United for rivers
The Regional Initiative ‘United for Rivers’ is dedicated to the conservation of 13 rivers in Southeast Europe and was launched in 2022. Emphasising the involvement of local communities, the organisation “The Nature Conservancy” and six partner organisations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, North Macedonia, and Serbia work through this initiative to establish new protected areas along the rivers to preserve their natural, social, and cultural values.
Southeast Europe is home to some of the last wild rivers on the continent. They are the lifeblood of communities and ecosystems, providing drinking water, supporting biodiversity, and enabling life. However, today, rivers are increasingly threatened due to pollution, habitat destruction, unsustainable development, and climate change. This is a global problem that has a local solution: since 1970, the global population of freshwater species has declined by 83%, and we have lost 30% of freshwater ecosystems.
Besides “The Nature Conservancy,” the initiative’s members include the Center for Environment, the Dinarica Association, and the Youth Club “Novi Val” from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Environmental Association “Rzav” from Serbia, the “Eko-tim” from Montenegro, and the “Eko-svest” from North Macedonia.
United for Rivers Initiative actively works on protecting the 13 rivers in the region, aiming to encourage new local initiatives for river protection. Through scientific research and understanding the needs and attitudes of local communities, the initiative strives to ensure early and transparent involvement of all stakeholders while respecting the unique natural, social, and cultural characteristics of each river.
When protection is established, and proper management is ensured for the protected areas, it will directly contribute to fulfilling international commitments our countries have undertaken, such as the European Green Deal, the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, and the Kunming-Montreal Global Framework for Biodiversity in December 2022.
The United for Rivers Initiative invites individuals, organisations, and communities from the region who want to protect their rivers to join them. Together, we can preserve our rivers and protect them for future generations.