Environment and Social Department of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); Civil Society Division of European Investment Bank (EIB); Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina’s public motorway company, JP Autoceste; Independent Accountability Mechanism of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Compliance Mechanism of the European Investment Bank
This petition is run by CEE Bankwatch Network
The Neretva valley in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) must be protected from further damage. One of the most biodiverse corners of Europe is at risk because of the construction of the Corridor Vc motorway.
Before we even discover all the rare and endangered species that live in the Neretva, Buna and Bunica rivers and the caves and mountains of Herzegovina, their habitats could be severely damaged by the motorway planned to go right through them. We need to study and document their unique biodiversity, to even know how much it would be impacted by motorway construction.
We call on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), The Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) and JP Autoceste, the Federation of BiH's motorway company, to suspend any activities on the development of the Corridor Vc sections crossing the Neretva valley until additional baseline biodiversity studies on threatened species and habitats have been carried out, and route alternatives have been considered.
We must act now, because the banks and JP Autoceste are rushing to start construction. If this happens, finding an alternative route less destructive to nature will be out of the question.
Why is this important?
We are in a global crisis of biodiversity loss. The Neretva, Buna and Bunica rivers are of key importance for endangered fish species in Balkans. Still, they lack sufficient legal protection to properly safeguard them.
The endemic softmouth trout and the marble trout could be seriously impacted by building motorway bridges over the rivers. The construction might also impact caves and other karst systems. There is still so much we don’t know about the species that might be living in these precious habitats, like the mysterious olm.
The Corridor Vc motorway is financed by public money from the EBRD, the EIB and The Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). As international public banks, the EBRD and the EIB have the responsibility to uphold the highest standards and ensure their projects do not contribute to the ongoing global climate and biodiversity crises.
We cannot allow destruction of nature of the Neretva valley before we even discover all the species that live in its rivers, springs, caves and mountains. Additional studies on biodiversity are essential to protect endangered species.
A February 2021 report by CEE Bankwatch Network highlighted that mostly outdated or incomplete baseline data on fauna and flora were used to estimate the environmental impact on the unique Buna and Bunica rivers in the Intersection Mostar – Tunnel Kvanj section.
We are concerned that a lack of comprehensive and up-to-date biodiversity data in Bosnia and Herzegovina will enable future subsections of the motorway to go ahead without properly assessing the impacts, such as the section crossing the pristine Prenj Mountain.
Sign the petition and join the defence of the Neretva valley.
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