Representatives of nine organizations from Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Chile and Spain signed the Jadar Declaration on international solidarity in the struggle against lithium exploitation and in environmental protection. The document is a basis for mutual support, cooperation, exchanging information and help against the expansion of lithium ore mining and other kinds of extractivism brought by an unjust energy transition motivated by profit, the signatories stressed.
Environmentalist organizations EKO Društvena akcija and Marš sa Drine initiated the signing of the Jadar Declaration and the resulting international cooperation.
The document was signed by Serbian activists Zlatko Kokanović from Ne damo Jadar, Biljana Novaković from Marš sa Drine, Milica Damnjanović from Extinction Rebellion and Aleksandar Matković from EKO Društvena akcija, Portuguese environmentalists Cheila Rodrigues from Extinction Rebellion and Rafaela Aleixo from Fridays for the Future, Ramón Balcázar Morales from Observatorio Plurinacional de Salares Andinos from Chile, Alejandro Palamo Rey from Plataforma Salvemos la Montaña from Spain and Robin Sommer from German organization Sand im Getriebe.
International organization Environmental Justice Atlas, which maps environmental struggles worldwide, announced support for the declaration.
The document was signed in Gornje Nedeljice, a Serbian village known for the resistance of its inhabitants and protests against Rio Tinto’s lithium project. The activists said the other goal of the Jadar Declaration is to include the wider public and other organizations in an international network of solidarity to support every individual in exercising the universal human right to a healthy environment.
International coordination for greater visibility of issues
Aleksandar Matković from EKO Društvena Akcija said the initial idea is to form a network of groups primarily to exchange information between countries where lithium is mined or its ore is extracted in any other way.
The organizations were brought together also by ideas on alternative solutions for the energy transition, the activist revealed and expressed the view there is great significance in criticism of the dominant economic model f0r it.
Community is root of struggle against lithium mining
The political pressure that the villagers are suffering together with the media pressure is also strengthening them, said Bojana Novaković from Marš sa Drine. “The community is the root of the struggle and our struggle depends on the community not selling its land,” she underscored. The activist also highlighted her group’s cooperation with Ne damo Jadar, which gathers people living in the area of Rio Tinto’s project, which is currently on hold.
The dominant narrative normalizes sacrificed zones, activist Bojana Novaković warns
“It is important to understand that this declaration is not against something but that it is a declaration for us, for the villagers, nature, rivers, forests, cooperation, friendship and support,” Novaković added. Lithium is a mineral, not an energy source, she asserted, saying that the claims in the media that lithium would replace fossil fuels makes no sense.
The narrative normalizes “sacrificed zones,” in this case clean and self-sustainable areas that also feed people elsewhere, according to Novaković.