European Rivers Summit – Wrap up, takeaways and resources

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The 3rd European Rivers Summit took place in Brussels, Belgium, from 29 September to 01 October. The four-day event, organised by Wetlands International Europe and partners, brought together river champions from around Europe and beyond. More than 170 participants and 50 speakers helped strengthen and inspire the movement of citizens fighting for free-flowing rivers! Key takeaways and resources are available on the Summit website.

Healthy rivers are essential to delivering the European Green Deal and the Summit connected river champions to policy-makers in Brussels – along with strengthening the links between river defenders in order to stand united. The Summit informed attendees on the most important policy issues, big ideas and latest science around healthy rivers, and engaged directly with the European Parliament in defending healthy rivers for people across Europe.

  • Highlights included
    An event in the European Parliament headlined by Member of the European Parliament, César Luena
  • Keynote addresses by Member of the European Parliament, Marie Toussaint, and Roberto Epple of the European Rivers Network, and also by co-chairs of the Save the Blue Heart of Europe Campaign, Annette Spangenberg and Ulli Eichelmann
  • The world premiere of the feature documentary #DamBusters – The Start of the Riverlution
  • Notable speakers such as Beth Thoren of Patagonia and David Thomas of the Endangered Landscapes Programme
  • Successful river protection initiatives, including the international Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve and Vjosa Wild River National Park in Albania
  • The launch of the Trans-European Swimways Network
  • A field excursion to see the restoration of the Senne River in Brussels

Beth Thoren of Patagonia

DamBusters Sampsa Vilhunen, Pao Fernández Garrido, Karolina Gurjazkaite and Roberto Epple

Celebrating the Vjosa Wild River National Park

Key resources and takeways
“Be patient, think long-term, and go big!” was a consistent message for successfully delivering river protection initiatives. Other key takeaways on how the river protection community can reach its goals are now available on the Summit website:, including:

  • All speaker presentations are available in the online programme next to the name of the presenter
  • Key takeaways from throughout the Summit, along with the demands for decision-makers available on a single outputs page
  • All of the links provided by speakers to the latest campaigns, videos and information are compiled on a resources page
  • A photo page captures all the action

Video summary of the event (created by Dima Lisenko): 

The 3rd edition of the European Rivers Summit was organised by Wetlands International EuropeEuroNaturGEOTARiverwatch and WWF Adria. We hope to see you again in two years! Stay posted by signing up for news on the website.