protect rivers

A global call to protect rivers and rights

International Rivers, Rivers without Boundaries and other partners are seeking our active support in a global call to protect rivers for a just and green recovery, at – sign up!

Hydropower – the false “green” energy

This global action focuses on calling out and confronting efforts to use the post-COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery to push for more destructive dams and prop up the ailing hydropower industry. At the same time, it highlights alternative pathways for a truly “green recovery” through river protection and other nature-based solutions, valuing community-based initiatives, that should be supported by governments and financiers.

Global Call to protect rivers and rights

The intention is to send the global call to financiers, governments of dam-building countries, international organizations, and publicize it widely in social and traditional media.

The IRF supports this initiative and hopes you’ll join us in signing the statement, and circulating widely to partners, networks and the media. You can endorse the call as an individual. Or you can endorse the call as an organisation, as we, the IRF have. But don’t do nothing, do something!

We must rethink the future of our environment and tackle climate change and environmental degradation with ambition and urgency. Only then can we protect the health, livelihoods, food security and nutrition of all people, and ensure that our ‘new normal’ is a better one.” 

– Joint statement by ILO, FAO, IFAD, and WHO

“Rivers for Recovery” report

The global call is supported by a concise but informative “Rivers for Recovery” report. This report explores the urgent need for river protection during the pandemic and beyond, overcoming the troubling legacy of large dams, and the availability of truly sustainable and just energy and development options. The report supports the global call in demanding a recovery that is rooted in climate justice and that protects our rivers as critical lifelines –- supporting biodiversity, water supply, food production, Indigenous peoples, and diverse populations around the world –- rather than damming and polluting them in pursuit of profit and economic growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting public health and economic crises are devastating populations around the globe, affecting marginalized and vulnerable groups most acutely. Many countries are already delivering and planning additional rounds of economic stimulus so as to kick start economic recovery. But while they are doing that, now is also the time for them to be focussing and taking action against Climate Change and ensuring what they do has a positive effect on everyone’s future.

What is the Global Call to protect rivers?

We call for a green economic recovery that:
  • Puts a moratorium on new hydropower dams

  • Upscales investment in non-hydropower renewables and storage

  • Upgrades efficiency of existing hydropower in lieu of building new dams

  • Initiates new energy plans that prioritize distributed and smaller-scale energy solutions

  • Safeguards protected areas, free-flowing rivers and Indigenous territories

  • Read the full details of the Global Call
And we call for the avoidance of a false path to economic recovery which includes:
  • Expanding crippling debt for countries already facing economic crises due to COVID-19

  • “Green financing” that prioritizes “green-washed” solutions.

  • Large centralized grids designed around destructive projects.

  • Ongoing abuse of our freshwater resources. Weakening of environmental and social
    safeguards and regulations

  • Link to videos (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese)

Join us in this call. Protect rivers and rights around the world for a better future for the planet and those living on it.

Read more of our articles on sustainability here.

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