Help stop the Batoka Gorge Dam

The review dates of the Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the proposed Batoka Gorge Hydro- Electric Scheme (Zambia and Zimbabwe) on the Zambezi River been delayed due to impacts from the coronavirus. Now is the time to have your say – read the ESIA, make informed decisions, register your interest to help stop the building of this damaging dam.

Environmental Resources Management Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd. (ERM) is contracted by the Zambezi River Authority (the Authority) to undertake the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study for the development of the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme (BGHES) on the Zambezi River, 47km downstream of Victoria Falls. On 3 March 2020, ERM notified stakeholders of the availability of the draft ESIAs for public review and comment, and invited stakeholders to attend ESIA disclosure meetings in Zambia and Zimbabwe in April 2020.

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Authority and ERM have taken the decision to postpone all public disclosure meetings scheduled to take place between 17 and 22 April 2020. This decision is in response to recent government-mandated travel restrictions and bans on gatherings of more than 100 people, which have been imposed within certain southern African countries.

Given the current level of global uncertainty associated with COVID-19, the Authority and ERM are unable to determine at the present time when these meetings may be reasonably rescheduled. The Authority and ERM will provide adequate notification of rearranged dates, once these have been established.

Note that the review and comment period for the draft ESIAs will remain open until such time that the Authority and ERM are able to hold the ESIA disclosure meetings, or until further notice is given by the Authority and ERM. Your input remains key in the updating and finalisation of the ESIA studies and stakeholders are encouraged to continue reviewing the draft ESIAs and to submit questions and comments to ERM: batokagorgehes@erm.com

Stakeholders can access the draft ESIA reports and Non-Technical Summaries (NTSs) through the project website, www.erm.com/BGHES-ESIA and at the public locations previously communicated.

Contact ERM should you have any questions.

#StopTheBatoka #SaveTheZambezi #damthedams #RaftersAreAwesome #StrongerTogether #oneloveoneriver #RiverFamily #WeAreIRF

Save the Karnali – Nepal’s last and most pristine free-flowing river

by Megh Ale and Karen Bennett

The mighty Karnali, Nepal’s longest, largest, and least known river system is in peril. Of the three major river basins emerging from the Nepal Himalaya—the Koshi, Kali Gandaki, and Karnali—the Karnali is the only river that remains free-flowing. All others have been dammed for hydropower generation reflecting an increasingly intensive pattern of hydropower development across Nepal. There are currently three mega hydropower dams planned for the Karnali River with 28 more sites being surveyed. Construction of any one of these dams will forever change the essence and flow of the Karnali River. The construction of all three will devastate the river system and the cultures, endangered species and economies that depend on it. A dedicated group of people are working to protect the free-flowing Karnali. In spring 2018, a group of scientists, river adventurists and a film crew undertook a 44-day expedition along its entire length. Together, they documented the river’s values and used what they learned to educate the public and decision-makers about the importance of protecting the Karnali – Nepal’s last and most pristine free-flowing river.

The Karnali River starts near Holy Mt. Kailash on the Tibetan Plateau as do three other great Holy Rivers of Asia, the Indus (Sutlej) into Pakistan, the Ganges through India and the Brahmaputra to Bangledesh. Hundreds of thousands of worshipers travel to Holy Mt. Kailash each year for a spiritual renewal.

Continue reading Save the Karnali – Nepal’s last and most pristine free-flowing river

Delivering a powerful message: river guides and rafting operators are river guardians

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Minister of the Environment and Energy for Costa Rica

The message from several international speakers during the World White Water Rafting Summit 2019 was loud and clear: river guides and rafting companies should be the guardians of the world’s rivers. Not only does their livelihood depend on clean and healthy rivers, they spend a considerable amount of time on rivers and, with clients in their rafts, are perfectly positioned to spread positive conservation messages.

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Minister of the Environment and Energy for Costa Rica, delivered a powerful message to Summit participants on Oct. 9 that no more dams should be built in Costa Rica. Instead, he pointed to solar energy as the future power source for the country that currently generates 97% of its electricity from renewable sources (primarily hydroelectric dams).

