Expansion of US / NATO Military Footprint
Sinjajevina is the Balkans’ biggest mountain grassland and a place of outstanding beauty. It is used by more than 500 families of farmers and nearly 3,000 people. Many of its pastures are governed communally by eight different Montenegrin tribes, and the Sinjajevina plateau is part of the Tara Canyon Biosphere Reserve at the same time as it is bordered by two UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Now the environment and the livelihoods of those traditional communities are in imminent danger: the Montenegrin government, supported by important NATO allies, established a military training ground in the very heart of these community lands, despite thousands of signatures against it and without any environmental, health, or socio-economic impact assessments. Severely threatening Sinjajevina's unique ecosystems and local communities, the government has also halted a planned regional park for the protection and promotion of nature and culture, the majority of whose project design cost of almost 300,000 Euros was paid by the EU, and which was included in Montenegro's official spatial plan until 2020.
Montenegro wants to be part of the European Union, and the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement is leading those conversations. The Commissioner must urge the Montenegrin government to meet European standards, close the military training ground, and create a protected area in Sinjajevina, as preconditions to join the EU.
The local people have put their bodies in the way and prevented military exercises on their land -- an amazing victory! The movement was awarded the War Abolisher of 2021 Award. But they need our help to make their success permanent and end all efforts to build a NATO military base or training area in Montenegro.
Information from World Beyond War 15 June 2022