIRST IN THE SERIES OF PROTESTS AGAINST THE HPP CONSTRUCTION
The first in the series of citizens’ and NGOs’ protests against the construction of the Buk-Bijela hydropoer plant. Environmentalists from NGOs from Pljevlje ansd Žabljak o rganized lowering from the bridge’s highest arch, and unfurled a flag with the message for the salvation of the Tara. A performance of “casting a glance from the Tara Bridge into the past and future” was given, in the presence of a few hundred citizens and guests from Slovenia . The campaign motto “I don’t want a swamp, I want Tara ” was presented.
Žabljak, 20.7.2004 . – REPORT ON THE ILLEGAL FOREST CUTTING IN THE TARA RIVER CANYON NGO “Most” informed the Montenegrin public on the problem of the illegal forest cutting in the Tara River Canyon – in the tourist vacation area “TMORA”, in the action titled THE DURMITOR POWER SAW MASSACRE! It is interesting that the area under attack was again the multi-protected canyon, where the inhabitants from the region are being surviving for ages, following the rules of the sustainable development.
Šć epan Polje, 11.7.2004 – THE CAMPAIGN REACHES THE MEDIA
The second protest titled “I don’t want a swamp, I want Tara” was organized in front of the an audience made of a large number of TV crews, printed media, dozens of rafters, citizens of Šć epan polje and the Piva River region, Žabljak, Pljevlja … « The whole Tara Rier B asin is both economically and ecologically connected with people living near the river. The flooding would nihiliate any hope for better future, touristic and rural development. It may not be ingored, since all the municipalities within the Tara Basin will remain mutilated if deprived of their future».

Zabljak, 21.7.2004 . – SUPPORT OF THE EUROPEAN ECO ORGANIZATIONS
NGO «Most» gets written support from the « European Nature Heritage Fund – Euronatur” from Germany, and from “IUCN Europe”, as well as from a large number of ecological NGOs from the region. The idea is spread of the mutual action of numerous NGOs from all over the Europe against the construction of the hydropower plant on the Tara River .

Crno Jezero, 25.7.2004 . – PROTEST ANS PERFORMANCE “THE LIVE BRIDGE PROTECTS THE TARA ” NGO “Most” has organized the protest walk to the Black lake, and started collecting signatures for the international petition against the “Buk Bijela” construction. For just a couple of hours over 300 signatures were collected. A performance was also organized titled “ The live bridge protects the Tara” – all people present created a symbolic bridge holding each other’s hands, and showed that citizens are persistent in the Tara protection ” if it comes to flooding the 12 km of canyon from Šćepan Polje, a chain reaction would effect the whole canyon, and natural landscape would never be the same. Therefore, minimizing of the importance of flooding a canyon segment outside the National Park is, in a way, malicious. Flooding of the Tara means drowning people! »

Žabljak, 27.7.2004 . – COMPOSING THE DECLARATION FOR THE TARA PROTECTION
The NGO «Most», together with a qualified legal expert team, composed a Declaration for the protection of the River Tara, which will be presented for adoptation to the Montenegrin Parliament, provided it is supported by at least 6.000 Montenegrin citizens’ signatures.

NGO «Most» has invited all the non-governmental organizations in Montenegro all the non-governental organizations of collecting signatures, in order to start the parliamentary discussions and adopt the Declaration. Thus all the risks of the construction of the Buk-Bijela hydropoer plant would dissappear: «E are hereby inviting all the available non-governmental organizations to take part in the action, and organize, through their local networks signature collecting, on a day „Montenegro for the Tara“. All organizations ehich take part in the action will be equally responsible for the final aim of preventing the flooding of the most beautiful river in Europe».

NGO “The bridge has recognized the essence” : only citizens have the right to make decisions regarding the potentials which are the Montenegro ‘s trademark around the world. In only 20 days more than 20 non-governmental organizations have contacted us, from almost all Montenegrin towns, which on 19 th August volunteered in the action „ MONTENEGRO FOR THE TARA “.
T-SHIRTS “ I DON’T WANT A SWAMP, I WANT TARA” – the NGO «Most» has distributed a few hundred T-shirts with the inscription “I don’t want a swamp, I want Tara” , which momentarily became popular in the whole of Montenegro. At he same time, a clip “I don’t want a swamp, I want Tara” was broadcasted on the «Pink Montenegro» TV – programme. The NGO «Most» has also constructed bilboards with the above text on 2 spots in Žabljak, in cooperation with HTM Durmitor.