The following day, Ian Ponce, representative of the UN Climate Change Commission, spoke at the Summit to ratify the participation of the IRF in the Framework of Climate Action for Sport. According to Ponce, sports organizations need to play an active part in achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement, that is, climate neutrality by 2050.

Both Ponce and Rodriguez were at the Costa Rica Convention Center attending the PreCOP25 international meeting that precedes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) in Chile in December.

The World White Water Rafting Summit did its part in helping preserve the environment and was awarded the Ecological Blue Flag of Costa Rica in the category of special events. The Summit achieved a perfect score of 100 for implementing all the requirements for a sustainable use of resources.

#OneWorldOneRiverOneFamily #AreYouReady #RaftersAreAwesome #guide #raft #rafting #raftguide #whitewater #rapids #StrongerTogether #internationalrafting #RiverFamily #WeAreIRF

IRF and International Rivers in historic agreement to be better stewards to the world’s rivers

At the conclusion of the International Rafting Federation’s inaugural World White Water Rafting Summit, leading global rivers campaign organisation International Rivers and the IRF signed an historic Memorandum Of Understanding to bring together the common goals of both organisations to ensure that all rivers of the world have a voice.

Introducing the agreement, summit MC and IRF Sustainability Lead, Sean Clarke, presented a short film on the impacts of a large global corporation attempting to offset their carbon footprint through the purchase of carbon credits. The unfortunate reality being that the carbon offset is actually funding the destruction of the Alto Maipo river in northern Chile. A stark reminder that our rivers are still at great risk in spite of the current global push for carbon neutrality.

Following the short film, Monti Aguirre, International Rivers Latin America Program Coordinator and Joe Willis Jones, President of the IRF shared with summit participants the common beliefs and goals of both organisations. Recognising that all of us as users and friends of rivers, are the best placed individuals and collectively as organisations and the river family, to be the global voice for rivers across the world. We can unite under a single banner to ensure that our local rivers and waterways are not disrespected or worse. To ensure that any projects large or small that impact the diverse, unique and fragile biodiversity of each and every waterway, need to understand what is at risk and ensure that our waterways have their voices heard.

In a short but earnest and frank statement, both the IRF and International Rivers pledged to work together for the benefit of all rivers and waterways across the globe.

Continue reading IRF and International Rivers in historic agreement to be better stewards to the world’s rivers

IRF to attend inaugural meeting of UN Sports for Climate Action initiative

Later this week, representatives from the IRF will attend the first working meeting of the United Nations Sports for Climate Action signatories. This initiative brings together the world’s leading sports governing bodies under a global initiative to influence the way that sports can effect positive change to our shared climate.

This historic meeting is being hosted by the International Olympic Committee at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland and will bring together leading sports partners from across the globe ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit to be held at UN Headquarters in New York on the 23rd of September.

Confirmation letter from UNFCCC Executive Secretary

The IRF is amongst other leading sports governing bodies taking part such as FIFA, World Rugby, World Sailing, World Taekwondo, United World Wrestling, International Climbing and Mountaineering, International Triathlon Union, International Ice Hockey Federation, International Equestrian Federation, Formula E, National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee. Each sports governing body has already committed to the five core principles of the initiative and the aims of the Paris Agreement and this inaugural meeting will seek ways in which all these bodies will work together for the betterment of the planet. Each sports governing body will strive to:

  • promote greater environmental responsibility;
  • reduce the overall climate impact from sports;
  • use our platform to educate for climate action;
  • promote sustainable and responsible consumption; and
  • advocate for climate action through our communications.

The IRF is no stranger to leading on climate action having delivered the first ever certified carbon neutral World Sports Event at our 2011 IRF World Rafting Championships in Costa Rica. We now request all IRF event hosts to make bold moves toward carbon neutral and earth friendly initiatives at each event. Our hosts for the 2020 IRF World Rafting Championships in China have committed to providing a carbon neutral event and we will work closely with the event management team to ensure this promise becomes a reality.

We look forward to working with all of these leading sports governing bodies for betterment of our planet and for the sharing of ideas and common goals to build our common sports fraternity.

