Goal 1: Strengthen the Movement for Healthy Rivers

For the next week, we'll be exploring the six goals that will guide our work for the next five years, as part of the launch of our new Strategic Plan. Read the whole series! 

A commitment to building a global movement to protect rivers comes from the very headwaters of International Rivers. 

In 1985, a small group of volunteers had a vision: to develop a worldwide network of people working to protect rivers. One of our founders, Mark Dubois, had experienced a crushing defeat when New Melones Dam was built on California’s Stanislaus River. On a subsequent trip around the world, Dubois discovered a huge number of communities were also fighting destructive large dam projects, and they were looking for support. Ever since, we have partnered with activists and communities around the world to share knowledge and tactics as we defend the world’s most iconic rivers.

Our most notable victories for river protections have emerged from fights against destructive dams. These have often been collective achievements, strengthened through diversity, and the result of strong and interconnected movements. They have often drawn together unexpected or non-traditional allies. Now, almost everywhere that a river is threatened, there is an organized local movement working to protect the river.

But while global challenges such as climate change and deforestation have benefitted from sustained, concerted campaigns to raise awareness and articulate solutions, global consensus in the fight to protect freshwater resources remains under-developed and fragmented. This presents us with a challenge: How can we further strengthen river movements so that we can create this global consensus?

Over the years, we have organized three “Rivers for Life” meetings, which brought together river activists from around the world. In Spring 2017, International Rivers collaborated with CEE Bankwatch, a close European partner, to convene the Georgia River Gathering, which brought together over 80 leading river activists from 37 countries.

We know that strong movements are needed to achieve the scale of transformative change for river conservation that we seek. In the next five years, we’ll be supporting the growth and interconnection of these movements. Strong movements need to be made up of capable, networked, informed and well-resourced community partners, NGOs, informal groups, academics, individuals and allies who are committed to a shared goal. These movements will prioritize indigenous rights and leadership and will ensure that women and men are engaged and in leadership roles. And together, we’ll make progress on a new vision for the world’s rivers.

Goal 1: By 2022, river movements around the world will be connected, informed and working in solidarity. These movements will comprise diverse civil society partners rooted in communities and they will be effective in protecting rivers and community rights in each major river basin.

Monday, October 2, 2017