2012: Europe and Middle East

Bahrain, Czech Republic, France, Iran, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Daral River Conservation Meeting
Daral River Conservation Meeting

On March 22nd, in honor of the International Day of Action for Rivers, the Institute for Education and Development held a meeting to discuss the threats of the Daral River hydropower project planned by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The meeting included more than sixty community elders, civil society representatives, and journalists. Participants discussed how to stop the government from carrying through with the plans, such as with media campaigns, lobbying with the government, filing a petition to make the government enter a dialogue with community members over the issue, and raising funds for the campaign.  These meetings have been taking place since 2009.

More information:

Zubair Torwali
Coordinator, Environmental Protection Network, and
Executive Director, Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi (Institute for Education and Development)

Czech Republic
Demonstration on Elbe River
Demonstration on Elbe River

Actions in Defense of Elbe River Ecosystem

The Czech Republic has proposed to build a dam on the Elbe River, in the Elbe Canyon - an area qualified by the European Commission in 2011 as a part of European Natura 2000 network of protected areas.

The Arnika - Nature Conservation Program organized a demonstration around the theme, "Nature says, 'If you do not want to protect me, I will pack my bags and take off!'" to convey the government's neglect of the environment. Participants dressed up as beaver, otters, and salmon, which are all native to the area, holding suitcases. The group also presented their demands that the Minister of the Environment add localities such as the Elbe Canyon back onto the Natura 2000 list after they were removed from it in order to build the dam.

To view more photos, visit: http://arnika.org/priroda-bali-kufry-2

Vlastimil Karlik
Arnika - Nature Conservation Program

Anti-Greenwashing actions in Marseille
Anti-Greenwashing actions in Marseille

Alternative World Water Form and Anti-Greenwashing Action

On March 14th, activists, including an International Rivers coordinator, came together at the Alternative World Water Forum in Marseille, France, to protest and raise awareness of the greenwashing of dams taking place at the 6th World Water Forum by governments and corporations. The actions focused on the proposed Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP), which allows dam-builders to build and implement dams without meeting existing environmental and social standards, and has no binding power of its own. 

In addition to trying to enter the World Water Forum on March 12th to shed light on the greenwashing of dams, on March 14th a demonstration was organized. Using a large inflatable dam, a river of fabric and bucket of green paint, activists demonstrated the destructive nature of large dams and the greenwashing process.

See some photos from the action.

Read Zachary's blog about the events in Marseille

Zachary Hurwitz
Policy Program Coordinator, International Rivers
Email: zachary@internationalrivers.org


Gathering and Media Outreach

For the 4th consecutive year of participation in the Day of Action for Rivers, a gathering was held, in which participants wrote and submitted letters to newspapers and magazines about the gathering and dam issues in Iran.

Abbas Mohammadi
Director, Mountain Watch Group


Acampamento Acuta: 8 days of Creative Resistance

Over 100 people gathered in a tent village for eight days along the Tua River in Portugal, in creative resistance against the construction of the Foz-Tua Dam.  The project, if completed, will drown one of the last pristine river valleys in Portugal, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, compromise the quality of agricultural soils and local water quality. The camp was so close to the construction site that dynamite explosions could be heard through the valley. A variety of creative actions took place, including walking to the construction site with a 10 meter sign that read, ““Not one more damn – act now”, a gathering outside the gates of the construction site in attempt to stop work vehicles from entering, musical protests, and the planting of an oak tree with a plaque that reads, “Grow Resist Actua." In addition to protesting the project, the camp was also an experiment in sustainable communities. A solar panel and produce from local family farms was donated to the camp, and a collective decision-making system was used.

More information:


Campaign Against the Yesa Dam

Asociación Río Aragón (the River Aragón Association) organized a day of struggle against the expropriation of lands in the Artieda municipality, caused by expansion of the reservoir behind Yesa Dam.

There was a cyclethon of protest, and two exhibitions: one about the 27-year long struggle against the dam, and a photo exhibition by David Ozkoidi called, "The Phantom of the Pyrenees."

Watch a video on the events (in Spanish).

View photos.

More information:

Demonstration in front of UN in Geneva
Demonstration in front of UN in Geneva

Campaign Against Malaysian Dam-Boom

The Bruno Manser Fonds, a Swiss NGO supporting the indigenous people in Sarawak in their fight for their rights, protested on March 14 in front of the UN in Geneva, against the construction of twelve dams in Sarawak, Malaysia. The dams would displace tens of thousands of indigenous people and flood hundreds of square miles of their ancestral lands. They gathered in front the United Nations, and delivered a petition with almost 6000 signatures against the planned dams to the Malaysian Embassy in Geneva.

Anna Meier

United Kingdom

In honor of the International Day of Action for River, The Guardian posted a slideshow titled, "Controversial Dam Projects -- in pictures." View the slideshow.

Please email us with your plans for this year's International Day of Action For Rivers at dayofaction@internationalrivers.org.