How We Work

International Rivers works to protect rivers and rights, and promote real solutions for meeting water, energy and flood management needs.

This is how we do it:

Building the Movement and Empowering Civil Society
We have played a central role in building the global river protection movement and continually work to broaden and strengthen its reach. We foster grassroots organizations in more than 60 countries and promote the leadership of our regional partners by providing technical and strategic advice, and bringing them together at international meetings.

Changing the Terms of the Debate
We work to reform the top-down and opaque decision-making processes that have traditionally accompanied large infrastructure projects. We make sure that important social and environmental issues don’t get swept under the rug, and that affected communities meaningfully participate in decisions that affect their lives. We provide critical analysis for dam opponents and bring the concerns of local communities to the attention of dam funders as part of our efforts to reform their policies and practices.

We seek to block the hydropower industry’s efforts to exploit concerns over climate change. We also raise awareness of greenhouse gas emissions from dam reservoirs and the impact of climate change on the performance and safety of dams.

Stopping Destructive Projects and Addressing Legacies
We coordinate international campaigns to discourage financial, government and industry support of harmful river projects. We hold responsible parties accountable for the damages caused by dams by advocating for social reparations, ecological restoration and decommissioning of existing dams.

Raising Awareness
Through publications, presentations and media outreach, we raise the visibility of the deplorable environmental, economic and human rights impacts of large dams and the viability of better options. We provide information on a wide range of water and energy issues and we put journalists in contact with people directly affected by destructive river projects.

Promoting Solutions
We generate awareness that efficiency and small-scale, decentralized and renewable solutions are essential for meeting water and energy needs, alleviating poverty and protecting the planet. We promote the best water and energy options and the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams for energy and water planning.