PR – Executive Director Jason Rainey Stepping Down

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Berkeley, US: Today International Rivers announces that Jason Rainey will step down as Executive Director on March 1, 2015. “It’s been a great honor to serve with such a highly respected and singularly important organization for the past several years. International Rivers has an urgent mandate, an exceptionally talented staff and Board, and is now globally positioned to meet our mission to protect rivers and defend the rights and livelihoods of river-dependent people,” said Mr. Rainey. 

Monti and Jason stand with 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Ruth Buendía after the Women Water Guardians ceremony in Mill Valley on April 27, 2014.
Jason and Monti stand with 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Ruth Buendía after the Women Water Guardians ceremony in Mill Valley on April 27, 2014.
Photo by Shaun Sakya/International Rivers

For 30 years, International Rivers has continually adapted to the challenging forces and ever-changing landscape that impacts our world’s most important rivers and the people and ecosystems dependent upon them. In 2011, in response to the shifting power centers of global dam building, International Rivers expanded a strategic initiative to globalize our organization – establishing new offices and programs in the Americas, Africa and throughout Asia.

“Jason joined International Rivers in 2011 to lead our efforts to expand and strengthen the organization’s capacity and effectiveness in the emergent dam-building hotspots around the world,” said Deborah Moore, Chair of International Rivers’ Board of Directors. “In his time here, Jason has doubled our regionally-based program staff, formally established offices in five countries outside the US, hired a policy analyst based in Washington DC, and helped us start to internationalize our Board,” she continued. “We are grateful for his passionate commitment and his contributions to International Rivers.”

While dam-building fever has expanded greatly in recent years, International Rivers – and our strategy for more direct support of local and regional community groups – has resulted in many high-profile destructive dams being shelved, including megadams planned on the Irrawaddy, upper Amazon, and the rivers of Patagonia

Since Rainey joined in 2011, International Rivers has also strongly influenced global dam-building actors: we compelled the world’s largest dam builder – China’s Sinohydro – to adopt stringent environmental and social safeguards; we’ve pushed back on the World Bank’s re-emergence in dam-building by successfully advocating to cut US support for large dams overseas; and we’ve organized an international coalition to shift climate financing away from destructive dams and into truly renewable and sustainable energy pathways.

From our regional offices, International Rivers is not only working with local groups to stop the most destructive dams, but is also organizing coalitions to reform national policies around hydropower development and energy sector planning, and illuminating the ecological and economic benefits of healthy, free-flowing rivers. 

In 2014, under Rainey’s initiative and direction, International Rivers released the State of the World’s Rivers interactive web atlas to wide media attention. It serves as a platform for International Rivers to foster a dialogue and process for evaluating the tipping points for global river change, and for developing an international response to the deepening crisis of the planetary-scale loss of the ecological functions and services that healthy rivers provide.

As International Rivers’ operations have evolved – and the threats to the world’s rivers, their people and their ecosystems continue to diversify and escalate – this is an opportune time to explore options to best meet the unique needs of the diverse cultures we serve – and their differing legal and political systems.

The Board has established a Search Committee to lead the process to find and transition to a new Executive Director. As the organization celebrates a 30-year track record of success in 2015, International Rivers is poised to continue to internationalize the organization and extend our impact for years to come. Our talented team of Board and staff are experienced in non-profit governance and organizational development and will keep International Rivers – and the world’s rivers – flowing when Mr. Rainey steps down on March 1.

Please join the Board and staff of International Rivers in celebrating Jason Rainey’s accomplishments and leadership and thank him for his commitment and passionate dedication to International Rivers’ mission. We wish him well in his next endeavor. 

Information about the position will be posted soon. Comments, questions or suggestions can be directed to Deborah Moore, Board Chair.

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