Dear River Defenders,

This is a moment for International Rivers and the river protection movement that we must grab. 

That’s what occurs to us as we think back on this first year of our joint leadership as co-directors at International Rivers, and forward to what lies ahead. In the past year, with your incredible support, we set the course for International Rivers to advance key priorities, including the passage of river protection laws in Brazil, for example, and the adoption of freshwater ecosystem targets alongside strong protections for Indigenous Peoples in the historic UN biodiversity framework agreed in December. 

These opportunities are now realities.  We are more than ready to help the communities with whom we work leverage them to advocate powerfully for their land, their cultures and lifeways, and their rivers.

This is also a year for new strategic planning at International Rivers around our core focus areas: Community rights, women’s leadership, greener energy, and permanent river protections. The body of research is growing by the day that shows how essential healthy rivers are for protecting forests and oceans, safeguarding biodiversity and staving off climate disaster. Even as we see the tide turning globally against the construction of new dams, the need to protect and restore rivers and freshwater ecosystems has never been more urgent.

We are excited to meet the opportunities (and challenges!) of the year ahead and look forward to keeping you informed about our progress. Please keep an eye out for updates, events, and opportunities to be engaged.

See you soon!

Isabella Winkler and Josh Klemm

Co-Executive Directors, International Rivers

Featured image: Lake Turkana