The Nature Conservancy’s Great Rivers Partnership Announces Global Network to Advance Sustainable Management of the World’s River Basins

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Global network will share best practices in river basin management in all regions of the world.

Colombia's Magdalena River Basin © 2011 Paul Smith

“Large river basins provide entire nations with food, drinking water and energy... unfortunately, these vital services often compete with one another and jeopardize the health of our river ecosystems," said Dr. Rebecca Tharme.

The Nature Conservancy announced today that its Great Rivers Partnership launched a new Global Network to Advance Integrated River Basin Management. The GRP joins six other Support Partners in this effort to leverage resources and address the unprecedented, long-term challenges to viability of the world’s river basins in the 21st century.

Large river basins provide entire nations with food, drinking water and energy. They are central to building stable and equitable economies, feeding growing populations, and improving the health and well-being of people, especially the poor,” said Dr. Rebecca Tharme, Senior Freshwater Scientist with The Nature Conservancy. “Unfortunately, these vital services often compete with one another and jeopardize the health of our river ecosystems. As the natural infrastructure of these systems declines, so does our ability to secure access to the water resources needed to sustain our future.”

Together with the International River Foundation (IRF), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Global Water Programme of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) International Waters Learning Exchange and Research Network (IW:LEARN), and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), the GRP will foster an open learning exchange to share and leverage best practices in river basin management across organizations and geographies.

The core objective of the Network’s collaboration is to facilitate, in all regions of the world, the emergence of more effective and efficient governance and sustainable development of water resources by integrating management at the basin level.

“The GEF’s role is to support countries in finding common ground and creating sustainable institutional mechanisms to work together on their shared water and related resources, to demonstrate that conflicts over these shared resources can be addressed through cooperation and that this can be done cost effectively. Integrated river basin management (or IWRM) is an approach adopted in many basins containing International Waters projects. By engaging with this Network, our capacity to assist these projects will expand exponentially to reach a much wider range of stakeholders and realize greater results around the world,” said Mr. Mish Hamid, Project Manager of GEF IW:LEARN.

Through an official Memorandum of Understanding and other avenues of support, the seven organizations have committed to invest time and resources to advance IRBM. In the first year, in addition to collectively supporting one another’s activities at river basin and global levels, they will take on joint activities, including online knowledge and information sharing; event collaborations; and technical exchanges to develop capacity and build synergies, particularly in developing countries.

About The Nature Conservancy:

The Nature Conservancy is the world’s leading environmental conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy works with individuals, governments, local nonprofits, indigenous and traditional communities, corporations, and others to protect forests, grasslands, rivers, coral reefs and more. To date, The Nature Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

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Scott Anderson
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