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Initiatives for the Future of Great Rivers: who are we?

The genesis

Rivers are fragile ecosystems and are at the heart of current climatic and environmental issues (energy production, food security, public health, mobility, etc.). Resources of freshwater, vital for human life and the development of societies, lie at the centre of balances of power. Poorly managed, increasingly scarce and victim of demographic pressure and climate change, it can give rise to conflicts. Therefore our societies must show that they are capable of reconciling the different uses of rivers to ensure that the services they provide durably benefit the largest number. This challenge demands the mobilisation of every discipline and actor.

Founded at the initiative of CNR, “Initiatives for the Future of Great Rivers” (IFGR) brings together actors who give a voice to rivers. Gathering river managers, the representatives of institutions (basin organisations, national supervisory bodies) and experts (climatologist, anthropologist, economist, historian), IFGR offers an original, international and multidisciplinary forum open to stakeholders and oriented towards action in favour of tomorrow’s rivers.

IFGR  became a non-profit organisation in 2017, opened to other French and international public and private structures to participate in its development and its actions.

What does IFGR do?

Its works are organised around three themes: governance, human and ecosystem health, and the
link between rivers and oceans.

Its goal: obtain recognition of the wealth represented by rivers and the role they play in the development of the territories they cross, through collective reflection, creating maximum awareness, and following an integrated approach.

On a daily basis, IFGR’s actions are structured according to three main topics: partnerships with the academic world, increasing the awareness of the general public and supporting innovation. These projects are carried out in partnership with existing actors at local scale to improve knowledge of rivers, alert decision-makers – notably politicians – of the challenges involved, and strengthen dialogue between their uses. 

Lastly, by taking this multidisciplinary, international approach rooted in different regions, IFGR wants to contribute towards enriching national and international debates on energy transition and the creation of a sustainable world.

The missions :

  1. Collective reflection and interdisciplinary dialogue: develop a network of knowledge and practices dedicated to rivers
  2. Dialogue and meetings: spreading public awareness of the essential role played by rivers to
    reinforce individual and community commitment
  3. Whistle-blowing and cooperation: influence decision-makers and associate them in our actions
  4. Develop solutions: share, support and jointly develop concrete and reproducible solutions for rivers

Discover IFGR with our video identity card


analyses represented


of the world’s
rivers studied


continents represented

How does it act?

IFGR is neither an observatory nor a think tank, as it develops its reflections based on reality in the field and implements projects intended directly for different territories.

Our means of action:

  • Two annual sessions – one in France, one abroad – which bring together the rivers committee and the stakeholders to dialogue on a theme or to study a practical case
  • Advocacy
  • Participating in coalitions devoted to water and in major international conferences on water and the climate
  • Operational workgroups
  • Conferences aimed at the general public
  • Pedagogic projects such as writing competitions


Download the presentation brochure

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