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International Day of Action for Rivers – 14 March

The International Day of Action for Rivers ( former titel International Day against Dams, for Rivers, Water, and Life) was inspired and mandated by the participants of the First International Meeting of People Affected by Dams that took place in March, 1997 in Curitiba, Brazil.

The decade since the mid-1980s has seen the emergence of an international movement against current dam-building practices. The movement is comprised of thousands of environmental, human rights, and social activist groups on all the world’s continents except Antarctica. It coalesced from a multitude of local, regional and national anti-dam campaigns and a smaller number of support groups working at an international level.

Dam builders recognize and bemoan its effectiveness. ICOLD President Wolfgang Pircher warned the British Dam Society in 1992 that the industry faced ‘a serious general counter-movement that has already succeeded in reducing the prestige of dam engineering in the public eye, and it is starting to make work difficult for our profession.’ The earliest successful anti-dam campaigns were mostly led by conservationists trying to preserve wilderness areas. Until recently, resistance from those directly impacted by dams was usually defeated.

Since the 1970s, however, directly affected people have gained the power to stop dams, mostly because they have built alliances with sympathetic outsiders – environmentalists, human rights and democracy activists, peasants’ and indigenous peoples’ organizations, fishers and recreationists. The rise of environmentalism has greatly helped the opponents of dams – and anti-dam campaigns have in many countries played an important role in the growth of national environmental movements. Other factors contributing to the emergence of the international movement have been the overthrow of authoritarian regimes and the spread of modern communication technologies.

Source: ERN European Rivers Network Image: Facebook


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