The Bridge over the Tara, 1.8.2004 . – announcement of the «DAY FOR THE TARA» Ecological organizations organized a new protest, where it was announced that on the date of 19. 9. 2004 signatures will be collected in all the cities over Montenegro, in order to start parliamentary procedure of discussing the Declaration for the protection of the Tara River.

Žabljak, Crna Gora, 19. 8. 2004 . Ac tion „THE TARA DAY IN MONTENEGRO – „ MONTENEGRO FOR THE TARA “. During the first day, the collected signatures exceeded all expectations. Over 11.000 signatures of the Montenegro inhabitants were collected during just that day, in Podgorica, Ž abljak, Nikšić, Cetinje, Plužine, Pljevlja, Berane, Herceg Novi, Bar, Ulcinj, Tivat, Kotor, Bijelo Polje, Mojkovac, Kolašin…At the same time, signature collecting was organized in Prague by the Montenegrin-Czech Friendship Society, as well as in Banjaluka . “11000 thousands of signatures just in one day, compared to the population number, are an impressive number even for the European democracies. We are especially proud of the Montenegrin citizens, who have wholeheartedly supported the Tara protection. This action will be written down in the history of civil initiatives… There were comments on spots that ‘’yesterday, many revived their faith in humanity”. (NGO “ MOST ”)
Apart from the mentioned signatures, we are receiving to our address continuously signatures from organizations and individuals from Cypress Prague, Novi Sad, Ljubljana, Barcelona, Moscow, Banja Luka, Rijeka, Belgrade, Toronto… and their number exceeds 10 000 many times .
Montenegro , 20. 8. 2004 . — CELEBRITIES PROTECT THE TARA
Due to the continuous interest of citizens and their wishes to support the action for the Tara salvation by their signatures, the action was extended during the following days. The petition was signed also by numerous oppositional and governing parties’ leaders, among others Ranko Krivokapic, the Montenegrin Parliament President. The action was also supported by the signatures of the Serbian and Montenegrin Olympic volleyball team, adding a message that they’d like next year to enjoy the rafting on the “untouched Tara ”.
The Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, during his visit to Ž abljak said that “he could not imagine a government that would endanger the Tara ”. Ranko Krivokapi ć, the Montenegrin Parliament President, said that the Declaration on the Tara River Protection will be on the Parliament agenda in October, adding that “we have to remove that problem from our agenda once and for all”
The support letters keep arriving from all sides, from numerous Universities in Montenegro and Serbia (Biological, Faculty of Applied Arts, Law Faculty…), and numerous signatories of the international petition are celebrities: actors, singers, journalists…
Support of biologists from Moscow , Belgrade , Podgorica, Novi Sad , Ljubljana , Prague , Rijeka , International ecological organizations, Universities, Ecological congresses

London, 24. 8. 2004 . – INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ON THE TARA
In its program «The BBC World», the London BBC has broadcasted a long program on the beauties of the Tara River and its Canyon. “ The National park Durmitor encloses one of the deepest and the most beautiful canyons in the world. The Tara is a genuine jewel. The 95 km long Tara Canyon is excellent for rafting, and very attractive for numerous visitors ready for the adventure” (BBC). Besides the BBC television, an account on our campaign was also given on the RAI 3, in numerous magazines, and Internet media in Europe .

Podgorica, 15.9.2004.
DELIVERY OF THE COLLECTED SIGNATURES FOR PARLIAMENTARY DISCUSSION ON THE DECLARATION ON THE TARA PROTECTION
A delegation of the NGO “Most”, accompanied by the representatives of over 30 NGOs from Montenegro that took part in collecting the signatures, delivered the collected material to the Parliament. The delegation was received by the Parliament President Ranko Krivokapi ć , who during the cordial meeting confirmed the MP’s determination to make a final decision concerning the Tara River future.

SUPPORT OF THE MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS INTERNATIONAL
Support both for the Tara and Durmitor arrived also from the international organization MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS INTERNATIONAL. The mentioned organization, founded mainly by internationally acclaimed eminent mountain climbers (Reinhold Messner, Alberto Pinelli, Chris Bonnington  and others), is interested in the protection of the mountainous natural heritage all over the world, and especially of those regions almost untouched by human hand. In their support mail, they write: “We were deeply touched when we found out that the Tara Canyon was endangered again!”

