15 Oct 2020
WEBINAR: Rivers as Lifelines for People and Nature

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Event Date: 15/10/2020
Venue: Online

We are witnessing an unprecedented rate of biodiversity loss globally – and it is particularly alarming for freshwater ecosystems. In Europe, our rivers and lakes have seen the most dramatic species decline [1]. At the occasion of the EU Green Week and the World Fish Migration Day 2020, Wetlands International and The Nature Conservancy invite you to an event that seeks to underline the importance and raise awareness of the benefits of free-flowing rivers for the ecosystem services they provide to the people of Europe, and how to effectively safeguard these.

2020 has been named the “Super Year” for biodiversity, as the global community is preparing the Strategic Framework to reverse the trend of biodiversity loss during the coming decade. 

The EU Water Framework Directive addresses many challenges that freshwater ecosystems presently face, and the law has been declared fit for purpose [2]. A stronger effort to improve the protection of freshwater biodiversity for people and nature is critical, and needs the highest attention at EU level:  

  • With the Communication on the new EU Biodiversity Strategy 2021-2030, published in May 2020, a clear push can be found to green the continent and protect and restore nature; 
  • A strategic approach to freshwater conservation needs to be further established, in relation to the proposed (at least) 25,000 km restored river connectivity, and the “30 by 30” protection and strict protection targets in the Biodiversity Strategy. 

The basis for justifying immediate action on Freshwater Conservation has a solid legal and scientific foundation.

During this event, speakers and attendees from the European Parliament, European Commission, Member States and Civil Society discuss further action for legally protecting the last free-flowing rivers, including the restoration of critical freshwater habitats.  

The discussion will give impetus to the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy discussion as well as identifying topics where the European Parliament can contribute and become active. 

Aiming to bring in expertise and results from TNC’s, Wetlands International’s and our partner’s work in the USA and Europe, amongst others (NGOs, Member States & the European Commission), the event looks to present the rationale, best practices and measures to tackle river restoration and protection with the goal to halt biodiversity decline within the frame of the new EU Biodiversity Strategy and current EU Water Legislation.  

Everything from resource mobilisation, fund structures, national strategies, protection schemes to project management will be presented to illustrate what tools are available, to inform, but also to tackle what can be done to optimise the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy in the area of freshwater ecosystems.  

The session will be moderated by Chris Baker, Programme Head Water Resources at Wetlands International.

Key note speakers include:

  • Pär Holmgren MEP, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
  • Hans Stielstra, European Commission – DG Environment, Deputy Head of Unit C1 Clean Water



Registering for the event is required and can be done HERE.

Please download the event flyer and programme [updated 14 October] below.

Event Rivers as Lifelines Programme [Updated 14 October]


[1]  According to the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services 

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/fitness_check_of_the_eu_water_legislation/index_en.htm