Environment

Bern Convention’s Bureau closely monitors possible relaunch of Jadar project in Serbia

Bern Convention Rio Tinto Jadar project earh thrive complaint

Photo: Protect Jadar and Rađevina association/Facebook

Published

June 16, 2022

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Published:

June 16, 2022

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The Bureau of the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats has decided to put on standby the complaint from domestic and European NGOs against the Government of Serbia regarding the Jadar lithium project. It will closely monitor further developments and activate the complaint if the project is restarted, Earth Thrive said.

The decision of the Bureau of the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats is very important for the locals and NGOs as they doubt the project is really terminated, which is what the Government of Serbia has announced. Of note, Rio Tinto recently said it is ready to renegotiate its Jadar project.

Zoe Lujić, founder and director of Earth Thrive, and Marija Alimpić from the Protect Jadar and Rađevina association told Balkan Green Energy News that the bureau is concerned about significant negative effects the construction of lithium mines would have on protected wild species and habitats.

The complaint was filed by Earth Thrive, the Earth Law Center and the Protect Jadar and Rađevina activist group

Serbia is a signatory to the Bern Convention, which is legally binding. The complaint against the government regarding Rio Tinto’s project was filed by Earth Thrive in cooperation with the Earth Law Center and local association Protect Jadar and Rađevina.

They filed the complaint in September of last year, warning of potential risks to protected species in the area where the exploitation and processing of jadarite ore were planned. A few weeks before the response deadline, in late January, the Serbian government decided to suspend the project.

The Bureau of the Bern Convention put the case on standby and told the Ministry of Environmental Protection in a letter that it is ready to reactivate it if the project is restarted.

With such attention and support, profit has no chance

The bureau also asked the government to submit a report on the progress of the cancellation of the Jadar project. It also asked for regular reports on its status.

Earth Thrive said the bureau made the best decision in the given circumstances. It was a small legal step forward towards permanent protection of the area in which the mine was planned, according to the organization, which pointed out it is its ultimate goal.

Local communities and organizations across the country and beyond are closely monitoring the situation with the Jadar project, and now the bureau is closely following what is happening, Earth Thrive said and added that with such attention and support, “profit has no chance.”

A turning point in the defense of Serbia from harmful technologies

According to Marija Alimpić, the bureau will discuss the complaint in April 2023, and she expects it to adopt the final decision.

The potential decision could be used to defend all parts of Serbia endangered by harmful technologies, she added.

The environmentalists claimed in the complaint that Serbia has not provided adequate and necessary legal and administrative measures to protect wild species of flora and fauna including those on the Bern Convention’s list.

The mine would cause widespread negative impacts on animals, plants and natural habitats, and particularly worrying are the impacts on the 68 species protected by the convention that live between the Tršić-Tronoš Landscape of Outstanding Features and the Natura 2000 / Emerald Landscape of the Cer mountain and Lower Podrinje (RS023IBA), the complaint reads.

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