WTO MAIL TO UNESCO – In the World Touristic Organization (WTO) officials’ letter, mailed to the UNESCO, they wrote the following, among other things: «If this project is realized (Buk – Bijela), Europe and the world will lose one of the most beautiful natural resources. It would be a pity and shame for all of us!»
Do the promoters of the hydropower plant construction lack the above feelings?!
(Program «Travels» of 21st September 2004 ).

Professor Milorad Vasović gave the NGO »Most« information on the SUPPORT OF 562 EUROPEAN AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS , as well as the information that THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF GEOGRAPHERS held in 1984 in Edinburgh, HAS UNANIMOUSLY SUPPORTED THE ACTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE TARA RIVER, AND AGAINST THE HYDROPOWER PLANT CONSTRUCTION The public should know that Professor Vasović is a direct inheritor of »Jovan Cvijić descent« in a scientific sense, as he used to be an Assistent of Prof. Milojević, who was an Assistent and associate of the legendary scientist Jovan Cvijić.

WHY BOT SYSTEM FINANCING IS DANGEROUS –   BOT system financing is characteristic for the developing countries, the Far East, Africa . These poor countries, lacking the funds, offer their natural resources to foreign investors. The object of their investment is usually returned after a few decades. The World Bank refuses to take part in projects operating by the BOT system. The World Bank’s explanation of their refusal to credit a hydropower plant in Vietnam was that it was constructed by the BOT system. It is estimated that the countries investing their natural resources in such projects suffer losses ( 22 nd October 2004 , Monitor magazine).

Podgorica, November 2004 –
DELEGATES OF THE NGO “ MOST ” IN THE PARLIAMENT OF MONTENEGRO – The four member delegation of the NGO “Most” attended the Montenegrin Parliament session and discussions on the Declaration on the Tara River Protection . The delegates of the NGO “Most” tried to explain to the Montenegrin Parliament representatives the value of the Declaration, while still intensely promoting its final adopting. The Montenegro citizens’ support to the efforts to save the Tara River is absulute; it has united all Academies and religions, and previously irreconcilable political structures. We estimate that over 80% of the Montenegro population will always protest against the flooding of the TEAR OF EUROPE.

THE DECLARATION ON THE PROTECTION OF THE TARA RIVER

The development of Montenegro must be made conditional upon ecology.

Construction of a hydroelectric power plant or any other activity in any location on the course of the Tara river would be a disturbing factor, not only in the part of the canyon planned for the creation of the reservoir but also in the entire region whose development depends on the canyon.
The solution for the future is in the sources of electric energy which would not affect the natural equilibrium, together with the drastic reduction of the commercial losses.

The Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro , respecting the above-mentioned principles, rejects any activities in the canyon of the Tara river. As citizens, we are aware that the Tara is our future and our trademark. Any intention to make any changes to the Tara should be subject to a referendum in which all citizens of Montenegro would voice their opinion. We believe this is the only just solution not only today but in also future.

Therefore, we appeal to the Government of the Republic of Montenegro , the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina , the Government of the Republic of Srpska and the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina to do everything in their power to prevent the devastation of the Tara riv.

JUSTIFICATION
Constitutional Basis for Issuing the Declaration on the Protection of the River

the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro is authorized to pass laws, other regulations and general acts (Article 81, paragraph 2), as well as to conduct a referendum (Article 81, paragraph 6). Furthermore, the Constitution states that all activities in Montenegro are allowed, except for those prohibited by the Constitution (Article 13).

The Constitution of the Republic of Montenegro states that the citizens should excercise authority directly and through freely elected representatives (Article 2). The citizens are also guaranteed the right to propose new laws, other regulations and general acts under the condition that they submit a petition with 6000 valid voters` signatures (Article 85).

The Reasons for Issuing the Declaration on the Protection of the Tara River

The Issuing of the Declaration has been motivated by the need to achieve the rights to a healthy environment and full information on its status, as well as by the obligation of the State to protect and improve the environment. All these rights are guaranteed by the Constitution (Article 19). In addition, we remind of the State`s responsibility to protect the environment by limiting the freedoms in the industrial and economic sector, as per the Constitution (Article 65). One of our aims is also to ensure that the Declaration on Montenegro as an Ecological State is respected, especially the provisions directly referring to the protection of the environment (Articles 4; 7.4; 7.5 and 9.4 of the Law on the Environment).

