Rivers are essential to life on the planet. Free-flowing rivers act as the planet’s arteries, providing ecosystems with critical freshwater, nurturing animal and plant life, recharging fertility in floodplains and providing nutrients to deltas, estuaries and near-shore reefs.
They are also the cornerstones of cultural and spiritual practices for diverse groups around the world. However, dams and other destructive developments are fragmenting rivers and their ecosystems, driving an unprecedented loss of freshwater habitat and biodiversity.
Current legal protections for rivers are often unclear, weak or insufficient, leaving rivers and communities vulnerable. While we’ve stopped many bad projects over the years, even a big win can feel short-lived without permanent protections. In truth, bad projects (and what we call “zombie dams”) have a way of rearing their heads repeatedly, year after year.
But there is another way. In the United States, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act has shown that governments and communities can band together to protect our most precious rivers.
Our Work to Support Permanent Protections for Rivers
That’s why we are working with local communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America to prioritize key rivers for permanent legal protection and restoration. We’re collaborating with legal experts to identify gaps in the law and crafting legislation to vibrant, healthy, free-flowing rivers. We’re developing scientific evidence to justify protections, evaluating the feasibility of permanent legal protections, and working to strengthen and support river protection movements.
Join the call!
Rivers are essential to all life. Rivers play a vital role in the functioning of the Earth hydrologic cycle and are the lifeblood for cultures around the globe. Help us ensure the permanent protection of rivers by signing the Universal Declaration for the Rights of Rivers!
- Wild Rivers Law: contributions to the ecosystem and local development that urge progress in the protection of rivers in Chile (2020)
- What is the National River Protection Group? (2019)
- “Wild Rivers Law”: the environmentalist proposal that seeks to “preserve and restore” the rivers of Chile (2019)
- Conclusions Meeting of Defensores / as Rivers by Foro Social Panamazonico (2019)
- Free Flowing Rivers, Sustaining Livelihoods, Cultures and Ecosystems (2018)
- Proposal prohibiting construction of hydroelectric and infrastructure projects on the Cuiabá River, is closer to becoming law in the Mato Grosso state in BrazilA victory for the Pantanal– the world’s largest tropical wetland! By twenty votes to three, the Legislative Assembly of the State of Mato Grosso (ALMT) this week overturned Governor Mauro Mendes’…
- Proposta que proíbe construção de hidrelétricas e projetos de infraestrutura no rio Cuiabá, no Mato Grosso, está muito perto de virar de lei no EstadoUma vitória para o Pantanal! Por 20 votos a três, a Assembleia Legislativa do Estado do Mato Grosso (ALMT) derrubou nesta semana o veto do governador Mauro Mendes ao PL…
- Socio-environmental organizations ask Colombian congress representatives to legislate for the environment16 Colombian congress representatives attended an event on August 17, in which socio-environmental organizations asked them to prioritize relevant environmental issues. August 17, 2022 – Socio-environmental organizations and coalitions including…
- Brazil’s Legislative Assembly approves a law draft that prohibits the construction of hydroelectric dams on the Cuiabá RiverYesterday, the Legislative Assembly of the State of Mato Grosso in Brazil approved the law draft that prohibits the construction of dams along the entire length of the Cuiabá River….