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.


Flowing through the heart of North Macedonia, the Vardar River is a vital natural resource of the country. Originating in the Vrutok village on the slopes of the Bistra Mountain, it spans over 388 kilometers before it reaches the Aegean Sea near Thessaloniki in Greece. It is one of the most important rivers in the region, holding immense ecological, cultural, historical, and recreational significance.

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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.



The Nature Conservancy and Public Institution Natura Viva Join Forces to Protect the Mrežnica River in Croatia

By signing the Memorandum of Understanding today, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Public Institution Natura Viva agree to work together on the establishment of new protected areas along the Mrežnica River in Croatia. Apart from jointly contributing to the protection of the river, both organizations recognize the need for new scientific research in the area, joint action toward national-level decision makers, and encouraging local community engagement.



One Step Closer to Veliki Rzav River Special Nature Reserve

In addition to widely-known natural features, southwest Serbia also hides many river pearls, among which the most valuable is the Veliki Rzav River. This is supported by the results of scientific research conducted by the Institute for Nature Protection of Serbia in cooperation with the Ecological Association Rzav over the past four years. Results of the study were published recently on the official website of the Ministry of the Environment, initiating the process of establishing the Veliki Rzav River Special Nature Reserve.