International Day of Action Against Dams and for Rivers, Water and Life

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Here follows a Call to Action by the International Rivers Network:

We invite you to participate in the 6th Annual International Day of Action Against Dams and for Rivers, Water and Life on March 14th, 2003. This is a time to act in solidarity to celebrate our rivers, protest destructive development, and enjoy the successes of last year.

Join the movement for healthy rivers and communities by planning an event or attending an action near you. From campaigning for thriving fisheries and clean water to taking down bad dams, we continue to push our causes forward. Join us on March 14th to show the world that we are standing together in the fight for living rivers and the rights of communities over their natural resources.

We have many successes to celebrate from 2002. In spite of the Bush administration's opposition to dam removal, a record 63 US dams were scheduled for decommissioning in 2002. After years of negotiations, parties agreed to remove two dams on the Little Sandy River in Oregon. This will create a new recreation and wildlife area, protect remnants of old-growth forest, and restore fish habitat and scenic deep river gorges.

For the first time an operating dam in Japan has been slated for removal. Citizens have long complained the nation's rivers are vastly over-dammed, and a decision to remove the Arase Dam on the Kumagawa River is the first crack in the usual cover-it-in-concrete waterway policy.

Activists working to save the spectacular Bujagali Falls on Uganda's Victoria Nile scored a victory by halting the controversial 200MW Bujagali Dam. In June 2002, the World Bank's Inspection Panel found that the Bujagali project violated five Bank operational policies. Due to allegations of corruption, all funding for the dam was suspended in July. Clearly, the momentum to secure communities' rights over water and their natural resources is growing. The International Civil Society Water Statement from the World Summit on Sustainable Development declared, "Water is life. As a result the right to water is not negotiable." The UN stated in 2002 that, "The human right to water is indispensable for leading a healthy life in human dignity. It is a pre-requisite to the realization of all other human rights." International bodies are finally recognizing this right that civil society has been demanding for years.

We are excited about using this Day of Action to remind the world that we are not only fighting against dams, but for healthy rivers and people. We can all strengthen the movement through demonstrations and protests, information sharing, discussions and education. Let's stand together in solidarity for our rivers, communities and rights on March 14th!

For more information on the Day of Action please contact International Rivers Network, e-mail: ,