Coal is the world‘s largest source of energy for generating electricity despite the damage it does to local ecosystems, including air quality, soil, and water.
In the Western Balkans, the expansion of coal power has forced communities to relocate and left others living a precarious existence. Thousands have been affected by land erosion, flooding and worsening air quality. Many have not been re-located or fairly compensated, despite losing their livelihoods, seeing their houses crumbling around them and suffering from coal-related diseases.
Apart from its significant impact on global heating, coal mining and coal power threaten internationally agreed human rights, notably the right to a healthy environment, the right to water, the right to health and the right to food and nutrition.
The Western Balkans has some of Europe‘s highest air pollution levels. Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, source most of their energy from fossil fuels, especially domestically produced coal.
While most of these coal-powered power plants were constructed during the Yugoslavia era, controversies have erupted in recent years over irresponsible Chinese financing of new projects which fall far short of national and international environmental standards.
FIAN International supports local civil society groups and affected communities who are fighting for justice: relocation, fair compensation, legitimate environmental impact assessments and a phasing out of coal power in line with the European Union Green Agenda for the Western Balkans.