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Living With Rivers 2023- 2025: Emphasis placed on territorial action

Launched by IFGR two years ago, the programme Living with Rivers continues its course giving voice to rivers and mobilizing territorial actors with increasing pertinence.

Mobilizing a large audience

Originally founded to bring together entities and experts involved with rivers, in 2021 IFGR decided to create the programme Living with Rivers. Its purpose? To open up to the general public and make it aware of the stakes linked to rivers, by getting it to act to preserve them. “We cannot change things if we only speak between experts,” explained Sophie Gardette, the director of IFGR since November 2022.

Living with Rivers a pour vocation d’émerveiller. Aujourd’hui, il faut faire le lien entre le savoir et l’émotion – Erik Orsenna, président d’IAGF

In 2022, the programme took the form of a communication campaign on the social networks lasting five months, in interactive mode with the public. It ended with a major closing event organised in October at the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, organised in parallel with the exhibition “We, the rivers”. The aim was to launch a global dialogue in order to start a collective movement in favour of rivers, with emphasis being placed in this edition on the rivers Rhone, Senegal, and Saint Lawrence.

The programme’s success strengthened the team’s conviction that it was not only necessary to address populations living close to rivers, but also to forge a dialogue between rivers to give the project an international dimension. The programme was therefore renewed for three years with, this time, emphasis being placed on the Amazon and the Brahmaputra alongside the Rhone.

Promoting action in the territories

The IFGR team wants to give territorial roots to the project Living with Rivers by identifying the drivers of projects in the territories of the three rivers spotlighted and by generating synergy between them. The scope of the projects is intended to be wide and multidisciplinary: since it was founded, the association has brought together experts in different disciplines (history, geography, economics, hydrology, cultures, architecture, etc.). Likewise for these territorial projects, by aiding those contributing sustainable solutions adapted to the territories.

Thanks to its endowment fund set up in 2021 and the sponsors involved in it, the association will be able to support initiatives and projects by responding to the specific needs of those contributing projects (communication, expertise, project coordination, project building, relations with partners, technical expertise, developing tools, etc.). The idea is not to have a preconceived solution but, on the contrary, to adapt to the needs of those contributing projects, by facilitating their existence as much as possible, so that the projects have the greatest potential impact.

The projects involving local populations can be pedagogical, cultural, participatory research or innovation programmes, like the Rios On Line programme that we mentioned in our previous newsletter. In Bangladesh, where an IFGR team will go next October, contacts have been made with the French Alliance and Friendship, an NGO that aids the country’s remotest and most vulnerable populations. This organisation is best known for its innovative action of running a hospital boat that sails on the Brahmaputra. It provides healthcare services for communities affected by climate change and floods.


Giving an ever louder voice to rivers

These local and territorial actions are relayed by the social networks with the help of a new recruit to the IFGR team, Jessica Bergstein Collay, in contact with the different contributors of projects. The presence of Living with Rivers on Instagram (@livingwithrivers), Twitter/X, (@LW_Rivers), Linkdl will therefore be strengthened.

New communication actions will also be launched such as the “river slams” (see the links below for the versions produced in 2022 for the 3 rivers highlighted previously:

👉🏼Moi, le fleuve Rhône, par Erik Orsenna 

👉🏼Moi, le fleuve Sénégal, par Baaba Mal

👉🏼Moi, le fleuve Saint- Laurent, par Lyne Morisette 

The launching of podcasts allows interviewing people on their links with rivers and the creation of a River Fresco in collaboration with Eau’dyssée.

IFGR will also continue to managing the River Mag, a quarterly digital communication tool launched last April and which disseminates didactic and fun messages.

Lastly, a closing event for this 2nd edition will be organised during the COP 30, to be held in Belem (a city located at the mouth of the Amazon), in Brazil, in 2025. Intermediate events, organised around the IFGR meeting sessions, will also be held from now to then in Bangladesh and in the Camargue region (France), where the Rhone delta is situated.

Living with Rivers: a programme that is both ambitious and rooted in the territories about which we will be happy to keep you regularly updated.




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