Transboundary river Aoos declared a Protected Area in its entirety
The Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy has proceeded to designate the remaining Greek part of the river.
The Ministry of Environment and Energy has moved an important step forward, by designating the remaining part of the transboundary River Aoos as a Protected Landscape and Natural Formation.
Aoos is a river passing through northwestern Greece and southwestern Albania.
The designation covers the last part of the river that was not considered a protected landscape, from the borders of the North Pindos National Park to the border between Greece and Albania.
This is a very important achievement both for the international alliance "Save the Blue Heart of Europe" and for a large number of activists and researchers, who have been fighting for decades to preserve one of the last large and free-flowing rivers in Europe.
After the designation of the Albanian part of Aoos (Vjosa) as a National Park in March 2023, the coordinated and multi-year efforts of Civil Society organizations MedINA, Pindos Environmental, The Green Tank, EuroNatur, Riverwatch, EcoAlbania, IUCN, along with many partners from Greece and abroad, contributed to the Greek authorities' decision to institutionally protected the river basin in its entirety.
The designation of the area as a Protected Natural Formation and a Protected Landscape is the first step.
The next step to ensure institutional protection is the issuance of a relevant decision by the Minister of Environment and Energy, which will set special conditions and restrictions for the exercise of activities in the area. This will immediately ensure the free flow of parts of the main rivers and tributaries of the Aoos hydrographic network and will lay the foundations for the integrated conservation and management of the river basin, but it is not enough to fully protect it.
The full protection of the Aoos river will be ensured by upgrading the area's protection to a National Park, through the extension of the boundaries of the Northern Pindos National Park towards the Greece-Albania border. By doing this, the river basin will be included in a single protection regime that could then be merged with the neighboring Vjosa National Park, in order to establish the first Transboundary Wild River National Park in Europe.