The Declaration on the Protection of the Tara River was initiated by a group of non-governmental organizations and individuals concerned for the protection of the river. The action outgrew a purely local level and drew attention of all citizens of Montenegro and many people from abroad. What gives it special merit is the fact that, for the first time, the citizens reached a concensus on a predominantly development issue and showed an interest to take part in supporting the action.

Given the specifics of Montenegro and its decision to become “an ecological state”, ensuring an important role of the public in the decision-making process, particularly when it comes to the environment issues, is of special importance. Our arguments are further supported by the regulations and practices in the developed countries (as well as in the countries moving towards regional, economic and political integrations), which enable and encourage civil initiatives through the concept of public participation in the decision-making. The Convention on the access to information, public participation in the decision-making and legal responsibility related to the environment issues (The Aarhus Convention, 1998) is of special importance for the protection of the environment. In addition, the basic regulations of the international treaty have become part of the EU legal system, through the:
Directive of the Council 97/11/EC on the evaluation of the impact of some public and private projects on the environment.
Directive of the European Union and the European Council 2003/35/EC which provides public participation in drafting certain environment related plans and programs. This Directive serves as an amendment to the EC Directives 85/337/EEC and 96/61/EC, which further define public participation and protection of the environment.
Directive of the European Union and the European Council 2003/4/EC on the availability of information related to the environment issues. This directive also revokes the EC Directive 90/313/EEC.

These Directives contain provisions on public participation in all phases of impact evaluation. They also state that a country planning a certain project is required to inform and consult other countries in case when the planned project may have an impact on the environment outside its borders.

The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro has not signed the Aarhus Convention and the United Nations Convention on Evaluation of the Impact to the Environment Outside the State Borders. However, Serbia and Montenegro participates in these processes and its member-republics perform the following activities: 1) work on the regulations in order to harmonize them with international standards; 2) effect institutional and systemic reforms; 3) make preparations for signing bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements and create the conditions for their implementation.

Following the global trend of sustainable development and the struggle of the whole world to save the nature as an invaluable treasure of any country in the world and the whole planet, the citizens of Montenegro have signed the petition in which they request the Parliament to adopt the Declaration for the Protection of the Tara River . They expect that their representatives in the Parliament will listen to the voice of the public and adopt the Declaration for the sake of our future.

Placing their confidence in the State and Parliament as a part of the European democracy, by signing the petition the citizens of Montenegro have expressed their trust in the parliament as an institution which takes care of the people whom it represents.

BASIC INFORMATION ON THE NGO “ MOST ”

NGO “ MOST ” – The non-governmental organization “Most” was founded in 2002 in Žabljak – it is true to its name, since it connects! It has no donors for its campaigns, all its members working from the start on absolutely volunteer basis. It is not politized, and does not misuse its actions. We are financially exhausted, but yet proud of the fact that the whole campaign was financed by our members’ means, and that in an unequal fight, by using the right strategy, we are close to the final victory – eternal freedom for the Tara River . At the moment, we need only a few more employees, who would address the problem on daily basis and take an intensive part in the campaign.

OTHER PROJECTS

PROJECT http://WWW.DURMITORCG.COM – Since its foundation, the NGO “Most” has started and successfully finalized the web portal http://www.durmitorcg.com the objective of which is to promote the protection of the natural wealth of the Durmitor region, and present the tourist potentials of this part of Montenegro .

PROJECT: DURMITOR POWER SAW MASSACRE – in the middle of the year, the NGO «Most» informed the public about the problem of brutal destruction of the forest complex „TMORA“ (named after the coniferous forest, thick, dark and somber– tmorna ) situated on the edge of the Nationaln park „Durmitor“. The NGO „Most“ is warning that during a series of years the most beautiful areas in the vicinity of the Tara canyon are being condstantly destroyed, as well as the hundred years old trees. An especially attractive vacation zone, listed on all touristic maps, Tmora is, by its attraction, one of the favourite vacation areas of national significance. Tmora is situated on the very edge with the National park „Durmitor“, and by all criteria should be a strictly forbidden zone for wood cutting.
The power saw victims comprise 20.000 kubic meters per a year, sold as a cheapl, common raw material, leaving behind a deserted land hardly renewed by nature in a hundred years’ period. On the other hand, forestation of the naked zones has never been organized.

