Our Vision and Mission

The geography of Southeast Europe and the abundance of surface and ground water has enabled the evolution of incredible biodiversity, with species you won’t find anywhere else in the world: like the mysterious olm inhabiting subterranean caves of the Dinaric, the extraordinary softmouth trout swimming in the Adriatic rivers, or the elusive stone crayfish.

Carving their way through the hills and the valleys of the region, rivers have shaped our societies as well. They have left a mark on our past and are shaping our future, giving us life and a sense of identity. However, rivers in the region are at risk. They are facing ever-increasing threats like pollution, habitat destruction, climate change, and unsustainable development. They are part of a worrying trend: since 1970, 83% of freshwater species and 30% of freshwater ecosystems around the world have been lost.

That is why seven partners working across five countries joined the United for Rivers Coalition. Together, we are working to preserve our freshwater treasures for future generations and show that our well-being and social and economic development can go hand in hand with river protection. Together, we can create a region where both nature and people thrive.

The map is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.


The Neretva River is steeped in legend, a place that has fascinated humans since the earliest prehistory. According to some, the name of the river comes from the ancient Illyrian name Nera-Etwa meaning “Divinity that flows”. A fitting name for a river that has inspired artists, poets, and scientists throughout history.

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Montenegro’s Bistrica River Joins Growing List of Legally Protected Rivers in the Western Balkans

The Municipal Assembly of Bijelo Polje voted today to bolster the status of Đalovića Gorge as a Natural Monument, marking a significant milestone for sustainable river protection in Montenegro. Strengthening the gorge’s status as a Natural Monument is also a key victory for durable freshwater protection under the United for Rivers initiative.



Karlovac County Assembly Votes for the Protection of the Mrežnica and Tounjčica Rivers

In a groundbreaking decision, the Karlovac County Assembly has officially confirmed the protection of the Mrežnica and Tounjčica rivers in Croatia and the establishment of two new protected areas, marking a significant milestone in the county’s nature conservation efforts.


Regional Initiative Aims to Protect Up to 400 Kilometres of Rivers Across Southeast Europe

United for Rivers, a regional initiative dedicated to protecting 13 rivers across Southeast Europe, was launched today. By prioritizing the engagement of local communities, The Nature Conservancy and six partners from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia aim to safeguard the ecological, social, and cultural values of freshwater ecosystems in the region by establishing new river protected areas.