International Day of Action for Rivers 2017
In a week’s time, people across the globe will get together to celebrate the world’s rivers, and those who struggle to conserve and restore them. The International Day of Action for Rivers, held each year on the 14th March, is organised by the NGO International Rivers, and provides a focus for communities across the world to organise events celebrating their rivers, and highlighting the threats they face.
The International Day of Action for Rivers was originally adopted by the participants of the first International Meeting of People Affected by Dams, March 1997 in Curitiba, Brazil. Now a global event, the day is described by International Rivers as a focus to “raise our voices in unison against destructive water development projects, reclaim the health of our watersheds, and demand the equitable and sustainable management of our rivers.”
This year, there are many events to participate in across the world. In England, there is a volunteer day on the River Don in Sheffield supporting the Lower Don Valley Flood Defence Scheme through removing litter, debris and fly tipping from the river and its banks. In Germany, environmental artists will stage a ‘Flying Fish’ performance on the banks of the Elbe in Hamburg. In Russia, a lecture and masterclass on ‘How to know about river health’ will be held in Vladivostok.
In Iran, the Mountaineers Club of Qaemshahr will host a public visit to the Siahroud River for the purpose of identifying and documenting the river’s pollution. The Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum will host a 14-day campaign called the Sindh Peoples Caravan, a massive people’s assembly hosting thousands of people from fishing and peasant communities, civil society members, academia, government officials, media and other stakeholders, focused on the conservation of the Indus Delta. At Labrador in Canada, a ‘Snowmobile Ride for the Grand River’ will be held, bringing together communities and stakeholders around the Churchill (or ‘Grand’) River, which is threatened by the construction of hydropower plants.
As these selected examples show, the International Day of Action for Rivers gives communities around rivers across the world the forum to organise a wide variety of events, and to give their local environments a global focus. Rivers are self-evidently an inspiration and concern for diverse communities across the world, and next week’s events will help highlight their importance and threats.