PROJECT: ECO ZONE «DURMITOR» — Durmitor is a region which is, due to its economy oriented to tourism and agriculture, well preserved from the dangerous influences of the modern civilization. It is the modt attractive and the most perspective area in Montenegro, and its significance will be enhanced through this project. The spatial plan extends the Zone outdside the borders of the National park, as according to all the criteria it satisfies the most strict ecological standards. That which was almost destroyed in the uncontrolled industrialization in the developed countries, the object of the whole world’s desire, still exists on Durmitor. Therefore, we think that the whole region of Durmitor should be encompassed by this project, as it absolutely justifies its title: „ECO ZONE DURMITOR“.
Urgent planning of the project and the strategy for its implementation is additionally motivated by the fact that its enormous potentials are not sufficientl y used, and which are under the risk of physical changes – especially alarming is the example of the Tara River.
Tourism only has up to now shown and partly justified its potentials. With the upcoming inevitable privatization, it may be complemented with its basis on Eco tourism, and organic healthy foods production. Such an offer, and extension to rural areas, through services and accomodation, may help the whole chain to remain sustainable and to become promising .
During the realization of the project, one of the priorities was to provide as wide as possible support of the loc al community . The main idea of the project is the transfer of knowledge, ideas and information, and to enable local communities to accomplish independently practical results of each part of the project
Such solutions may stimulate the revival of old crafts, organization of ehtno villages, handweorks and small economy, with visible economic results.
If such concept of the development of this part of Montenegro is adopted, each product may be marked with the Eco Zone Durmitor inscription, a specific quality mark.

River Tara is the longest Montenegrin river (141 km).
 

Its source is below Mount Komovo.

Tara is a great river with wild waters. It flows from Mojkovac between high Mountains until it joins the River Piva.

 

There it has cut a great canyon, 82 km in length and which is in some places 1300 m deep. After the Colorado canyon this is the longest and deepest canyon in the world.
Because of the fascinating beauty of these natural surroundings on 17th January 1977 UNESCO in its programme

he River Tara an ecological reserve of the biosphere world

sign on the petition to save the river Tara – potpisi peticiju za spasenje rijeke Tare
sign on the petition to save  the river Tarasign on the petition to save the river Tara – potpisi peticiju za spasenje rijeke Tare

In 1976. Tara river canyon was proclaimed a UNESCO reserve as a part of Man and Biosphere Programme (MaB) and thus received special protection from the international community. As a part of Durmitor mountain National Park, Tara river canyon received yet another degree of protection by being proclaimed UNESCO’s World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site and included in UNESCO’s World Natural and Cultural Heritage List.


In 1991. Republic of Montenegro added a special decree to its constitution which defines it as an Ecological State and stating that all project documents dedicated to different development kstrategies must be based the concepts of sustainable development and conservation.

During the session of 29 th April 2004. Government of Republic of Montenegro ratified the Agreement with Government of Republika Srpska concerning the construction of hydroelectric power dam “Buk Bijela”. On 30 th Aprli 2004. Government of Republika Srpska opened a tender concerning the construction of “Buk Bijela” hydroelectric power dam. Information about dam construction was very scarce and only appeared in tiny articles in daily newspapers. The international conventions about providing access to information concerning environment protection (the Aarhus process) have been completely ignored. No information whatsoever can be obtained from the Ministry of Economics or any other Government agency.

There were no comments from the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Urban Development, the institution that is in charge of issuing an approval of the study about environmental impact of dam’s construction and the consequences that flooding Europe’s two most beautiful canyons would provoke. The Durmitor Mountain massive is formed, connected and divided by seven big canyons: Tara river canyon and canyons of Piva, Komarnica, Grabovica, Dragi { nica, Draga and Su { ica rivers and also Bukovica, Tu { inja, Bijela and [ avnik rivers. It is beyond any doubt that this area will become the main target of energy producing lobby’s attack and destruction. If they cross the line of destroying the Tara canyon, nothing can stop them.

It is a lie to claim that Montenegro will profit from the construction of the dam. There will be no profit at all. Those who think it is better to use electrical energy that is produced in Montenegro should know it would not be cheaper than energy imported from Bulgaria; it will have the same market price as everywhere in Europe and the Balkans. The hydroelectric plant will belong for a period of 30+20 years to those who invested in its construction and the power will be sold at prices determined by the owner.


In some 30 years pass, all the machinery at the dam will have to be replaced, which will cost as much as a new dam, and Montenegro will have to pay for foreign electrical power at foreign prices, at the cost of Montenegro’s water and mutilated natural heritage.

