A Campaign to Save Montenegro’s Mountains from NATO

March 10th, 2023 - by World BEYOND War

Sinjajevina in Words and Pictures

World BEYOND War

SINJAJEVINA, Montenegro (March 1, 2023) — Obrad Miličić, aged 60, stands alert and watchful at the entrance to the koliba (a typical local construction) he built in 1972.

He believes that the Montenegran government should support young people who want to work in the mountains of Sinjajevina. They could, for example, build better roads to facilitate the trade in local products between the highlands and the villages and towns in the area.

Here’s a Summary of the
Campaign to Save Sinjajevina

The Sinjajevina-Durmitor massif in northern Montenegro is one of the largest mountain pastures in Europe, with a unique biodiversity that has co-evolved with local pastoralism over millennia.

In 2019, only two years after its accession to NATO, Montenegro inaugurated a military training range in Sinjajevina — with USA, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, and North Macedonia troops. All without any public environmental, socio-economic, or health impact studies, against will of the affected pastoralist populations and a majority of the country’s public opinion.

In 2020, an anti-NATO petition with more than 20,000 signatures, forced the government to place the militarization project in standby until today.

In fact, the Balkan country is also in the process of joining the European Union and is extolling its affiliation with the new European Green Deal, which at the same time contravenes what it is doing in Sinjajevina.

Thus, the EU and the current accession process seem for the moment to be the best guarantor of the present brake on the military project, while the case of Sinjajevina becomes a perfect example of the strength that affected local communities can tap by connecting nationally and internationally.

The beauty of Sinjajevina’s unspoiled mountain pastures can be seen here.

Background on our ongoing campaign to protect the mountains of Sinjajevina from a NATO military training ground is available here.

We’re making some progress toward protecting the mountains of Sinjajevina from being turned into a military training ground. This week, Save Sinjajevina met with the Montenegran Environmental Protection Agency and representatives of two municipalities (Kolasin and Mojkovac) and agreed to take a series of steps towards the declaration of Sinjajevina as a Regional Nature Park.

Meetings are planned with two more municipalities (Zabljak and Savnik) and with the Ministry of Ecology.

But NATO has not given up. It sent troops to Sinjajevina in February, and plans to do so again in May.

ACTION ALERT: We need funding to bring a representative of Save Sinjajevina to Brussels and Washington to make the case for not destroying these mountains and the land-based pastoral communities that live in them.

We want to call your attention to two new, related publications.

This one is mostly beautiful photos: “Sinjajevina, the threatened paradise: the shadow of a NATO firing range looms over an oasis of biodiversity,” while this one is in Spanish and has to be purchased: “Sinjajevina: una destrucción ecocultural en el contexto de la adhesión de Montenegro a la Europa verde.”

For background information, a petition to sign, a form to donate, and photos and videos, go to https://worldbeyondwar.org/sinjajevina