World Rivers Day
World Rivers Day is a global celebration of the world's waterways, observed every last Sunday in September. Established in 2005, it highlights the many values of rivers and strives to increase public awareness while encouraging the improved stewardship of rivers around the world. World Rivers Day occurs annually on the last Sunday in September.
Promoting River Stewardship
Rivers in every country face an array of threats, and World Rivers Day promotes the active involvement of citizens to ensure the health of rivers in the years ahead. Events include riverside cleanups, habitat restoration, nature walks, paddle trips, school projects, art displays, music festivals, and parades. Citizens are encouraged to join an event in their area, or start one of their own.
World Rivers Day has been endorsed by various agencies of the United Nations and is intended to complement the broader efforts of the United Nations Water For Life Decade. The event was launched with the support of the United Nations University through the International Network on Water, Environment, and Health. The UN Water for Life - Canadian initiative has also been a strong supporter.
Origins of World Rivers Day
World Rivers Day is based on the great success of BC Rivers Day in British Columbia, Canada which started in 1980. The BC event was founded by acclaimed river conservationist, Mark Angelo, who also served as the inaugural World Rivers Day Chair and who is widely credited with founding the international event. Under Mr. Angelo's leadership, BC Rivers Day grew to the point where it attracted up to 100,000 participants across the province and its success also inspired the creation Canadian Rivers Day. When the United Nations launched the Water for Life Decade initiative in 2005, Angelo believed that a grassroots-led international event focusing on the need to better care for the world's waterways would be a great complement to this undertaking. He approached and lobbied various agencies of the United Nations on his proposal for a “World Rivers Day”, ultimately receiving their support. After extensive communications with environmental non-government organizations and river advocacy groups around the world, the first World Rivers Day took place in 2005 and the annual event is now embraced by millions of people in thousands of events spanning more than 70 countries.