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This platform has been created under the Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans,which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the UNDP

ReLOaDing COMMUNITY ACTION FOR WATER RESILIENCE: CONFRONTING CLIMATE CHANGES IN MONTENEGRO

Climate change isn’t a distant image of melting icebergs or rising oceans—it’s an immediate and everyday reality that affects each of us. As we celebrate World Rivers Day, it’s a timely reminder to rethink our approach to water management.

The UN World Water Report 2023 warns – we need to enhance cooperation across sustainable development dimensions to accelerate progress. This is exactly where ReLOaD efforts shine.

The science is clear – Montenegro’s iconic Durmitor glacier will vanish within three decades. Water balance in all river basins in Montenegro will decrease by almost 30%. These are not random numbers but a forewarning of dire consequences. Hydroelectric plants, lush forests, and even fish stocks hang in the balance.

In the western part of the country, the municipalities of Nikšić and Plužine face unique hydrological challenges. Climate breakdown will likely hit hard here, but the NGO Young Ecologists Society is sparking change. They’ve rallied institutions, academia, and civil groups into a local partner group. Together, they’re creating a digital knowledge hub to arm their community with the capacity to prevent climate change.

In the scope of the ReLOaD project, they are also currently working on a case study that should clearly show the impact of climate change on the area and the projection of future events. Picture vanishing species, ecosystems flipped on their heads, and a complete shift of vegetation zones. It’s a future that’s closer than we think, the first results of the study warned.

 If you want to learn from them or join the Young Ecologists Society, follow them at: https://www.facebook.com/drustmovladihekologa.niksic

Not even the area of the river Tara is protected. The citizens of Polja, a settlement near Mojkovac, joined together and through ReLOaD grant got support for the arrangement of the thematic trail “Springs” a length of 7 kilometers on the slopes of Sinjajevina. This NGO restored three natural sources of drinking water to their purpose and arranged a mountain path leading to them as well as a viewpoint as a resting place.

Journalists from Montenegrin media outlets, the Mayor of Mojkovac Municipality, as well as representatives of the European Union and UNDP, visited the trail this summer

The trail has not only a tourist and recreational purpose, but also an educational one, bearing in mind that the information boards talk about the importance of preserving natural springs, but also about the importance of preserving protected watercourses, such as the Tara River.

Your journey begins here: https://goo.gl/maps/ErPcv7ZaRW7b9mRh8

Down south, the ‘River Zeta’ Nature Park brims with potential. But it’s a tightrope walk—development without harming aquatic life. NGO Visit Danilovgrad has mastered the art. Tubing, kayaks, human catapults, and electric vessels offer thrills without spills. Their volunteers regularly clean the banks of the river and most importantly – they educate children on the importance of environmental care. Within the ReLOaD2 grant, they have also prepared research and guidelines for future actions, as water-related tourism has to be sustainable

Want to dive in? Follow them on their journey https://www.instagram.com/visitdanilovgrad/

Enjoyment on the Zeta river

This isn’t just about climate change; it’s about empowering communities to rewrite their own fate, what the core of ReLOaD is after all. Only resilient communities are forging a path towards a sustainable and secure future for all.

ReLOaD2 programme is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP and fourteen local self-governments in Montenegro, divided into five clusters.

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