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Middle March: 15th annual celebration of the International Day of Action for Rivers

March 14, 2012

March 14 is the International Day of Action For Rivers and Against Dams.


Kayaking in river Ganga (Ganges)

Every year, thousands of people around the world lift their voices to celebrate the world’s rivers and those who struggle to protect them. The ‘International Day of Action For Rivers’ is a day to celebrate victories such as dam removal and river restoration.  It saddened me a little that Google changed its logo today in honor of the greatest origami artist of all times Akira Yoshizawa but didn’t say anything about such an important cause.

History of the International Day of Action For Rivers

The ‘International Day of Action Against Dams and For Rivers, Water and Life’ was adopted by the participants of the first ‘International Meeting of People Affected by Dams’, March 1997 in Curitiba, Brazil. Representatives from 20 countries decided that the ‘International Day of Action’ would take place on March 14 – Brazil’s Day of Action Against Large Dams. Our aim on this International Day of Action For Rivers should be to raise our concerns towards:

  • Destructive water development projects,
  • Reclaim the health of our watersheds, and
  • Demand the equitable and sustainable management of our rivers.

The rivers have been an integral part of all the cultures and countries across the world from the time immemorial.

What are we going to do to save the rivers from the numerous threats faced by them?

International organizations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) are taking various steps to save the rivers from pollution and aquatic species’ conservation for more than three decades across the world. There are efforts by the government at the central as well as at the state and regional levels so as to save the mighty rivers like Ganga and Yamuna from extinction.

Then there are organizations such as the IUCN working on trans-boundary issues for the protection and restoration of rivers in partnership with The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) and Development Alternatives (DA) in India.

There are individuals as well as local and regional groups also who are engaged in working tirelessly towards the conservations and restoration of rivers.

Organizations in the US are pioneers in voicing their concerns towards the increasing threats to the rivers. They work across all fifty states in the country to manage and restore all the major as well as the seasonal streams involving  all the stakeholders.

Way forward:

It is a day to take to the streets, demonstrate and demand improvements in the policies and practices of decision makers. It is a day to educate one another about the threats facing our rivers, and learn about better water and energy solutions. Above all, it is a day to unite – by acting together, we demonstrate that these issues are not merely local, but global in scope.

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