Conflict Chronology

  • December 2010. EU confirms Montenegro as a candidate country for membership.
  • July 2016. Starts the study for the protection and establishment of a protected area in Sinjajevina, by the Environmental Protection Agency of Montenegro, co-funded by the EU
  • June 2017. Montenegro officially joins NATO as a member state.
  • March 2018. First unofficial news about the plans to create a military ground on Sinjajevina reach local communities.
  • May 2019. Significant public demonstrations in the highlands of Sinjajevina, opposing its militarization.
  • 21 July 2019. Creation of the Coalition for Sustainable Development (KOR) catalyzed by the Sinjajevina uprising, and that becomes the biggest environmental organization in Montenegro.
  • 5 August 2019. About 6,000 signatures of Montenegrin citizens are collected in favor of stopping the military ground, being 3,000 the minimum necessary for the Montenegrin Parliament to accept an issue into debate.
  • 27 September 2019. After ignoring the petition signed by over 3.000 Montenegrins, on 5th September the Government decrees unilaterally the creation of a military training ground in Sinjajevina and on the 27th the 1st international NATO military training is held in Sinjajevina, with no prior consulting process with pastoral communities.
  • October 2019 – Soldiers plant 3.000 aggressive fast-growth conifers in the pastures of Sinjajevina and promise 100.000 more with the apparent intention to “greenwash” the military ground plan. The choice of these fast growing conifers would, in fact, effectively serve as a natural barrier and a way to pressure, limit, or expel the pastoralists from their lands, working at the same time against the conservation of the present rich biodiversity as it is pastoralist dependent.
  • 16-19 November 2019. An international scientific research team presents its works to UNESCO, the European Parliament, and the European Commission, explaining the millenary bio-cultural value of Sinjajevina and the current social and environmental crisis.
  • 24-26 February 2020. A delegation from the EU Parliament visited Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital, to evaluate the evolution of the converging commitments of the Montenegrin Government in the framework of its adhesion talks with the EU, and it asks nation’s parliament to guarantee protection of Sinjajevina’s lands and culture
  • 15 July 2020. The international Save Sinjajevina movement is created and launches a statement to which adhere about 100 organizations worldwide. Two days later a press conference is held in Podgorica about this.
  • 30 August 2020. Elections take place in Montenegro and the party of the Socialist Democratic Party, after 30 years of autocratic rule and in power since the former Yugoslavia (the last one of all its six republics) is defeated and a new coalition of parties (conservatives, liberals and greens) agree to form a future new Government and hopes for the safeguard of Sinjajevina rise exponentially.
  • 6 October 2020. The international Save Sinjajevina movement launches an AVAAZ petition replicated after for further impact by the Land Rights Now campaign (OXFAM, ILC, etc.), along with a press release and a press conference in Podgorica, and a 40 seconds clip explaining the Save Sinjajevina campaign. They all communicated the two key asks: to ensure the removal of the military training ground as a pre-condition for Montenegro’s EU membership, and to create a community protected area in Sinjajevina.
  • 9 October 2020. Farmers from Sinjajevina and local activists demonstrated at the doors of the Montenegrin parliament to urge the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, in official visit to the country, to suspend membership talks with Montenegro until it stops militarizing Sinjajevina.
  • 16 October 2020. People hear that there is a new military training coming up, and a group of about 150 local farmers and environmental and social rights groups set up a protest camp in the heart of the highland pastures of Sinjajevina, at the foot of Margita mountain within the site earmarked for the army, serving as “human shields” and blocking soldiers’ access until December 2020 to stop the Montenegrin army from carrying out mortar shelling and other weapons testing exercises in their traditional lands. At the same time, Thomas Waitz, co-chair of the European Green Party officializes its support to the cause through a key video on twitter.
  • 16 October – 2 December 2020. Many press articles start to appear in the ex-Yugoslav republics (example 1 & example 2) and even in Russia, and the subject slowly permeates to Western media: The Ecologist / Open Democracy / META / Mongabay
  • 2 December 2020. Formation of the new Government of Montenegro with hopes that things will change for Sinjajevina.

About Us is born from a group of scientists, NGOs, farmers, politicians and ordinary citizens that, in favor of the protection of Sinjajevina, wish to provide as much information as possible, for the public recognition of Sinjajevina’s heritage and the current major crisis it is undergoing.

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