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New Report Sheds Light on World Bank-Backed Kosovo Coal Project

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KOSID Report Reveals the Real Cost of International Coal
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
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Contact: Cindy Carr, (202) 495-3034 or cindy.carr@sierraclub.org

 

***Experts Available for Interview***

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The leaders of the World Bank are meeting this weekend to discuss the global economy, and a civil society group from Kosovo is making sure the hazards of coal are not left out of the conversation by releasing a report on a proposed coal project. The group, the Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development, or KOSID, is shedding light on the Kosovo Power Project (KPP), a proposed 600-megawatt lignite coal-burning power plant, which is backed by the World Bank and the U.S. government. If built, the plant will harm the health and economic well being of Kosovars, as well as leave 7,000 of them without homes. KOSID’s report by Dr. Ted Downing reveals the strain a new coal-burning power plant will place on Kosovars.

 

The report, titled “Does the Kosovo Power Project’s Proposed Forced Displacement of Kosovars Comply with International Involuntary Resettlement Standards?”, shows that in addition to building the coal plant, expanding an open pit coal mining operation, called the New Mining Field (NMF), would be eminent. The expansion would force thousands of Kosovars from their homes and cause joblessness, increased food insecurity, increased health risks, and the loss of civil and human rights.

 

“Building a new coal power plant and NMF would place inordinate strain on the citizens of our young country,” said Visar Azemi, coordinator of Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development. “Instead of working to make Kosovo more competitive among global leaders, our government is trying to lock us into 19th-century energy and decimate the progression of our people.”

 

If the coal plant is constructed, it would result in 825 pollution-related deaths each year and cost the citizens of Kosovo an estimated 100 million euro. At the same time, clean energy is a globally growing industry, creating jobs for Kosovars without the health risks associated with carbon emissions.

 

“At KOSID, we are working to make a cleaner, safer future for our families, friends, and countrymen,” said  Dajana Berisha, the Executive Director for the Forum for Civic Initiatives. “We are urging our government to look past the money and focus on the people. Their families. Their friends. We’re urging them to do what’s right.”

 

“The report shows that World Bank Management misdirected the Kosovo agencies and lawmakers into preparing a noncompliant legal, policy, and institutional scaffolding to guide the anticipated displacement,” Dr. Downing wrote in his executive summary of the report.

 

This issue goes beyond the borders of Kosovo. At such a critical point in history for climate disruption, it is crucial for governments to make commitments to clean energy so as to protect the planet for generations to come.

 

“At a time when international financing institutions and governments are backing away from funding dangerous overseas coal projects, the World Bank is overlooking climate science and the costs of coal on the people of Kosovo,” said John Coequyt, director of the Sierra Club’s International Climate Program. “The World Bank  has a duty to work toward a clean energy future to ensure a safe future for all 188 countries it advocates for.”

 

KOSID representatives available for interview between Tuesday, April 8 through Friday, April 11 between 9 a.m.-5 p.m.:

  • Visar Azemi is the coordinator of the Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development. Before joining KOSID, Mr. Azemi was an electrical engineer, and is currently a faculty member of the University of Maryland.

  • Dajana Berisha is the Executive Director for the Forum for Civic Initiatives. Prior to joining the forum, Ms. Berisha served as an advisor to the public institutions on labor, social and migration policy, to promote active employment policies combined with social assistance for easing the poverty level.

  • Visar Ymeria is a deputy in the Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo. Previously, Ymeria worked in the Pension Savings as a public relations official, and as a journalist for Koha Vision. He holds a degee in sociology from the University of Pristina.

  • Tetua Sahatiqija is the president of the Cross Party Women Parliamentary Caucus and the vice president of  the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Development. She has held political offices since 2004 and has been a speaker at various international conferences, including the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the Rose Roth Seminar in Rome.

 

To arrange an interview, please contact Cindy Carr at (202) 495-3034 or cindy.carr@sierraclub.org.

 

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About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.

 

About KOSID

KOSID is a Consortium of Kosovo’s leading CSOs, from think tanks to independent media organizations to organizations that work with local communities. All member organizations work toward Kosovo’s sustainable development. The idea was to come together under one umbrella and use the skills that each organization harbors individually, to be more efficient in raising important debates for Kosovo’s future. For more information, visit http://www.kosid.org.

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