 

 

#AreYouReady #RaftersAreAwesome #ClimateAction #Sports #Sport4Climate #ClimateChange #ClimateAmbition #Sustainability

 

 

Risk managing commercial rafting operations with mutliple guide systems

  • International Rafting Federation Raft Guide Instructor and New Zealand Rivers Association Chair Tim Marshall will lead a discussion at the inaugural IRF World White Water Rafting Summit on the challenges faced by commercial rafting operators when dealing with multiple raft guide certification systems.

International Rafting Federation (IRF) Raft Guide Instructor and New Zealand Rivers Association Chair, Tim Marshall will lead a discussion at the inaugural International Rafting Federation World White Water Rafting Summit in Costa Rica from October 8 to 13, 2019, on the challenges faced by commercial rafting operations developing risk assessments when faced with multiple raft guide certification systems around the globe.

Continue reading Risk managing commercial rafting operations with mutliple guide systems

In a raft, actions speak louder than words

International Rafting Federation Raft Guide Assessor and Rescue3 provider Mark Hirst will challenge preconceptions about speech and actions at the inaugural IRF World White Water Rafting Summit.

International Rafting Federation (IRF) Raft Guide Assessor and Rescue3 provider Mark Hirst will run an open session on the use of actions over language in raft guiding at the inaugural International Rafting Federation World White Water Rafting Summit in Costa Rica from October 8 to 13, 2019.

Continue reading In a raft, actions speak louder than words

Costa Rica invites you to the inaugural IRF World White Water Rafting Summit

If your work is related to the river industry at all or even other adventure tourism activities, then we invite you to join us in Costa Rica to engage in dynamic discussions and exchange ideas with a vibrant and forward-thinking community of adventure travel professionals. Come build relationships, meet new colleagues, reconnect with old friends, access cutting-edge professional development, and join together to make the rafting industry worldwide even stronger and safer.

Where and when:
Over 250 participants from more than 25 nations will come together in this inaugural World White Water Rafting Summit to be held in iconic and tropical Costa Rica from 8 to 13 October 2019.

Project RAFT founder and sustainability expert Jib Ellison is headed to Costa Rica

Jib Ellison, adventurer, conservationist and sustainability expert, will be a keynote speaker at the inaugural IRF World White Water Rafting Summit in Costa Rica this October.

Working well in teams is one of the most useful life lessons a person can learn. Jib Ellison knows this firsthand using his more than 40 years of working in teams as a river guide and entrepreneur to effect significant results in cultural relations and environmental sustainability worldwide.

He used his knowledge of teamwork during the height of the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union in the 1980s to co-found Project RAFT (Russians and Americans For Teamwork), a nonprofit organisation that pioneered citizen exchange programs between the two nations built around wilderness river expeditions. Ellison knew that the teamwork naturally essential in rafting trips had the power to unite strangers, overcome differences and create lasting friendships – small actions that could lead to far-reaching changes. Continue reading Project RAFT founder and sustainability expert Jib Ellison is headed to Costa Rica

Wilderness Medicine to be a major topic at the IRF World White Water Rafting Summit

Wilderness medicine expert Abigail Polsby will be a distinguished speaker at the first International Rafting Federation (IRF) World White Water Rafting Summit in Costa Rica from October 8 to 13, 2019. Polsby is the CFO and co-founder of Sierra Rescue International in California and directs the Sierra Rescue Wilderness Medical Program. She is an Instructor Trainer for Rescue 3 International and a certified American Canoe Association (ACA) Swiftwater Rescue Instructor. She will address the critical reasons why adventure travel outfitters should go beyond basic first aid and train their guides in wilderness first aid, as well as give practical steps for handling common injuries that happen in remote areas.

“When you’re out in the wilderness, you can’t always call 911 and just wait for help to arrive. You are the help. With a little bit of training and practice, you can actually do things to help someone who is injured,” said Polsby. “It is an adventure tourism company’s responsibility to take care of their clients. Guides need to know not only how to Continue reading Wilderness Medicine to be a major topic at the IRF World White Water Rafting Summit