Youth Manifesto for Wild Rivers 2017 !

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Youth Manifesto for Wild Rivers !

This year’s topic was dedicated to wild, untamed rivers that are undergoing big distress in Europe and worldwide. According to WWF’s study only 10 % of the rivers (or river stretches) in the Alps remains in natural state. To put a spotlight on this issue we dedicated a week for workshops, knowledge exchange, peer empowerment and political action. A major output was our Youth Manifesto for Wild Rivers. With this document we want to present our vision for protection of this jewels that should be kept free for the future generations. 

27th September 2017, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Our youth members of the Youth Network for River Action, and participants of the Wild Rivers Camp 2017, presented their Youth Manifesto for Wild Rivers 2017 to the representative of European Commission, Mr. Zoran Stančič, at the House of the European Union. You can now read about it here in the following text and download the full version it here.

Drafting this Manifesto was not an easy task, or better call it a process. We first got to know the beauty and the beast situation: what we have and what are the threats to wild rivers. Each one of us has a local experience with threats and we wanted to mention them all, from simple concrete embankment to structural, administrative issues that contribute to ruin our rivers.

Then we agreed on the structure of the Manifesto and how to present our demands. We worked in three groups and then jointly put the document together. It took another session of group work (we scarified our “after dinner” free evening!) to perfect the final version.

 

 

  Our final demands can be summarised in 7 key points: 

  - Priority
  - River restoration
  - Independent evaluation
  - Youth participation
  - Catchment management
  - Rethinking hydropower
  - River education

 

Photo: Inès Joubert-Boitat

 

But those demands on paper have no value if not presented to key decision makers. Therefore we visited representative of European Commission, Mr. Zoran Stančič, in Ljubljana. We handed him over the Manifesto and expressed our concerns and demands. After carefully reading our Manifesto, he promised he will prepare a report on our meeting and send it to colleagues in the DG Environment and DG Energy in Brussels, together with our Manifesto. We are now waiting for their response! 

 

Extract from the Manifesto:

[…] We are the Youth Network for River Action, a group of individuals and organisations from across Europe with a passion for water. As young people, we all care about rivers, enjoy engaging with them and the freedom they provide us. […]

We want to save our remaining wild rivers and to re-wild those that have been degraded. We demand the preservation of this enormous heritage for future generations.  

By maintaining our wild rivers we are contributing to passing on the world's diversity, maintaining a base for sustainable development and preserving the safety of our homes and the health of our children.

Read the full Manifesto here.

Photo: Neža Posnjak

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