A Living River in Marseille at World Water Forum 6

World Water Forum

Held once every three years, the World Water Forum is the largest privately-organized gathering of water officials in the world. It is not a UN-organized event, but developed and managed by the World Water Council, a consortium of mostly private companies active in the water and sanitation sector. The most recent forum was held in Marseille, France in March 2012. Previous Fora were held in Morocco (1997), the Netherlands (2000), Japan (2003), Mexico (2006), and Istanbul (2009).

The World Water Fora are usually dominated by industry executives and government bureaucrats - the World Water Mafia - keen on advocating for more dirty, risky dams and water privatization. International Rivers has attended almost every water forum to convey the message that large dams are not green, and will not solve the water, energy, and climate challenges facing people and the planet. Water and river movements have always organized alternative water events in parallel with the official events - and International Rivers has always supported those events. 

International Rivers sent our Policy Program Coordinator to the most recent World Water Forum, and the Alternative Water Forum, in Marseille in March 2012. He was part of an international contingent of experts and activists from Vietnam, Turkey, China, Togo, Colombia, France, Italy, Uganda, Brazil, and many more who rejected the Forum's greenwashing of dams through the promotion of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol, and conveyed the message "Large Dams are Not Green".

In Istanbul in 2009, International Rivers, Friends of the Earth International and Oxfam Australia also launched the Free Rivers Award. This award was presented to Turkish group, Hasankeyf'i Yaşatma Girişimi, for their efforts to protect the Tigris River and support communities that depend on it from the construction of the Ilisu Dam.