There are other reasons against the construction of the dam and “drowning” of Tara, Piva and Sutjeska rivers. In the Proposal of Energy Efficiency Strategy for Montenegro there is a fact that Montenegro’s energetic system has a 30 % reserve. The damages to the very energetic system through negative effects on the existing Piva hydroelectricl dam would be immense. There are other, much better ideas for tapping the energetic potential of Piva and Tara rivers. The renewable energy resources are being ignored and society’s creative energy is being given an uncreative and non-productive direction. Other watersheds exist, as well as a project for the second phase of Pljevlja thermoelectric power plant which would paradoxally even solve many of Pljevlja’s environmental problems. The project of “Buk Bijela” hydroelectric power dam gives way to energetic lobby’s irrational behaviour.
“Turbid flows the Tara river, rocks and boulders tumble down it” (from the epic folk song “Marriage of King Vukašin”). The quantity of silt and other material that Tara carries would make the water grey, dirty and ugly, making impossible any mention of beauty, and destroying every perspective of tourism, ecotourism, village tourism, rafting or any similar activity in this region. In 50 years, when torrents fill the hydroelectric plant’s accumulation lake with eroded material, the dam would be destroyed, leaving behind a hellish wasteland.

The people would leave the place long before that.
This would be the closure to the deterioration of the whole region because Tara is the main artery that unites its ecosystems. Any disturbance would ruin any chances of sustainable development and would serve as an introduction for exploiting the natural resources in the fashion of South America’s poorest countries. The negative advertising effects for an “environmentally conscious state” that destroyed the most beautiful river it had cannot be imagined.
Let us recall 1974, when another invasion of Tara was stopped by placing a ban on the emission of waste waters of Brskovo zinc and lead plant from Mojkovac into Tara. At the same time construction of hydroelectric power dam at Tara was stopped. Were the people who achieved this conscious of the importance of their deed? We can’t tell. But we can say that the feeling for truth has overcome the blunt enterpreneur spirit and fake promises of better future. Only now can we understand the good those honourable people achieved when the death sentence for Tara was cancelled. They were optimistic, claiming that in the next 50 years there will be new energy sources; we claim the same, because they really exist.

Tara is globally renowned as scientific relic and a natural attraction that can bring more money than 20 hydroelectric dams. We will be left without unrepeatable places that succeeded in conserving their unique wildlife for thousands of years. One part of the canyon shelters a globally important insect refuge and remains mostly unexplored. There are many other relict plant and animal species that still haven’t been discovered and investigated. There is some natural law that preserved the relict species in the canyon. The submersion of the canyon would lead to a complete change of its microclimate and a violent change of its ecosystems.
It is difficult to paint in words, picture or verse the immensity of the sight the canyon offers – it is something that must be seen, felt and lived. One is usually left speachless by the sight. “But I have never yet seen a man or woman that expected to see anything like it”. There are 1097 from the top of Curovac view point to the bottom of the canyon, the neighbouring Veliki Štuoc peak towering 1572 over the river.
“From its steep sides appears the magnificent view of the horrors of eternal destruction and eternal drama of geological history… The unmeasurable duration of these processes will be felt even stronger by those who investigate them through the gigantic proportions of natural creation…

One approaches the edge with caution and excitement, timidly glancing down into the steep and awesome abyss with a winding emerald-coloured river barely visible at its bottom. From this distance Tara neither sounds nor looks wild, flowing gracefully through a zigzag of rocks and precipices overgrown with woods.
It is only natural that the river should catch your eye, being the creator of this sight and an indirect cause of your delight. Assuming that he has the necessary knowledge of historical geology, the spectator could read much from the canyon walls, and the story would be interesting and breathtakingly exciting. Therefore it is not enough merely to observe the canyon, you must also understand it. From its edge the man can only speculate that a great drama has happened here, but he can not easily see and fathom the duration of geological formation of Earth’s crust and life on Earth. Therefore he must come to the canyon’s bottom, to the very river, and study the rocks. But even if he does not have the appropriate knowledge, that would not prevent him from admiring the natural beauty of the canyon.” 

We are beginning a campaign to raise money for the ransom of the life of Tara river, and let the international organizations then manage the canyon for the wellbeing of everyone in this world.

We call upon all individuals, organizations and institutions to protect our planet on Tara river by protecting Tara river all around the planet. What shall we do without Tara, what shall we do without our soul?

Let power plants produce electrical energy, leaving Tara to be the energy of our souls.

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